Changes loom for affordable-housing rules in Aspen, Pitkin County |

Changes loom for affordable-housing rules in Aspen, Pitkin County

Michael McLaughlin
The Aspen Times

Government officials are entertaining potential changes or updates to the existing affordable-housing regulations.

The Aspen City Council held a joint work session with the Pitkin County commissioners Tuesday that included a session with the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority.

Mayor Steve Skadron chaired the joint meeting where three key issues were discussed and approved to move back to both the City Council and commissioners for final approval.

The first issue on the agenda for discussion by the Housing Authority was seeking approval to conduct a request for proposal that re-examines category and asset assumptions in the employee housing guidelines.

Those guidelines haven’t been assessed in more than 10 years. The Housing Board is requesting a study by consultants to test the sustainability of the current method used to determine category and asset qualifications, and if needed, how they can be improved.

The members of the joint meeting all concurred a new assessment was necessary. It also was suggested that having the additional information of the percentage of citizens in each housing category, as well as how each category affects the poverty level, be included.

The second issue was a clarification of the administrative procedures for determining when a person can retire and stay in employee housing.

The Housing Authority recommended that a person cannot retire until they reach an age that qualifies for full benefits from the U.S. Social Security Administration. There also will still be the option to request a review for special retirement circumstances.

The third issue was the housing authority seeking approval to amend the Fourth Amended Intergovernmental Agreement with two changes.

The first change was to add two members to the housing board, changing the board from five to seven members.

The joint board had no qualms with adding two more housing board members. It was suggested that a member of the city council and board of commissioners be the two new housing board members, but that was disputed for several reasons, including time commitments and possible conflicts of interest.

“Our staff is pretty well stretched out,” said George Newman, the chairperson for the county commissioners. “Everyone’s time is overcommitted, so I’m not going to support that suggestion.”

The members of the joint meeting decided it might work best if the City Council nominates one new member and the county commissioners nominate the other.

The second change involved the addition of a call-up procedure regarding any guideline changes. The board agreed that a call-up procedure was a good idea, but that the call-up needed a majority support from the board before being introduced.

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