What government strategies and policies do you believe can address Flagstaff’s high cost of living and unaffordability?
Rental prices in Flagstaff have increased 9-10% per year for the last three years. The current council set the record for highest inflation in the rental market in Flagstaff’s history. The City has a ten-year old Incentive Policy for Affordable Housing, which was adopted to incentivize private developers to build affordable housing. What we know is that this policy is not working, and that it should be overhauled. For some reason, the Council has not addressed this problem. We also need to attain and maintain good, strong relationships with the state legislature and federal government to secure outside funding and change restrictive laws that override local control. One state law that really negatively impacts how cities can address the shortage of affordable housing is the law that prohibits cities and towns from passing ordinances that require developers to include affordable housing new developments (inclusionary zoning). Repealing this law would make a huge difference in our efforts to address the affordable housing problem.
I’ll be honest in that I have become discouraged in my attempts to address the affordability of housing. In my first year on the Council, we received a report from ECONA that we were 5000 units of housing short for a healthy community. The cost of land and the cost of fees the City charges and costs in general keep increasing, that makes it almost impossible in addressing affordability. I’m open to government in having a role in bringing housing to our residents and I’m working on that right now with a redevelopment of City owned and managed housing that will increase supply.
I will continue to work to make Flagstaff a place that everyone can afford to live and prosper. It is time that our community commits to supporting and growing our current housing programs and create new ones. We find solutions in rapid housing programs, retrofitting existing low-income housing to increase density, increase inventory of housing, decrease rent by increasing inventory, use tax credits to build, increase rental assistance and focusing CDBG funding on housing. Looking at the use of development fees for parks and recreation and reallocating a percentage of BBB funds for housing (that would take a community conversation).
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