CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Charleston Urban Renewal Authority board members want to continue lending money to developers to fix up CURA-owned property.
But they're struggling to write a formal policy for making such loans.
Board members wrestled with terms of a draft loan policy Wednesday morning but put off any decisions on the issue for another month. CURA Chairman Jack Cavender drafted the policy last year after the Rev. Matthew Watts asked the board to renew an earlier loan for a project on the West Side.
"After we received a request from the Rev. Watts, it was mentioned we don't have a loan policy, and should we even make loans," Cavender said at the December CURA meeting.
CURA board member Karen Haddad said the policy seems overly restrictive. The policy says, "It is not CURA's mission to utilize its assets to fund speculative projects, projects where the borrower can obtain financing from an established commercial financing institution, and/or compete with established financial institutions in the marketplace."
"It seems the definition is very, very tight, very narrow," Haddad said. "It's kind of penalizing someone who could obtain financing but might need [extra] assistance.
"I understand we're not trying to get in a bidding war with a bank to get a lower rate, but I can't think of anyone who would be eligible," she said. "I don't want too many hoops to jump through."
CURA Director Jim Edwards said the target may be projects that are not completely speculative but ineligible for commercial financing.
Board member Lew Tyree, a former employee of the state Housing Development Fund, said a developer might want to renovate a building but can't meet all the standards of a commercial lender.
"With the Housing Fund, we'd ask for three denials from commercial lenders. We'd make sure it's feasible and verify we're not competing with commercial lenders."
Edwards said he'll revise the loan policy before CURA's April meeting.