FARMINGTON — The Shiprock Chapter is asking for nearly $20 million to construct a new apartment complex in the south part of town.

The chapter submitted a proposal to the Navajo Housing Authority on Monday asking for funds that would come from the Native American Housing and Self Determination Act.

The chapter approved the proposal through a resolution that members and officials passed Sunday evening during a special meeting.

Of the chapter members present, 36 voted in favor, 1 voted against, and 13 abstained.

Last week the chapter had planned to seek about $18 million.

The money would cover 72 units, ranging from one bedroom to four bedroom, according to Shiprock Chapter President Duane "Chili" Yazzie.

It would be adjacent to the multi-million dollar Navajo Housing Authority development that was abandoned. Of 91 homes in that development, only one is currently inhabited. Others have been damaged by vandals and weather.

The new complex would be built on a 161-acre property across from the other, a property that previously was considered as a new fairgrounds site for the Northern Navajo Nation Fair, documents said.

Shiprock Navajo Fair, Inc., which previously ran the fair, originally scoped out the site in the early 1990s and mildly groomed it, according to documents obtained by The Daily Times.

"One of the reasons that the area is so attractive is it's shovel-ready," Yazzie said.

Members of Shiprock Navajo Fair, Inc.


now expect to be compensated for the work that they did on the site, documents said. It did not specify how much the chapter is expected to pay the organization for its work on the site.

The fair organization spent money on assessments and surveys of the land, Yazzie said, so it needs to be repaid for whatever it spent on the property.

The organization, however, never had a lease for the land and was not required to complete any of the assessments.

One was an environmental assessment, which complicated the process for the fair organization. The assessment found that the land is home to a rare regional cactus — the Mesa Verde cactus.

Though the chapter originally wanted 200 acres, it downsized its request to 161 to comply with the concerns brought up by the assessment. It should no longer be an issue, Yazzie said.

Yazzie said several other people also claimed rights to the land in the special meeting Sunday, yet the chapter was up against a deadline that did not allow much time for discussion, he said.

"It's always been controversial, who has use of the land," Yazzie said.

The Shiprock Community Development, Inc., a chapter group set up for such projects, and the project developer, Thomas Development Group of Albuquerque, took the proposal to the Navajo Housing Authority on Monday. It is not known when or if the authority will approve the proposal.

Officials at the authority could be reached for comment Monday.

Jenny Kane may be reached at; 564-4636. Follow her on Twitter @Jenny_Kane