01/05/2009: "CC: Need More Info On New Housing Program"
//10/29/2008// A staff report and presentation by SJC Affordable Housing Coordinator Angela Lausch (photo rightwas discussed by the County Council on Tuesday. The Staff Report (70\k file) in support of a Housing Authority summed of the need as resulting from the large number of low paying jobs.
The report states that “local businesses (and government) already place high housing costs as their greatest obstacle to recruiting workers and that with an aging workforce this problem will only grow worse.”
While the Council has been supportive of affordable housing, they did not great the idea of a new program very warmly. Councilman Gene Knapp said “I think we have ample government at this time.”
Only one page of the controlling law was included in the information given to the council members, and being an attorney, Knapp had read all thirteen pages about the power the Housing Authority has, and, was not very encouraged to read how much power is granted to a Housing Authority.
”I’m going to be a hard sell on this.” I don’t think the Housing Authority law is aimed at communities like ours; it sets up actually a new government, and has very extensive powers…they have power of eminent domain.. excised by five lay people…that can come and say ‘we want to buy your house and remodel it for affordable housing,; and they could do it.
“You have some high hurdles to get over to convince me that is anything that is needed here.” Knapp said.
Lausch responded that the five people would be from the community and they would have to answer to that community. She did not explain what she meant by that..
Rich Peterson asked where the funding would come from. Lausch said the projects would receive funding from sources outside of San Juan County; but volunteered that they do not pay property taxes; but noted there are benefits to the community that one could say offsets the loss of property tax income.
Councilman Bob Myhr inquired if the housing would be rented at market prices or would it be subsidized, or discounted. There are various ways that it could be structured, Lausch said.
Councilman Howard Rosenfeld asked if it was true that “this would primarily be apartments?” The “seems to be the focus,” he was told, in part due to a goal of keeping at least some of the housing at lower affordable rates, but there could be mixed income.
The Council decided to continue to discuss the matter, and asked for additional information be provided to them for possible future discussion at a December 9th council meeting.