Carbondale forming advisory group on affordable housing
CARBONDALE ” Town officials are turning to Carbondale citizen volunteers for advice on ways to increase the town’s affordable housing stock without being totally dependent on developers.
The town has issued a call for volunteers to participate in a new Housing Advisory Group that will meet for six months beginning in May and issue a report on its findings in the fall.
The group will be charged with researching land, resources and other ways besides the town’s development mitigation requirements to create affordable housing.
“This is a good way to engage citizens and let them do the work to come up with some new ideas to present to us,” Trustee Frosty Merriott said at a recent Town Board meeting.
Town staff will work with the group to help them to obtain the information and resources they need. The group will also work with Healthy Mountain Community’s Affordable Communities Initiative, which will explore strategies to finance affordable housing on a regional basis.
“The group may discover potential public/private partnerships for the future, or funding mechanisms that have not been unveiled until now,” said Kay Philip, a Carbondale town planner who specializes in civic engagement.
Last year, the town revised its affordable housing guidelines, upping the mitigation requirement from 15 percent to 20 percent. However, there were concerns that in doing so that the town was leaning too heavily on developers.
“We’d like to see a cross-section of participants who represent residents and businesses, including the fields of construction and development,” Trustee Stacey Bernot said.
The town has tried some different approaches recently, including a plan to “buy down” some units at the new Cleveland Place residential development on Eighth Street with the intent of selling them to town employees for a below-market price. However, partly due to the economic downturn, there were no takers.
And, while re-sales of existing deed-restricted affordable housing units have not been a problem, the tighter lending market has made initial sales of affordable housing units difficult, Philip said.
Persons interested in volunteering can send a letter of interest to: Housing Advisory Group, Town of Carbondale, 511 Colorado Ave., Carbondale 81623; or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Carbondale Board of Trustees will appoint citizen volunteers in late April. The deadline to submit applications is April 15. For more information, call Kay Philip, 704-4112.
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