The Regional Affordable Living Foundation is gauging interest in a self-help housing program in Oak Creek and Hayden after its plans for a Steamboat Springs subdivision were criticized last month by the city Planning Commission.
"If Fox Creek doesn't go forward this year, we have to look at 'Plan B,'" RALF Treasurer Kathi Meyer said.
Hands-On Housing, RALF's self-help housing program, hopes to identify within the next month four to eight families in Oak Creek or Hayden that meet eligibility requirements for a federal grant RALF received for affordable housing projects. RALF then would purchase existing lots in either of those areas, Meyer said.
The announcement of "Plan B" comes about a week after RALF held an emergency meeting in response to negative feedback from the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission on its Fox Creek self-help housing project.
The proposed 36-unit development off Hilltop Parkway would provide 17 units of self-help housing. The project, which was presented to the commission as a pre-application plan, was criticized by commission members for its lack of trail connections and sidewalks, the orientation of buildings, landscaping, setbacks and lack of architecture.
Ellen Hoj, program manager of the Hands-On Housing project, has said that she hoped some of the self-help housing projects in Fox Creek could be started this summer. The likelihood of those projects beginning this summer was hurt by the negative reactions to the project.
A $390,000 federal grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture mandates that RALF build 24 homes in 24 months. Seven units of self-help housing are under way in West End Village, meaning RALF must build another 17 units by September 2005 to meet the restrictions of the grant, Meyer said.
RALF's self-help program provides residents the opportunity to own their homes by requiring them to provide labor equal to 65 percent of the work necessary to build the homes.
Meyer said RALF programs are intended to benefit residents of the entire county, not just Steamboat.
"We've always believed the need for affordable housing is throughout the county," Meyer said. "RALF is for the people of Routt County."
Informational meetings for interested parties are scheduled for 7 p.m. Feb. 19 at the Oak Creek Town Hall; 7:30 p.m. Feb. 19 at Hayden Town Hall; and 4 p.m. Feb. 24 in the third-floor conference room in Colorado Mountain College's Bogue Hall in Steamboat.