Thursday, February 3, 2005
The town of Hayden needs to establish a policy for waiving or reducing water and sewer tap fees for affordable housing projects before it makes any commitments to the Yampa Valley Housing Authority.
The Hayden Town Board made the decision Thursday while considering YVHA's request to waive or discount fees for eight homes that will be built in the Sagewood subdivision as part of the organization's Hands on Housing program.
Low-income families, which qualify for the program and receive loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will help build one another's homes with the help of licensed contractors.
A similar project was completed in Steamboat Springs last year. The city of Steamboat Springs has an affordable housing concession that waives tap fees for qualified homeowners, said Hands on Housing program manager Heidi Nunnikhoven.
"I understand Hayden may not be in the same position as Steamboat ... but there is a need for affordable housing in and around Steamboat, and Hayden will (eventually) be in a position where it doesn't have it," she said.
Hayden's residential water and sewer tap fees are $5,700.
Board members agreed that the town's budget does not justify waiving fees, but that a discount may be possible. However, the board was concerned that allowing a discount without a policy might set precedence for other organizations or developers with similar requests.
During public comment, Realtor Jack Giessinger said it would be hard to compare Hands on Housing to other projects that may claim to be affordable but are missing the mark.
"I think we can truly say this is the most affordable project Hayden will ever see," he said.
Also Thursday, the board approved a motion to select the Felsburg Holt & Ullevig engineering firm to complete the first phase of traffic studies needed to plan road improvements in areas where the town expects growth.
The first phase of studies will analyze traffic effects on Routt County Roads 37 and 53 as well as on Poplar Street. The Hayden 33 Industrial Park is being proposed on C.R. 37 and Crandall Lane.
The initial phases of the proposed Villages at Hayden project will be accessed from Harvest Drive and Poplar Street, as well as from C.R. 53.
The first phase of traffic studies will cost about $12,000. The Town Board agreed to contribute $2,000 to the project, and developers will pay the remaining $10,000.
In other business, the Town Board approved a motion to approve resident Oliver Spencer's request to rezone about 2 acres of land near the base of Golden Meadows subdivision from open to high-density residential.
Spencer may develop the parcel into a duplex-oriented subdivision.
In a letter to the board, resident Beth Miller, who lives near Spencer's land, expressed concern that such a development would worsen traffic at Poplar Street and Harvest Drive while obstructing neighbors' views of open space.
"The only immediate thing we have to concern ourselves with is if it is an appropriate area for high-density residential, and I think it is," board member Joe Schminkey said, adding that the zoning change conformed with the town's comprehensive plan.
Also on Thursday, the Town Board:
n Approved a 10-year agreement allowing Yampa Valley Electric Association to use roads and other property maintained by the town for a fee.
n Tabled a vote on revising a water and sewer tap fee ordinance. The adjustments would affect some aspects of the fees for businesses. The board wanted to give interested residents time to review the revisions.
n Tabled a vote appointing a new member for the Hayden Economic Development Commission. The board wanted more time to get to know applicants Amber Hall, Martha Cannon and Tom Allen.
-- To reach Tamera Manzanares call 871-4204 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org