County seeks clarification from affordable housing developers
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. Put it in writing.That’s what Garfield County officials are asking of developers of a proposed affordable housing development at Glenwood Meadows.They say they need a clearer understanding of what developers are expecting of the county and what it will get in return.The county has been rethinking its $1.5 million commitment to the project because of concerns about the details of its involvement and questions about whether the city of Glenwood Springs is contributing as much to make the project feasible.Developers sat down with county commissioners and staff Monday afternoon to try to answer their questions surrounding the project. They also agreed to the request of county attorney Don DeFord to provide a written version of the terms of their proposed deal with the county.”They have changed a great deal over time,” DeFord said of those terms.County commissioner Trési Houpt reiterated her support for the project. But she said she agreed that the deal’s conditions need to be put in writing for the county to consider so “we understand at the end of the day what our participation is going to mean.”County officials became more concerned after hearing the agreement reached by developers and Glenwood Springs. Besides having questions about equity, the county is worried by a promise by developers to pay back about $800,000 in deferred development fees with interest.County officials fear that could leave the county housing authority with a financial obligation. The housing authority is to be given the right of first refusal to buy the property once developers are allowed to sell it after 15 years.Mike Maples, one of the developers, said any interest obligation would come off the asking price of the property rather than being added to the cost to the housing authority. Also, authority director Geneva Powell said the authority would have no debt if it decided against buying the apartments.Developer Arny Porath said the city has contributed significantly to the project. Besides deferring $800,000 in fees, it provided building variances that will save more than $1 million, and deferred a park requirement that eliminates $350,000 to $400,000 in upfront costs.Still, Porath welcomed any efforts by the county to get the city to give more.”If you can go over there and bring out a lot more money from them I’ll be happy,” he said.County commissioners plan to make the trip across the street to City Hall at 8 a.m. Wednesday morning to meet with City Council and discuss concerns about whether the two governments are providing similar amounts.Glenwood Mayor Bruce Christensen has said the project should be a matter of negotiations between developers and individual governments, and not between the county and city.The Glenwood Meadows project would consist of 120 rental units that would be deed-restricted to lower-income residents for 40 years. Developers hope to start construction this spring.Contact Dennis Webb: email@example.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO
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