By Jessica Boehm | AZCentral
A challenge to Phoenix’s efforts to develop affordable housing near downtown failed in court last month.
The legal battle was waged by the conservative Goldwater Institute, with the backing of Councilman Sal DiCiccio, who believed the city wrongfully sold land it owned in the Garfield Neighborhood to a developer at a discount.
Phoenix agreed to sell ten vacant lots to developer Trellis for $50,000 — $650,000 less than the land was appraised for. In exchange for the low cost, the city required that Trellis develop the lots into energy-efficient homes and sell them to low-income and middle-income buyers. It also required Trellis to provide down-payment assistance to the buyers.
The Goldwater Institute believed the deal violated Arizona’s “gift clause,” which prohibits governments from giving public money to an entity without a public purpose.
Last week, a judge disagreed.