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At their regular meeting on November 16, the Chaffee Housing Authority (CHA) considered and approved: letters of support for two affordable housing projects, The Crossing and The Flour Mill; benefits packages for employees; posting for a new position, that of Real Estate Projects Manager; and, after a presentation from consultants on how to approach a political survey for a 2024 ballot measure for affordable housing, Resolution 2023-48, approving the commissioning of the survey, as well as a ten-year plan outlining how CHA would spend any funds coming in from such a ballot measure.

Ashley Kappel presented the Executive Director’s report, saying that a great deal of her time lately had been spent in working out the logistics of the CHA’s transition away from being a county department, including the benefits packages. She also said that she had been working on a land-banking application for the Alpine West project, as well as Jane’s Place, and had advocated for the Chaffee County land use Accessory Dwelling Unit amendment, which was tabled.

Kappel then introduced Steven Flaherty and Ryan Winger, representing Magellan Strategies and Summit Information Services. Kappel said that the Ballot Initiative Committee had been meeting and talked to the firm, which has worked with other municipalities recently on housing initiatives, including Vail in 2021 and the Housing Authority in Winter Park in 2022.

“We need to do a political survey to take the temperature of voters [on a ballot initiative to fund housing projects],” Kappel said. “I’ve been putting together a plan for how we would spend the money if the Housing Authority initiative passes.”

“2024 is probably your best year for getting an initiative like this passed,” Flaherty told the CHA Board, “simply because the folks that are going to benefit from affordable housing (e.g., young voters and renters) are more likely to vote.”

Flaherty then discussed sample survey questions. “There are a lot of things you need to get voters to understand – like, are these [housing units] for year-round residents, do you know who the CHA is, what their mission is, what should local government be doing in order to promote affordable housing….how much this is going to cost each homeowner – you need a breakdown of the entire electorate.” He also spoke of the importance of “telling your story” as causing movement between “uninformed” and “informed” votes.

“Do we want to spend $17,000 for them to do this survey?” Kappel asked the Board. After discussion, including the types of initiatives/programs from the 10-year plan – such as land-banking, ADU incentivizing, buying deed restrictions, refurbishing of hotels or industrial projects for housing, and rent subsidies – the CHA voted to approve Resolution 2023-48.

In other business, the Board voted to approve Angela Mokate as Secretary, and to elect officers for 2024 at the December 21 meeting.