Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Green light for affordable housing project

Ketchum approves 32 rental units near YMCA

Express Staff Writer

The effort to bring more affordable housing to Ketchum got a big boost after the city's Planning and Zoning Commission approved plans for Northwood Place, a 32-unit affordable housing project in the city's light-industrial district.

At a meeting on Monday night, commission members unanimously voted in favor of the project's design review application, paving the way for construction to possibly to begin this summer.

The project, which will offer affordable rental units, will be located at the north end of the city-owned Park and Ride lot, adjacent to the Wood River Community YMCA.

Architect Dale Bates, head of the Ketchum Community Development Corp.'s Town Design Team, presented to the P&Z Monday the latest version of the project, which will be largely funded through $8.8 million in federal tax credits awarded to the CDC in January. The credits will be sold to businesses by the developer.

The units will be available to people who meet income criteria set by the Blaine County Housing Authority.

Along with Seattle-based partner Allied Pacific Development, the CDC addressed concerns raised by the commission at previous meetings with an altered roofline and increased interior storage for the units.

"Thank you for working with us on this and I feel like this is a good project," Commissioner Steve Cook said.

Northwood Place would total just over 32,000 square feet on a 0.84-acre parcel of land. It would include 12 one-bedroom units, 14 two-bedroom units and six three-bedroom units. Unit sizes would range from 617 to 1,234 square feet and monthly rents are estimated to range from $430 to $1,074.

As well, it would include solar panels on the south-facing portions of the building's roofs, helping offset some of the project's energy costs.

"I really think this project meets the needs of both the community and the environment," said Neil Bradshaw, president of the CDC.

The P&Z's approval of the design does not require approval of the City Council. However, the project does still require the council to approve a minor condition to a land-use agreement.

Greg Dunfield, a director at Allied Pacific Development, said he hopes construction will be able to begin as early as June.

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