Wednesday, January 26, 2005

P&Z eyes housing regulations


By MEGAN THOMAS
Express Staff Writer

Sun Valley Planning and Zoning commissioners got their feet wet this week in the first of many discussions scheduled to lead to recommending regulations that would significantly augment work force housing.

At the request of the city council, the commission began initial considerations of possible community housing ordinances at the meeting, Tuesday, Jan. 25 to require all new developments to provide a degree of work force housing. The discussions are slated to continue at a series of meetings through February.

In order to alleviate the existing work force housing deficit existing in Blaine County, City Administrator Virginia Egger oriented the commission to the possible tools and techniques available for establishing work force housing regulations. She suggested two multifaceted ordinances to guide work force housing regulations.

"The goal is that new growth doesn't add to the deficit; it keeps us more or less safe as development goes forward," Egger said.

In order to guide development and not duplicate others' efforts, Egger explained, the city is coordinating efforts with the Blaine County Housing Authority and Blaine County. The city is using Rees Consulting, based in Crested Butte, Colo., to update data on the demand and supply of community housing. The data will be available in February to facilitate the regulations.

"This is no small matter when it comes to community development," Egger said.

Egger suggested the commission consider two zoning ordinances. The first ordinance mandates on-site work force housing as a matter of public policy for certain land-use projects, such as commercial developments and public facilities.

The second ordinance considers broad options for new developments applicable to all platted lots. The approach considers the number of jobs generated by a project and calculates requirements for community housing based upon the housing need created. This approach offers options such as requiring payments in lieu of providing housing. The money would be placed in an aggregate fund to build multiple off-site housing units.

Egger suggested all community units for rent and sale should be deed restricted for perpetuity.

The commission will continue discussions at a work session scheduled Tuesday, Feb. 1.




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