Thursday, April 02, 2009

More Affordable Housing - So it is Written, So it is Not Done

by Osman Parvez
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The City currently requires 20% of a new development to be affordable, or for the developer to pay the city a fee of $110,000 to $119,000 for each one not built.

According to the Daily Camera, City Council thinks this isn't good enough and wants more affordable housing in our community:
Developers should either build more affordable-housing units alongside the rest of the homes in their Boulder projects, or put more money into the city's affordable housing fund, elected leaders said Tuesday night.
Most developers are paying the fee instead of building affordable housing, so the City could have been building itself. Instead...
Councilwoman Susan Osborne said the city needs to be careful about making changes to the program, because the cash that builders contribute has been valuable for a wide range of projects.
For example, the city has used that cash and pooled funds with nonprofit and other governmental agencies to help build the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, and for the redevelopment of Boulder Mobile Manor
If City Council wants more affordable housing for residents, why have they been spending the money elsewhere? Sure - Mobile Manor (a trailer park) provides affordable housing but it's not an expansion of affordable housing in the City.

Where has the rest of the money been spent?

p.s. I'm not advocating less money for non-profits. Silver Fern Homes is a strong supporter of the non-profit community. Through the company's Pay it Forward program, we donate 5% of every commission we earn to local non-profits, including the homeless shelter.
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1 comment:

  1. Exactly. The City takes the money earmarked for Affordable Housing and spends it on other pet projects. Huh? Hard to listen to the complaints when developers are playing by the rules COuncil set up. It is Council which has misplaced its own priorities. Can they take that money and build housing on their own? Boulder certainly has the staff to enact such projects, why not? I know dozens of unemployed architects eager for work. It would be an opportunity to build sustainable housing that could serve as a model for developers.

    The simple fact is that housing is far too expensive - at every level save attached dwellings - for those who fall into affordable housing income categories ($80K annual and less? don't get me started on the absurdity of this...). The greenbelt, the cap on new occupancies/yr, the height restrictions, density aversions, etc., have been enacted and accepted as set in stone, and therefore the city will always have this problem. Nowhere to grow to meet more than a small fraction of demand. More money from builders will simply mean nicer homeless shelters, additional bike paths, and extra flashing crosswalks if the City continues their pattern. Long term, IMHO, this means more and more businesses who value sustainable lifestyle in their own actions and those of their employees (or when gas gets to $4 and stays there), will set up shop outside of Boulder, where their employees can walk, ride, or take a short, congestion free drive to the office. While business/home owners walk to work their employees drive in from the nether regions. A city that provides so many jobs must provide for a more sustainable system of transportation of its workforce, esp. if their stated and marketed goal is sustainability.

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