Couple thrilled to hit city’s housing jackpot
Dathan Flesner threw his arms up in the air Monday with the kind of excitement reserved for winning the lottery.He had. Flesner and his wife, Maria, won’t be collecting a state jackpot. Instead, they won the right to become the proud owners of a below-market-price townhome, following Glenwood Springs’ first affordable housing lottery, held Monday in City Council chambers at City Hall.Geneva Powell, director of the Garfield County Housing Authority, which worked with the city on processing applications for the lottery, spun a bingo cage and rolled out yellow balls containing the numbers of all six eligible applicants. She then read out “068,” the number on the first ball to emerge from the cage.”We have a winner,” she declared with a smile after Flesner’s outburst of joy.Flesner, a manager in training for the Coca-Cola distribution facility in Glenwood Springs, had just arrived to join his wife and their 16-month-old baby, Ivie, in watching the drawing when Powell announced the winner.”I walked in and bam, it’s my number,” he said.
Clutching his wife’s hand, Flesner couldn’t stop gushing about how happy he was to be able to afford a home in Glenwood. He said he had been house-hunting between Glenwood and New Castle for a year.”I couldn’t find anything for even $325,000 that was worth my while,” he said.Flesner grew up in Glenwood Springs, and his wife, who is from Argentina, has been here for five years. He said they had been considering moving out of state because of the city’s housing costs.”It’s just too expensive,” he said.The Flesners get to buy a new three-bedroom, two-bath townhome in the Overlin Park subdivision near Veltus Park for $177,646. Pete Waller, the project’s developer, said an adjacent townhome that’s 300 square feet bigger sold for $287,000, and the buyer turned around and sold it for $315,000.”You’re getting a sweet deal,” he assured the Flesners.
The townhome was made available under a city regulation requiring developers of new subdivisions and multifamily housing projects to provide 15 percent of their units as housing that will be sold at below-market rates. Under a deed restriction, the units can appreciate in value by no more than 3 percent per year to help keep them affordable should they be sold again in the future.The first unit to become available under the program was sold last year, but no lottery was held because there turned out to be only one qualified applicant.Ten applied for the latest home, and six met the city’s income restrictions and other requirements. Though others in Monday’s lottery went away disappointed, city planner Jill Peterson pointed out that several more affordable housing units are to become available soon.Deana Rambo, a Hurricane Katrina survivor whose family gained attention earlier this year when a dog rescued her son from the Roaring Fork River, had applied for Monday’s drawing. She sat in the front row to await the results.”I figured I didn’t have anything to lose,” she said. “It’s very difficult to find something (affordable) around here.”Waller, who said he had gotten to know Rambo and was pulling for her to win the lottery, had mixed feelings about being required to provide units under the city program.
“We have to make money just like everyone else,” he said, noting that developers are facing rising costs for building materials.But as a Glenwood resident he also understands the rationale for the program as one part of the answer to the city’s problem of high housing prices.”I’ve got kids in high school and I think, geez, where are they going to live? It’s a worry,” he said.Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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