All homes in project could be affordable

Lottery on Wednesday

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With the final construction costs in hand, the Yampa Valley Housing Authority intends to deed restrict and make affordable all 30 units in its Fox Creek Village project.

The housing authority has established two price points for the two-bedroom, two-bathroom townhomes off Hilltop Parkway.

Twenty of the homes will be targeted at those who make 80 percent or less of the area's median income, with an initial sales price of $175,000. Ten of the homes are intended for those who make 80 to 120 percent of the area's median income, and the initial sales price will be set at $190,000.

Housing authority Executive Director Elizabeth Black said the two levels of housing prices largely were driven by the income levels of people who have shown interest in affordable housing. The data showed that 90 percent of the demand for affordable housing was from those at 80 percent of the median income or below.

The group also wanted to offer as many affordable homes as possible.

"There was a strong consensus to go all the way on this," Black said.

On Wednesday, the housing authority will draw names to see who gets the first chance at owning one of the homes. More than 200 people have entered the lottery, which closes Wednesday.

Since May, the housing authority has been working with Drahota Development Company, the lone bidder on the project, to whittle down the costs. The original bid came in at more than $4.7 million, which was too high.

"It was pretty surprising when the initial number came out," Black said.

The cost was attributed to the price of labor, Black said. The housing authority looked for ways to reduce costs, taking out gas fire places and changing interior finishes such as flooring, lighting fixtures and windows.

The housing authority was able to reduce the cost to $4.16 million, which puts the total cost per unit at $195,000. Similar sized units are selling in Steamboat for $240,000 to $280,000.

To meet the $175,000 and $190,000 target prices, the housing authority is asking the city and county to chip in on the project.

"Our goal is to provide affordable housing for as many units as possible. The only way to do this is to get financial help from the city. It really is about how much help the city is willing to give us," YVHA President Kathi Meyer said.

Tonight, the housing authority will ask the Steamboat Springs City Council to waive building, planning review and planning department fees for all 30 units, totaling about $27,000. The authority also is asking for city tap fees to be waived for 20 units, totaling $125,000.

The housing authority also is asking to not pay the county and city's building-use taxes, about $88,000, and the city's excise tax, about $48,000.

The council also will consider extending a $250,000 loan the city gave the housing authority to help purchase the land. The loan was supposed to be repaid by December, but the housing authority is asking to use the money to help cover the construction costs and repay the loan next summer.

The housing authority hopes to get $185,000 worth of down-payment assistance money from the state and a state grant that would put $12,500 toward each of the 20 units in the 80 percent income bracket.

Homes that sell for $175,000 will come with a price restriction on resale. The resale price of the home is limited to a maximum of 3 percent compounded annual increase onto the original sale price.

Black said the number would allow the homes to appreciate in value and keep up with inflation and salaries.

"I think people want to know a cap on value per year. The politicians want to know that, and the Realtors want to know that," Black said.

The homes targeted at those in the 80 percent to 120 percent income bracket do not have price resale restrictions and the deed restrictions are more similar to those in West End Village.

Meyer said the council had urged the housing authority to look at deed restrictions that limited the resale price and it comes with significant subsidies from other governmental sources.

"We felt it was something the City Council has repeatedly asked us to do. In order to keep it in the affordable housing pool forever, we needed to look at restrictions," Meyer said.

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