*An update on changes to the affordable housing project mentioned in our last post.
On Friday, July 7th, at a special meeting, the City Council decided to remove the Schultz Pass property from the project and replace it with a newly-introduced city-owned property at Butler and Lone Tree (the Elden Parcel).
A lengthy presentation about all the possible parcels owned by the City provided one additional parcel that could be included in the RFP. This parcel, the Elden Parcel, was intended to support affordable housing. Staff’s thinking on this parcel was that it could best support affordable housing by being developed as commercial property (consistent with its current zoning) to raise money to purchase other parcels. That said, the parcel was available (with a zoning change) as an affordable housing site.
After extensive public comment, several council members seemed conflicted by the decision before them. Ultimately, Councilmembers McCarthy and Odegaard did not change their views, and requested to add the Elden parcel and remove the Schultz Parcel.
Councilmembers Barotz and Whelan were strong in their decision to move forward with all four parcels, and Mayor Evans wanted to move forward with all four parcels as well, but was eventually swayed by Councilmember Overton, who took a pragmatic view on the issue. Councilmember Putzova left the meeting before it concluded so she was not present to weigh in.
Councilmember Overton was concerned about the viability of the entire project given the strong community opposition to the Schultz Pass property and the number of restrictions placed on it. He was concerned that the inclusion of Schultz Pass might lead to proposals from the developers that didn’t meet our standards which might stop the entire project.
The Mayor eventually decided that if Councilmember Overton was correct, it wouldn’t be worth it to continue to fight for the Schultz Pass piece if it was going to jeopardize the entire project. However, she made it very clear that she was not happy that it had to be this way, and was “very disappointed in this community” for placing open space as a priority over housing and putting Council into a difficult bind.
This is just the first step in the Council’s audacious plan to increase the affordable housing stock dramatically in our City. We are disappointed that the Schultz property was removed as we wanted developers to have as many options as possible to create an effective proposal and want all properties dedicated to affordable housing to make the greatest contribution as possible. And, we appreciate that community members voiced their desire not to develop this parcel.
F3 is committed for the long term to support efforts to increase the affordable housing stock in our city. We are hopeful that the community members who opposed inclusion of the Schultz property will make good on their repeated assertions that they “support affordable housing” by continuing to be part of the conversation about this issue into the future.