Garfield County decides not to support Meadows affordable housing
Post Independent staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
After failing to win support from Garfield County, the developer planning to build affordable housing at Glenwood Meadows will keep trying, a spokeswoman said.
The Board of County Commissioners on Monday declined to give their support, either financially or conceptually, to a plan to build up to 120 apartments just uphill from the Glenwood Meadows shopping center.
The developer, Steele Properties, was hoping for a pledge of financial support to help with Steele’s application for a low-income housing tax credit award from the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority.
According to spokeswoman Jennifer Cloud, the city of Glenwood Springs has agreed to waive development fees valued at approximately $600,000 as its support for the project.
Kathryn Grosscup, program director for the Garfield County Housing Authority, said the authority supports the project as a way to alleviate a housing crunch for low-income workers.
Commissioner John Martin, assessing the request for support, noted that the project has failed to get off the ground twice before, at times when there was a shortage of housing at any price.
“Now, there is a glut of property and lots and lots of openings,” he told Cloud, adding that the cost of affordable housing “is actually higher than free market.”
Commissioner Tom Jankovsky said, “I don’t know that, right now, the county needs affordable housing.”
Local businessman Jim Drolet questioned whether it would be appropriate for the county to help a developer that would be competing against the local free-market development industry, and Jankovsky agreed with his views.
“I’m just, philosophically, opposed to it,” Jankovsky said of the proposal, due to his reluctance about government competition against the private sector.
Commissioner Mike Samson, on the other hand, stated, “I think affordable housing has its good points and its place. I don’t think the timing is right.”
Jankovsky added, “If this had been two years earlier, we probably would have had a different outcome.”
The board voted unanimously to withhold financial support for the project, and to not write a letter of support of any kind.
Cloud said Steele would go ahead with its application for the tax-credit award anyway.
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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.