RE-Take: Town and County’s Vote Delivers a Setback for Workforce Housing

A lack of affordable housing continues to be the biggest issue plaguing the valley. Many residents seem to be in agreement that one answer to that problem is creating workforce and affordable units through the valley’s…

by | Jul 25, 2019 | Housing, News, Politics & Policy

A lack of affordable housing continues to be the biggest issue plaguing the valley. Many residents seem to be in agreement that one answer to that problem is creating workforce and affordable units through the valley’s affordable housing program.

But, as the Housing Authority puts more units into the ground and entertains additional projects, some residents are saying, “Not in my backyard.” Case in point: a proposal for a 16-unit workforce housing development on West Kelly.

In recent weeks, elected officials heard from neighbors who opposed the plan. They said the project would “destroy” the neighboorhood, that the units did not align with the neighborhood’s character. They also worried about the amount of traffic that residents in those prospective 16 units could create.

That divided elected officials. On Tuesday, the town and county’s votes canceled each other out with the town passing the measure 3-2 and the county rejecting it 3-2. On the town side, Mayor Pete Muldoon and Councilors Hailey Morton-Levinson and Arne Jorgensen voted in favor of the plan. Councilors Jim Stanford and Jonathan Schechter rejected it. On the county side, Commissioners Natalia Macker and Mark Newcomb approved the measure and Commissioners Luther Propst, Mark Barron and Greg Epstein voted it down.

In some ways, that failing vote was surprising. For one thing, Housing Authority Director April Norton said the area has “long been identified for redevelopment for workforce housing.”

To discuss the implications of this vote, Norton joins us in the studio.

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