Report: Focus on rentals, multifamily units

By MIKE WIGGINS
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A report aimed at identifying long-term solutions to the Grand Valley’s shortage of affordable housing emphasizes the need for more rental and multifamily units.

The Grand Valley Housing Strategy, developed after a year’s worth of work by a variety of public- and private-sector stakeholders, estimates that more than 40 percent of the 16,700 new homes needed in the valley in the next 10 years should be rental units and owned townhomes and condominiums.

The report recommends appointing a task force to implement recommendations and monitor market conditions.

“We’re oversupplied on low-density, single-family housing and undersupplied on high-density, multifamily housing,” Jody Kole, executive director of the Grand Junction Housing Authority, told
the Grand Junction City Council Wednesday night.

Recommendations in the report include:

• Cultivate and promote a pro-business philosophy.

•  Encourage density.

• Develop design standards for higher density, mixed-use development.

• Offer incentives to build affordable housing, such as tax rebates and reduced fees.

• Speed up the approval process for housing developments.

• Acquire land in strategic locations and prepare it for development.

• Establish a local housing trust fund with a dedicated revenue source to leverage private investment.

• Work with local and regional lenders to fund loan pools.

The report cited a surge in population and jobs and a number of other oft-repeated statistics that officials say helps explain Mesa County’s housing crunch, despite the recession.

The median single-family home sale price reached $224,900 in the first quarter of 2009, which was nearly double the median sale price in 2001.

New construction of apartments has been nearly non-existence in the last decade, with only 237 “attainable” units being built in that time, according to the report.

More than 1,400 families are on the Housing Authority’s waiting list. Most earn less than $10,000 a year and are only able to afford rents of $200 to $300 a month, the report said.


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