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It looks like Sept. 4 will be the date of the vote deadline for Salida Crossings. This will be a mail-in ballot. Ballots will be mailed to overseas citizens, including military voters, starting around the middle of July; then, shortly after the first mailing the second mailing will be sent to those who live within the city limits of Salida.

This vote of the citizens of Salida will determine if Salida wants an alternative housing solution for all citizens who live, work and play in Salida. Everything in life does not come for free. Affordable housing comes at a price – 9½ feet of additional height and a density of 1 unit per 1,150 square feet of land.

All of this was endorsed by former councilman Hal Brown, former mayor Jim LiVecchi and many others who now oppose this project. The ex-mayor was chairman of the Salida Housing Task Force that he himself organized to deal with the “housing crisis” in Salida.

The conclusions of the task force were, “Yes, there is a housing problem,” and the solutions that this Task Force suggested were the following:

A2: Negotiate the percentage of workforce housing through the planned development provisions in the municipal code. (Salida Crossings is a planned development.)
B1: Increase density for rental units in R-3, High Density Residential; R-4, Manufactured Housing Residential; and RMU, Residential Mixed Use (We are RMU.)
B4: Increase height for workforce housing. (We increased height.)
B5: Reduce parking requirements for workforce housing. (We actually increased parking.)
B6: Reduce bureaucratic process for multi-family development. (We went through a more rigorous process.)
D1: Delay payment of fees. (We are paying the fees up front.)
D2: Create a fund to pay sewer and water taps, i.e., the Economic Development Fund. (We are paying our fees.)
D3: Pay or waive open space fees. (We are paying all the fees.)
D4: Pay school impact fees. (We are paying the fees.)

Jim LiVecchi, Hal Brown and the rest of the council in October, before they were voted out, praised our project and looked forward to working with our group to bring affordable housing to Salida (joint work session, October 2017, city of Salida YouTube page).

The Salida Housing Task Force, plus the Chaffee County Housing Needs Assessment and Strategy Report, including the Department of Local Affairs Affordable Housing Report (which Jim LiVecchi endorsed on his Livecchi4mayor website), plus several other state and federal reports all point to the same conclusions that Mr. LiVecchi’s task force made.

I know that Mr. LiVecchi wants to be inclusive and have housing for the people who make this mountain paradise a great place to live and visit. The Salida Housing Task Force (chaired by Mr. LiVecchi) depicts what needs to be done. Our group knows what needs to be done. The past administration and the present administration know what needs to be done. So let’s get it done!

I have attended several meetings concerning affordable housing, most of them when Mr. LiVecchi was either the proctor, chair or mayor. He stated time after time the importance of affordable housing and endorsed additional height as a viable condition to bring housing to the city. So I am confused at the statement made in The Mountain Mail by Mr. Livecchi.

“LiVecchi said he does not like the height of the proposed three- and four-story
buildings. ‘They make a mockery of the (city) code,’ he said” (The Mountain Mail, April 20, 2018, front page).

We are following the guidelines that the state, county, federal government and Mr. LiVecchi endorsed.

So once again, we are proud to bring Salida Crossings to Salida. We are proud to let the citizens of Salida decide for themselves if we want affordable housing, alternative housing, workforce housing – I like “inclusive housing” – or whatever you want to call it. This is in your hands, and we will abide by the decision of the voters.

Duane Cozart
Managing Partner, Salida Crossings