Rifle City Council approves Habitat for Humanity fee waiver request
Habitat for Humanity project could build 20 residences in Wapiti Commons
Applicants for a Habitat for Humanity project in Rifle’s Wapiti Commons might be required to work in Rifle to qualify for approval, following a project discussion Thursday at the Rifle City Council regular meeting.
Located on two parcels near Smith Street and Wapiti Avenue, the Habitat for Humanity project could include 20 deed-restricted residences — 10 townhomes and 10 condominiums, said Jake Ezratty, a Habitat for Humanity project manager.
Ezratty and Carolyn Meadowcroft, Habitat for Humanity’s director of homeowner services and community outreach, appeared before council members Oct. 21 to request a $100,000 building permit and plan review fee waiver. In exchange, the nonprofit organization offered to reserve one of the 20 units for a Rifle city employee.
Without a waiver, the organization’s overall fees could cost about $321,000, Ezratty said.
City staff are helping Habitat apply for a Department of Local Affairs Affordable Housing grant, which would refund any fees waived by city council, according to city documents.
Council Member Clint Hostettler said rather than reserving a unit for a city employee, he would like to see the organization restrict availability of the homes to people currently working in Rifle.
Although Council Member Brian Condie didn’t disagree with Hostettler’s suggestion, he said he wasn’t ready to give up a housing option for a city employee.
“We need to keep it for one of our employees, because we need to take care of them,” Condie said.
Mayor Pro Tem Theresa Hamilton said she felt it was more important the housing be restricted to people who work in the community than to reserve a unit for the city but asked if they could take both as a condition of the fee waiver.
Meadowcroft said Habitat intended for the condominiums to serve Rifle’s aging and mostly retired population, so the council’s requests could be incorporated with the caveat that retired people would be eligible if they currently lived in Rifle. The organization could start accepting applications after Jan. 1, she said.
Hamilton made a motion to approve the fee waiver request on the conditions council’s requests were met, with the caveat that older Rifle residents would be eligible to apply for the condominiums. Condie seconded the motion, and council approved the motion 6-0, with Council Member Sean Strode absent.
Reporter Ike Fredregill can be reached at 970-384-9154 or by email at email@example.com.
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