Friday, August 23, 2019

Housing Authority seeks input from Mt. CB for housing plan

Housing Authority engages town council, gives updates on 6A

By Katherine Nettles

Jennifer Kermode and Willa Williford of the Gunnison Valley Housing Authority (GVHA) stopped in to the Mt. Crested Butte Town Council meeting on October 16 to ask for input on its Gunnison Valley Housing Plan draft, as they had done previously with the Gunnison County Board of Commissioners (BOCC). Also in attendance were Chris Haver, who is helping guide the effort from the Crested Butte Town Council, and Carlos Velado, the town community development director.

Williford described her position as a workforce housing consultant, helping to create a plan for the housing authority that will set project goals and ways to respond to the needs of the four jurisdictions it represents: the city of Gunnison, the towns of Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte, and Gunnison County overall. Each jurisdiction provides funding to the authority.

Williford said the plan is important regardless of the election outcome (ballot measure 6A would provide additional funding to the GVHA). Williford asked the council for a discussion of the town’s specific housing goals and needs, and asked for the council to begin with feedback or revisions to the planning statement. She mentioned that in the previous discussions with other jurisdictions about the statement, the term “character” had been raised, among others.

After initial comments from council members Lauren Daniel and Dwayne Lehnertz regarding the terms “character,” “values,” and “needs,” the council decided, at the suggestion of mayor Todd Barnes, that it consider the guiding principles and provide more extensive input at a later time. “We have an all-day retreat on [October 18], which might be a better place to discuss your questions and give you more thoughtful feedback.”

Williford and Kermode responded that if the council can hone in on its goals, “It would be hugely valuable to us. Thank you,” Williford said.

Among issues that the council was interested in exploring was a  visual map of land banks for potential affordable housing uses.

Kermode was then asked to update the council on ballot measure 6A. She reviewed a few basics, such as the goal of raising $850,000 and that the funds could then be addressed to several areas: low to moderate income (80 to 100 percent of Area Median Income (AMI)), and to employees who are perhaps above 100 percent AMI. “There is a gap between that and the market,” said Kermode. The third area, she said, was to focus on mixed use and mixed income properties. “There hasn’t been any organized opposition, just one person paying for ads in local papers,” said Kermode.

Mayor Barnes clarified that the ballot measure wouldn’t eliminate the annual contributions made by each town and the county. Kermode said that was correct. She also stated that the plan is that after 10 years the mill will be reduced from 1.5 to .5.

“You always want to give people the opportunity to see what successes we’ve had. It is important for us to have successes we can show,” said Kermode.

Kermode ended by saying that if the property tax passes, “There is a plan for how the tax will be collected, managed, and allocated. The board has been very thoughtful in getting prepared for this.”

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