Chaffee Housing Authority holds brief meeting
In a Special Meeting held virtually on May 2, the Chaffee Housing Authority (CHA) took no official actions, using the one-hour session instead to address matters left unfinished from their regular April 20 meeting.
Ashley Kappel was in attendance in the CHA office, having resigned that day her previous role as an At-Large Director and Chair of the Development Committee. Also present in the CHA office was Mike Bischoff, CHA Deputy Director and guests Andi Bruno representing an area senior housing steering committee and “Salty” Riggs, co-founder of the BETCH housing advocacy group.
CHA Board Chair Craig Nielson led off the meeting stating that polling for board role training/scheduling was underway and that they will utilize the services of Michael Hannigan (retired, founding Executive Director of the Chaffee County Community Foundation) for this. Nielson then welcomed Ashley Kappel in her first meeting as the newly appointed CHA Executive Director.
Ballot Issue 6A Post Mortem Discussion Continues
Director Micha Rosenoer summarized a memo that attempts to capture the lessons learned from the failed county ballot issue 6A. It sought to fund the CHA via a a 3.5 mills property tax increase.
While asking for additional input from the board, Rosenoer did cite such factors as: funding for and need for at least 12-months lead-time to support an initiative; missing stakeholder input; the need to clearly define these roles: who consults, who decides, and who vetoes; as well as a need to reach out to other multijurisdictional housing authorities who have been successful in ballot issues for funding.
Jane’s Place Update
Ashley Kappel provided a brief update on the Jane’s Place Adaptive Housing project which celebrated the completion of its phase one milestone. The site is ready for construction and the CHA is awaiting word yet this month on Department of Housing (DOH) grants, as well as local bank funding.
The financial proforma is being closely reviewed with an open question on rental income from the commercial space. A press release update on next steps for the Jane’s Place project is expected soon.
SB23-213 Presentation on wide-ranging land use bill targeting housing affordability
Kappel and Riggs provided a brief update on this bill which is moving through the Colorado Legislature with amendments and reversals in its text almost daily. Supported by housing advocacy and conservation groups it is strongly opposed by the Colorado Municipal League (CML) and many of its member cities and towns.
According to the CML: “The introduced bill dramatically would have expanded state authority by imposing top-down zoning and land use standards on municipalities and put those decisions into the hands of developer interests and unelected third parties. As passed by the Senate, the bill maintains burdensome unfunded mandates and encroachments on local control. SB23-213 does not recognize that local governments are best suited to address the needs of their communities, and it flies in the face of local government efforts to solve the affordable housing crisis.”
While the CHA has not taken a position on this bill, “there is a host of things the matter with this bill”, said Salida City Administrator and CHA alternate member Drew Nelson. Beyond the speed with which it is being pushed though, municipalities outside the Front Range have been ignored and “the City has been shut out of the process”, said Nelson, adding they had to contact the State to remind them of local needs.
It remains to be seen if this bill will make it forward in the session that ends tomorrow, May 6, let alone in what final form.
Proposition 123 Implementation
Deputy County Administrator Beth Helmke walked through a discussion on Proposition 123 which was approved by voters last November. Working through the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA), Prop 123 seeks to award several hundred million dollars across the state for affordable housing in the second half of 2023 to be granted or loaned to the following types of organizations:
- Community land trusts
- Private entities
- Local government
As always, there are aggressive goals for increases in affordable housing units to be met for eligibility, deadlines to hit, and typical amounts of paperwork for monitoring and reporting, in return for the funding. Nelson said that the City of Salida may opt-in to the program but is also aware of the administrative burden and concerned about what happens if funding dries up during lean economic times.
Chaffee Housing Trust (CHT) Executive Director Read McCulloch expressed the need for collaboration between the CHA, CHT, the City of Salida, and others on this program.
Safe Outdoor Spaces (SOS) and South Ark Neighborhood Updates
Rounding out the meeting, Riggs said that the SOS camping spaces at Centennial Park would reopen for this season, though organizers are expecting only a handful of occupants. She said that for the program to continue beyond that there would need to be an ask of the CHA to take over the administration and hosting from the current volunteer team.
The South Ark Neighborhood Master Planning process is continuing with one to two final concepts to be selected and presented over the next few months for public and municipal input, ending in city council action. “It has major potential; 250-400 units,” said Salida City Administrator Nelson.
Executive Session Cancelled
A previously scheduled executive session to discuss a Conflict of Interest Memorandum was withdrawn from the agenda after board members indicated they would read the draft and respond with email comments to Board Chair Nielson.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:34 p.m.