by Richard Uhlhorn
At last week’s City Council meeting the City held a Public Hearing for the Chelan Valley Housing Trust who are seeking a partnership with the City to get the infrastructure needed to support the 45 home sub-division adjacent to Anderson Road.
Mike Cooney, executive director of the CVHT, told the Council that the proposed development still needs to secure public water, sewer and power to the site.
The property was donated through an exchange with Seven Acres Foundation who was planning on building its Community Center on the property, but exchanged it for property the Housing Trust has a the Lookout.
The Housing Trust plans on building quality single family homes on the property that are affordable for residents so they will not have to commute from other areas around the region. “We are permitted to build 40 homes… up to 45 homes,” said Cooney. The plan includes five market rate homes to help the Housing Trust to raise funds. These home sites would be free of the Housing Trust’s criteria with the exception of potential covenants for the entire development.
The City’s 2017 Housing Element of its comprehensive plan identified the need for affordable housing within the community. It recognized that one method to accomplish that need would be to partner with a non-profit to get the infrastructure need to support any homes built.
There is a $900,000 Community Block Grant available which the Trust hopes the City would sign on to be the signature agency to obtain it. There is also a $500,000 grant from the State for infrastructure needs.
Not everyone is excited about the proposed development and the City received a number of letters from surrounding residents proposed development because of what they view as potential problems to the surrounding area, one of which they feel would lower their property values.
Other concerns cited included increase traffic, crime, drugs and noise. “I get the angst,” said Cooney. “It’s a rural area and we would be bringing homes to that area.”
Erin McCardle said she wants a more in-depth look at the American Recovery Plan. “There is a lot of money set aside for infrastructure.” Cooney replied that the Trust would like to be a part of what government money the City receives. McCardle added that there are lots of opportunities for grants and that she doesn’t want to miss out on any opportunity.
Mayor Goedde stated that the City needs to hire a grant writer. Peter Jamtgaard asked how much matching funds would be required. Rachel Golde, executive assistant, stated that matching funds would be required. Jamtgaard said, “We’ve got some windfall money that could be used.”
Golde said that no number has been written down and she has no idea of how much matching funds would add up to.
Cooney said he clearly understands that development pays for development, but that other cities have helped with needed infrastructure for affordable housing. “We would like to have a reasonable discussion on the subject,” he said.
Ty Witt added that the City brings infrastructure to developments. “Our real goal is to help with affordable, attainable housing. Cooney replied that the PUD is considering a way to come up with hookups.
John Olson stated that he is totally behind the Housing Trust on this project. Hollingsworth said the Community Development Block Grant would provide the public to have input into the project.
Planning Director Craig Gildroy told the Council that a sub-division has not yet been applied for. “Once that is done, there will be another public hearing.”