By JONAH LOSSIAH
One Feather Staff
Tribal Council unanimously approved Res. No. 372 (2022) on the morning of Thursday, Aug. 4, approving the transfer of the parcel commonly known as the ‘Whittier School Property’ to the Cherokee Indian Housing Division (CIHD).
The property was previously transferred to Kituwah, LLC in October of 2020 to develop it for ‘affordable housing options and additional streams of revenue’. This was enacted when Council initially passed Resolution 290 (2020). That legislation also stated that the Kituwah, LLC was required to report back to Council to ‘determine whether the property should come back to the Tribe or whether Kituwah, LLC should continue to hold and manage the property.’
“We did convey it to Kituwah, LLC to develop it. Currently, phase one is nearing completion. I think it’s slated to have 32 homes up there…I think we have well over a hundred rental applications on file waiting to for housing. So, the ask is to transfer the property back to our housing division so they can fill those vacancies with tribal citizens that we have on our application waiting list already,” said Principal Chief Richard G. Sneed.
Chief Sneed implied that CIHD was ready to progress as soon as the resolution passed and the paperwork was finished. The document reads that ‘the Principal Chief is authorized to execute all documents and take all actions necessary or convenient to effectuate the intent of this resolution.’
Edwin Taylor, EBCI Secretary of Housing, was in the chambers to confirm his division’s role in the transfer. He spoke to the project itself and to the application list that was mentioned by Chief Sneed.
“When we open the applications up, we’re going to take the applications for enrolled members only and see exactly how many we got that will go over there. Right now, nine units are complete. We’re waiting for the paving and everything to get in place, and we’ll start taking applications toward the end of August,” said SecretaryTaylor.
This is also detailed in Res. 372 (2022), stating that ‘Cherokee Indian Housing Division shall give first preference to qualified enrolled members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and second preference to qualified members of other federally-recognized tribes when dwellings are developed and made available for occupancy.’
The EBCI originally purchased this land for $300,000 in 2019 with the passing of Resolution 511 (2019). It is a 5.34-acre property that was home to the Whittier School building, which was demolished following purchase.
Birdtown Rep. Boyd Owle made a motion to pass the resolution, which was seconded by Snowbird/Cherokee Co. Rep. Adam Wachacha. It was passed unanimously by Tribal Council.
The resolution was submitted by Secretary Taylor and Mark Hubble, chief executive officer of Kituwah, LLC.