Friday, November 9, 2007

Housing blunder

The problems with the 12 units of affordable housing called Agave Place that led to their failure to be sold to local working families never should have happened.

Somewhere in dealings among the developer, Blaine County and the Blaine County Housing Authority, communication and control broke down.

Only one of the units was sold. And unfortunately for people interested in buying deed-restricted community workforce housing, the units accounted for most of the 15 units of such housing on the market last summer.

The reasons the units didn't sell in a county where studies have shown a need for at least 1,200 community workforce-housing units are in dispute.

The BCHA has 375 households on buyers' waiting list. However, the Agave Place units were too expensive for more than a handful of interested buyers on the list. That fact should have been considered before the Agave Place units even hit the drawing board.

To complicate matters, the units reportedly didn't contain things that are standard in today's homes and apartments, including plumbing for dishwashers and garbage disposals, and adequate storage.

Agave Place left no one happy, and it has given workforce housing and the effort to sustain the valley's middle class a serious black eye.

A settlement is in the works, and can't happen too soon. However, with it must come new controls by Blaine County and the BCHA to keep workforce-housing efforts from failing from lack of proper oversight and quality control.

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