Glenwood council extends moratorium on affordable housing rules
The Glenwood Springs City Council on Thursday extended the city’s moratorium by two years on affordable housing requirements for new projects.
The exemption was set to expire in September, which would mean any housing development would have to factor in so-called inclusionary residential requirements.
Without the moratorium, the city requires 15 percent of housing units in new developments carry restrictions, such as initial price controls, buyer income guidelines and appreciation caps to keep housing affordable. While affordable housing for middle-class residents is needed throughout the region, the requirements make it harder to build profitably, developers say.
The exemption was put into place to help jump start housing development after the recession.
Andrew McGregor, community development director, told the council challenges remain in Glenwood’s housing market.
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“Construction’s expensive around here. We don’t need more financial burdens,” McGregor said.
Councilman Todd Leahy agreed and said he was “absolutely in support of this.”
“But I’m looking forward to a comprehensive analysis to see what more is possible,” Leahy added. “We focus too much on ownership. Glenwood has always been a tough place to rent.”
Like McGregor, he worries about the burden on developers.
“Not a big fan of putting the entire burden on the people who build houses,” Leahy said.
Councilman Matthew Steckler agreed, saying he wanted to know what City Council could do to spur affordability in the community. If necessary, he said, councilors could revisit the issue in a year to see where things stand.
Councilwoman Kathryn Trauger echoed that sentiment, saying if things started to change or shift, council could say “enough is enough.”
Trauger wants to see more conversations regarding housing, both rental and community housing, including for seniors.
Everyone on council, including Mayor Michael Gamba, wanted to see more affordable housing, but without hurting the developers in the process. The inclusionary residential requirements are a detriment to the developers, he said.
“We need to have a comprehensive evaluation of this housing issue in general,” Gamba said. “We can put in policies that are successful. Six units in 10 years is not the definition of success.”
In fact, Gamba said the council should rescind the policy of inclusionary residential requirements entirely.
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Ivan Jackson joined LIFT-UP as its new executive director in August.