Garfield County affordable housing project in limbo
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GARFIELD COUNTY, Colorado ” Construction on 20 affordable housing residences in the Ironbridge subdivision are currently being finished. Work on the units was halted in late September.
However, it’s unclear as to how long the units will remain empty, according to Garfield County Housing Authority Executive Director Geneva Powell. And that is putting 10 people or families in a tough spot.
“It’s been a very long wait,” Powell said. “It’s hard for the families that are in limbo.”
Ten people were chosen in the first of two lotteries for the 20 units on Sept. 9. The lottery for the second 10 houses was to be held on Oct. 9 but didn’t happen because the county is still waiting on a text amendment to the development’s planned unit development, or PUD, application.
“It’s one of those odd things that happens,” Powell said. “Everyone should have been in those units by the end of October.”
According to Ironbridge Vice President of Construction Mike Woelke, Ironbridge Homes and L B Rose Ranch, an affiliate of Lehman Brothers Holdings, were not affected by the Lehman Brothers Holdings Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing on Sept. 15. Woelke did not want to comment further but did confirm that work on the affordable housing units was ongoing.
The Garfield County Planning Commission is still waiting for a text amendment document to be filed and recorded with the county in order to issue a certificate of occupancy for any of the units. Occupancy certificates have to be issued before the homeowners can move in.
“It’s nothing from the bankruptcy but it’s just stuff regarding the affordable housing units,” Powell said. “Those haven’t been recorded yet. We’ve been trying to get that done.”
Powell indicated that she has received “no response” from anyone at Ironbridge or Lehman Brothers regarding the situation.
But the ones most affected are the families that were chosen in the lottery. They were expecting to move in by the end of October. Now, they don’t know when, or if, they will.
Garfield County and the housing authority made the decision that the families chosen in the first lottery will remain in their lottery position if they choose to.
“We will make sure they keep their spot if they choose to stay with it,” Powell said. “What we are telling them is that they need to go on with their life because we don’t know how long this is going to take.”
Getting on with their life, according to Powell, means that if the selected people find another opportunity, they should take it.
The 20 units will remain as affordable housing regardless of how the situation plays out because the amount of affordable units was a stipulation of county commissioners approving the planned unit development for the project.
Applicants for the lottery for the second 10 units will have to reapply for it when a date is determined. Powell has not verified any of the applications, and Powell said that she would not do that until the first 10 units were under contract.
So those folks could be waiting awhile.
“We felt it was best not to have a lottery because we did not want to keep them in limbo,” Powell said. “It could be cleared up tomorrow, or we could be waiting for another six months. We just don’t know.”
Contact John Gardner: 384-9114
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Grace Wesseling is an animal lover, a cheerleader of seven years and another soon-to-be graduate of Bridges High School, class of 2021.