Wednesday, December 03, 2008

AFFORDABLE HOUSING??? The Durango City Council has adopted our first official affordable housing policy by passing the Fair Share Housing inclusionary-zoning regulation. The policy will be added to the Land Use and Development Code, and requires builders to provide a percentage of affordable units or pay a fee in lieu for each new development of more than 2 units. Under the amendment 16 percent of homes in new developments would have to be priced as affordable or attainable under a four-tiered income and pricing structure formulated by the Regional Housing Alliance of La Plata County.

No one disagrees that the Durango area is in need of more housing that is affordable for our citizens. But who is going to pick up the tab for the price reduction on the units or the fees in lieu. Simply put - the buyers of the other units in the development. Builders will pass on the costs and prices will escalate.

The solution to affordable housing does not lie within the city limits of Durango. Land is too expensive. Affordable development must happen in non-incorporated areas of the county. But that would be "urban sprawl" and good luck with county planners.

The bright side is maybe the situation will solve itself. The way the national economy is looking, we're likely to have plenty of cheap housing.