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Glenwood Springs council passes affordable housing ordinance

Guidelines to be hashed out in resolution

The Glenwood Springs City Council passed and adopted the second reading of an inclusionary affordable housing ordinance, but the housing guidelines are still being hashed out in a resolution that would go along with the ordinance.

The ordinance would place a restriction on a property that couldn’t be removed, said Hannah Klausman, public information officer for Glenwood Springs. The motion passed 5-2, with Councilors Tony Hershey and Steve Davis voting against the ordinance.

“The ordinance requiring inclusionary housing was passed by council, which means that it will go into effect 10 days after publication. The housing guidelines that direct the implementation of the ordinance, was continued to the first meeting in April for additional time for staff and council to review and tweak details. Because the guidelines are passed by resolution, if approved at the first meeting in April, they will also go into effect basically at the same time as the ordinance,” Klausman said.



Inclusionary housing deed restrictions mandate that a certain percentage of units be priced at affordable rates in connection with a certain area median income level.

One is just an ordinance and the other is resolution to adopt the housing guidelines that go along with the program.



The housing guidelines would be updated periodically every 6 to 12 months, Klausman said.

The resolution is currently worded to prioritize geographic areas for employment qualification, meaning those who work in Glenwood Springs would have their housing applications prioritized first for affordable community units.

Klausman said it is challenging to have qualified tenants that only live within city limits, so a three tiered system would be used.

A developer would give priority to qualified applicants that work within city boundaries. If they do not receive applicants in that area, they can accept those within the 81601 zip code. After that, the applicant pool would expand to a 30 mile radius, which includes those who work in Rifle, Carbondale, Gypsum and Basalt.

“This incorporates flexibility for developers that they’re able to pull from a larger pool if they do not get those first prioritized qualified tenants,” Klausman said.

Dan Kessler, with K2 Developers, is planning a multimillion dollar project that would renovate the Affordable Inn in Glenwood Springs into affordable housing units.

Kessler asked the council to consider expanding the area to enable workers who live outside of that geographical area to be able to rent the affordable housing units.

Kessler said the Affordable Inn project would create 62 units of employee housing.

“We want to house those who work in Glenwood but just give us some flexibility just in case we can’t fill 100% occupancy. We’re hoping in additional meetings we might be able to expand that in discussion in a respectful manner,” Kessler said during the public comment period of Thursday’s meeting.

Doug Pratt, a land planner in the Roaring Fork Valley, said expanding the geographical qualifications would allow renters to keep their housing and have more housing security if they were to lose their job and find employment elsewhere in the region.

“ We have considered the Roaring Fork Valley our home, but we’ve certainly worked from Aspen to Parachute to Eagle,” Pratt said.

“Be aware that the more limiting the factors are for the employment base, the more insecure the housing is.”

Councilors approved a motion to table discussion on the resolution until their April 1 meeting.

smarvel@postindependent.com

 


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