Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Hailey tweaks housing rules

Several alternatives offered on affordable housing


By JASON KAUFFMAN
Express Staff Writer

Developers now have several alternatives for meeting Hailey's affordable housing requirements when they are building residential or mixed-use projects.

Hailey City Council members approved three substantial amendments to the city's inclusionary housing ordinance Monday. Hailey Planning and Zoning commissioners approved the changes on April 13.

Hailey's inclusionary housing ordinance—originally approved by the City Council in late 2005—requires developers to set aside 20 percent of residential developments with five or more units as affordable, deed-restricted housing. Hailey followed the city of Sun Valley as only the second municipality in the Wood River Valley to pass such an ordinance.

The first amendment approved by the council Monday applies only to the Business, Limited Business and Transitional districts within Hailey's Townsite Overlay District. In those locations, developers of residential or mixed-use subdivisions resulting in 10 or more lots now must only provide community housing units equivalent to a minimum of 10 percent of the total number of housing units in the development.

Commenting on the amendment, Hailey City Council President Rick Davis said the change will encourage more residential housing in the city's downtown core, something the city hopes to promote.

"It would be nice to have more residences above our commercial (buildings) so people can walk to work," Davis said.

Under the second amendment, the requirement for providing affordable housing units may now be reduced by 1 percent for every 10 percent of the total units within developments (including market-rate and affordable housing units) that are less than 1,000 square feet in size, excluding the garage. The change applies to all other zoning districts within the city not covered by the first amendment.

Hailey Planning Director Kathy Grotto cited an example Monday to illustrate how the change would work. Based on Grotto's example, a development with 60 percent of its housing units less than 1,000 square feet in size would only be required to have 14 percent of its units as affordable housing units.

The final amendment to the ordinance applies to developers proposing alternative deed restrictions. Like the first amendment, this amendment is specific only to the Business, Limited Business and Transitional districts within Hailey's Townsite Overlay District.

In those locations, developers now may propose that up to 50 percent of community housing units be deed-restricted in some way other than income-restricted if the requirements under the ordinance result in two or more community housing units. An example of an alternative form of deed restriction is the much-discussed "Telluride Model." Under the Telluride Model—which the city of Telluride, Colo., has developed and implemented to encourage more affordable housing units in the city—the ownership of affordable housing units is restricted not by income level, but rather by where one lives and works.




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