Rifle City Council signs letter of support for 50-unit affordable housing project

Children just let out of Rifle Middle School at 4 p.m. Tuesday walk down Railroad Avenue alongside stopped traffic.
Ray K. Erku / Post Independent

Rifle City Council approved a letter of support for placing a 50-unit affordable housing project in the downtown area.

During a regular city council meeting March 2, members voted 6-1 to sign a letter of support toward a proposal to build an apartment complex at the corner of West Second Street and Railroad Avenue.

Council member Brian Condie opposed signing the letter. He expressed concern over the project potentially creating more safety hazards.

“I still have reservations about the project and children running free that close to Railroad (Avenue),” he said.

On Jan. 5, Chico-based Evergreen Real Estate Group originally proposed the project to Rifle City Council.

According to city documents, the project will be split up into 40 affordable housing units, with an additional 10 free market units. Rental rates for at least 30 one-bedroom units will be offered at 50-60% of average market income — or, $734 and $892 per unit.

Meanwhile, the project is expected to include 1,500 square feet of commercial space at ground level, be four stories tall and have 81 parking spaces.

But during Evergreen’s original presentation, the council also expressed concern over parking and whether the developer plans to build an underground parking garage with at least 51 spots.

“In (Evergreen’s) presentation, I wanted input from the police department so we can get that at the next meeting,” Condie said.

The project itself is estimated to cost $20.34 million, with Evergreen already requesting the city kick in $600,000. But the addition of an underground parking garage, which has yet to find a funding source, would add significant costs to the project.

On March 2, Rifle City Planner Patrick Waller said Evergreen is currently in conversations with the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority over additional funding sources.

Condie would ask Waller his thoughts on the proposed project.

“I’d rather see a building in that location instead of a vacant lot,” he said. “There’s protection within our zoning code and our site review process.”

Waller said the Central Business District — zoned commercial and industrial — does not have any language highlighting rules on children being too close to Railroad Avenue.

Rifle City Attorney Jim Neu said the downtown zoning code does allow for “a lot of residents, a lot of units” in the area, and that the code does support the project in the proposed location.

“I think if it got built out as planned, and as code allows, there’s gonna be a lot of units downtown,” he said.

Formal requests for funding or fee waivers are required to come back before city council, according to city documents.

“I think it’s going to help support downtown business, for one one thing, and then obviously it’s affordable housing, which is what we need,” Council member Clint Hostettler said.

Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or

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