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County denies affordable housing grant

Garfield County Commissioners denied the nonprofit developers of an affordable housing tract in Carbondale a $50,000 grant for planning the development.

Commissioners Larry McCown and John Martin denied the grant to Mountain Regional Housing Corp. for its proposed Keator Grove development on philosophical grounds, saying the Carbondale project doesn’t live up to its claim of “affordable” housing and asks the county to subsidize free-market housing.

Homes in Keator Grove would range in price between about $200,000 and about $400,000 for homes ranging in size from about 1,100 square feet to about 2,400 square feet, said MRHC spokeswoman Susan Shirley.



MRHC plans to build 36 homes and 16 attached housing units, eight of which will be deed-restricted to households with incomes of 80 percent of the area median income. The others are aimed at households making 150 percent of the AMI.

Commissioner Tresi Houpt said she supports the project because she believes it will “jump-start” similar affordable housing projects in the area that can get under way without the financial help of the county.



Houpt moved to grant MRHC $50,000 for the “planning component” of Keator Grove.

“I still don’t feel comfortable with this project,” McCown said, adding that the prices of Keator Grove homes don’t reflect the salaries of the average school teacher or county worker.

The motion failed with only Houpt voting for it.

In other business, the commission voted to send McCown to Denver to represent Garfield County at a Department of Local Affairs meeting Dec. 23, where a plan to change the way DOLA distributes revenues from energy development on public lands will be discussed.

“We’re going to ask for a delay in (dispersal) of these funds until a resolution can be reached,” McCown said.

Garfield County could stand to lose $500,000 next year if the plan is passed. The plan would distribute “third tier” mineral leasing money to all counties in the state, not just counties directly affected by energy development.


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