Glenwood Springs council passes first reading of affordable housing ordinance
The Glenwood Springs City Council passed the first reading of proposed deed restriction requirements aimed at increasing the town’s affordable housing inventory.
The council voted to approve the first reading of an ordinance that would cap property or rental prices for 10% of all units in any development with more than 10 housing units total based on 100% of the area median income.
The motion was approved by a 5-2 vote, with councilors Tony Hershey and Steve Davis voting no.
The ordinance would place a restriction on a property that couldn’t be removed, said Hannah Klausman, public information officer for Glenwood Springs.
“Inclusionary housing deed restricting mandates that a certain percentage of units be priced at affordable rates in connection with a certain area median income level,” Klausman said.
For a one-person apartment, rent for an affordable housing unit would be capped at $1,585. For a two-person rental, the rent would be capped at $1,902. A three-person rental would be capped at $2,197 and a four person rental would be capped at $2,452. Klausman said that for properties who would fall under the mandatory deed restriction ordinance, the monthly rental prices for the units that are capped must at least average out to come in or under the rent limits.
Whether the ordinance would be based on the number of occupants or bedrooms per unit has yet to be determined, Klausman said.
That means rental prices could vary within deed-restricted housing. For example, a developer could rent some units at a significantly lower price then rent others at a higher price and still be in alignment with the ordinance.
Councilor Ingrid Wussow proposed an amendment to the original ordinance up for discussion that would require developments with 10 units or more, rather than five units or more.
Wussow said her goal was to see inclusionary housing language added to the city’s code in anticipation of future housing developments that are expected to be built in Glenwood Springs in the near future.
Davis said the city shouldn’t intervene in affordable housing matters, arguing that hundreds of units have been added to the city’s inventory within the last five years without having to force developers to abide by affordable housing requirements.
“Our teachers, our civil workers, our nurses, our firemen our policemen—I want them all to live in this community and the best way to make more affordable housing is to have more inventory,” Davis said, adding that the currently supply-demand system has sufficed thus far.
Davis also argued that the mandated deed restrictions would kill all development because developers will have no interest buying into this type of government program.
“”The reason people are building here now is because we don’t have such restrictions on them to make it so difficult and so cumbersome that they simply can’t make it pencil out,” Davis said.
Wussow said something needs to be done now rather than later to provide more affordable housing options if her fellow councilors want teachers to live in this community.
“The chasm between where we are right now for a single family home and where we are for affordable housing is growing, and it’s growing infinitely fast,” Wussow warned.
“This is an opportunity for us to set a precedent that we do want a diverse group of people in our community and not just the people that can afford a $600,000 house on a teacher’s income. I love supply-demand, I just don’t know that the real estate industry here in Glenwood, because of our geological proximity and how we have such limited places to build, I just don’t think it’s feasible to allow supply and demand to meet these needs,” she said.
A second reading of the proposed ordinance is slated for the city council meeting at 7 p.m. on March 18. Public input on the matter and all other agenda items is limited to three minutes per person.
What: Glenwood Springs Virtual City Council Meeting
When: Thursday, March 18 at 7 p.m.
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