Garfield Alliance for Affordable Housing wants to appeal to more family units |

Garfield Alliance for Affordable Housing wants to appeal to more family units

Trying to facilitate more conversations centered on meeting the needs of affordable housing in Rifle, a task force of real estate agents says there needs to be more of a push to cater to larger family housing.

Garfield Alliance for Affordable Housing representative Paige Haderlie told Rifle City Council on Feb. 2 condos and townhomes are going to be a “big player” for 2022 based on market research.

The Garfield Alliance for Affordable Housing was originally initiated by the Garfield County commissioners to help facilitate discussions about local affordable housing and workforce housing needs, according to city documents.

Haderlie said Rifle has the most variety in all of Garfield County in terms of planning and zoning, and can expedite permitting processes for duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, infill development and building repurposing.

“Not only is the need for more housing critical, but the fiscal impacts of where, how and the mix of what is built will reverberate through a municipal budget for decades,” she said. “That’s why, through the last year of us talking and really looking at this, the city of Rifle has come into the spotlight of really being where the problem could be solved.”

Right now, upvalley markets are “geographically restrained,” Haderlie said. In other words, there’s less and less room for new development in the Roaring Fork Valley.

Haderlie said the task force intends to identify specific areas around Rifle that are “shovel ready” for single family housing developments.

To ignite development, Haderlie talked about the city implementing fee waivers and reducing building costs but that these ideas cannot be the only solutions to meeting local housing needs.

Bolstering single-family development encourages residents to remain in the area “for the long haul,” Haderlie said.

She emphasized that one- and two-bedroom affordable apartments appeal more to short-term workforces.

“Those people are probably a more transient person in our community,” she said. “And they probably don’t have a family with them that would have additional children that would be able to work at Wendy’s, work at Sunlight (or) work at Starbucks.”

Council member Brian Condie expressed interest in creating more affordable housing units, saying the average salary right now in Rifle is $66,000, while the median housing price is $394,000. This gives a Rifle worker, based on the affordability index, enough money to afford a median housing price of $350,000.

“So that’s the other portion that you brought up, is paying your employees a market rate so they can afford to live where they work,” Condie told Haderlie. “And that’s what we’re trying to lead in the community, is setting that example and giving our employees a living wage.”

Responding to the possibility of waiving more development fees for creating larger family housing units, council member Sean Strode pointed out that accumulation of lost funding from those fee waivers is starting to be felt in their pocket book.

“We had waived a lot of fees over the past two years,” he said. “And we’re feeling that in our budget.”

Green said the city, however, is willing to work with the Garfield Alliance for Affordable Housing in pinning down future plans for development.

Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or

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