Letter: Impact fees hurt rentals
For the last four years, our firm has been working to make The Lofts at Red Mountain (the apartments in the Glenwood Meadows shopping center) a reality. We hope to receive final City Council approval Thursday night, but we need your help. Having lived for years in the Roaring Fork Valley, I was quite familiar with the housing shortage and its impact on our communities. With The Lofts project we have discovered the reason why there has been no middle-income rental housing built in Glenwood Springs for decades.
In addition to high construction costs and a lack of capital providers, the city impact fees unfairly punish rental housing. Most of these fee schedules were established many years ago, possibly at a time when city leaders were actually trying to discourage rental housing. Fortunately, today’s City Council sees the need for quality rental housing, although it is politically difficult to reduce these high impact fees. How high are they? For our apartment project, the total fees are almost $2 million. We, and other experts, have analyzed our true impact on the area’s infrastructure and have proposed a fair fee total of $700,000. That is still a lot of money to pay for the privilege of building affordable, market-rate rental housing.
Please note that we are only asking to pay a fair amount of fees; we are not asking for the taxpayers to subsidize our project in any way. No public bond issues, no federal tax credits, nothing from the taxpayer. In fact, The Lofts should pay over $300,000 per year in property taxes. Most of this goes to the school district. In addition, the residents will likely pay more than $450,000 in local sales taxes every year. Combined, these should total more than $7.5 million in taxes over 10 years, benefiting the schools, Glenwood Springs, Colorado Mountain College, Garfield County and others.
Apart from new taxes, residents of this project will spend approximately $15 million per year in the local economy, supporting many existing jobs and businesses.
Are these apartments affordable? Absolutely. If we can build The Lofts, it will house nurses, teachers, city employees, and employees from many other Glenwood businesses and institutions. Last week, we delivered an analysis of our affordability to the council. It should be on the city website for your review.
Please write to the City Council and encourage members to help end the housing shortage in Glenwood Springs. The Lofts, and any other apartment project, should not be forced to pay unfair impact fees.
managing director, Realty Capital Management
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