County backs affordable housing project in Carbondale
With the need for more affordable housing a big blip on their radar screen these days, the Garfield County Commissioners have agreed to “buy down” eight units in the Keator Grove housing development in Carbondale.Monday the commissioners promised to contribute $10,000 per unit to decrease their cost to buyers. Earlier this week they also agreed to give $1.5 million to Glenwood Meadows developer Robert Macgregor to construct a 120-unit apartment complex that would include 84 units restricted to lower-income families.Keator Grove, a 52-unit subdivision of 16 condos and 36 single-family homes, has gone through a number of hands since it was conceived in the late 1990s. The high-density development came under fire from neighbors in neighboring Hendrick Ranch, and the concept was defeated in an April 2000 referendum.The county financial help came with a bit of grumbling from one of the commissioners. In looking over the sales prices of the units, Commissioner Larry McCown said, “This is an estimated sales price. What is the bottom line? You are in the business of affordable housing.”Prices range from $379,000 for a 1,296-square-foot single-family home with three bedrooms to $170,000 for a 760-square-foot, two-bedroom apartment.However, Susan Shirley, executive director of Mountain Regional Housing Corp. (MRHC) in Carbondale, which is developing the project, said the company has limited its profits on the sales to 9 percent, and prices reflect the costs of construction.At McCown’s request, Shirley also agreed to give county employees preference points in the qualification process for purchase of the housing units.Eight of the units will be restricted to buyers making 80 percent of the area median income, ranging from $35,400 for one person to $58,650 for a household of six people.Although initially keeping some homes available as free-market units whose selling prices would be subject to competitive pricing, the project now has placed deed restrictions on all of the houses and apartments, Shirley said.In addition to developing affordable housing, MRHC offers mortgage and down-payment assistance programs in Pitkin, southwest Eagle and Garfield counties.Commissioner Trési Houpt applauded the Keator Grove subdivision.”There is a discrepancy between earned income and housing (in the county),” she said. “There’s a huge disconnect.”Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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Former Carbondale trustee Katrina Byars said she wants to bring a voice of environmental sustainability to the commission, and believes her opponent has served long enough.