Fraser passes new land policy to support workforce housing
Fraser is ramping up its pursuit of land that can be utilized for affordable housing, hoping to expedite efforts to address the local crisis.
On Wednesday, the town board approved a land acquisition policy that will allow the town manager to make an offer on properties that meet certain criteria with the intent of creating workforce housing.
Properties must be within town limits or reasonable proximity for annexation and be within reasonable proximity to the town’s water and sewer infrastructure. Any offers made by the town manager would be subject to final approval of the trustees.
Town Manager Ed Cannon explained that approving the policy would speed up the town’s ability to act when a property is put up for sale.
“It would allow us to move quickly as properties become available or maybe take advantage of some strategic opportunities,” Cannon said.
Trustee Brian Cerkvenik was enthusiastic about the policy helping the town be more competitive in the real estate market.
“I think we’ve missed out on some properties already just because we couldn’t move fast enough and this is a zero risk policy,” he said. “(Cannon) can go out and make an offer and we can turn it down if we want to.”
Cannon also gave a few guidelines he plans to use when looking at properties to provide reasonable opportunities to the town.
“A guiding rule of thumb I’ll be operating under is that we’re looking for land that can accommodate up to about six affordable housing units,” Cannon said. “We’re also trying to find land along the target range of $75,000 per unit it can accommodate.”
Trustees were unanimously supportive of the policy, though some proposed tweaks to the guidelines.
Trustee Kaydee Fisher lobbied for more lenient guidelines when it comes to the number of units on the lot as long as the town could chip away at its housing crisis.
“You eat an elephant one bite at a time, right?” she said. “As long as the percentages work out to still around $75,000 per unit, I don’t see why we wouldn’t go after some of the smaller lots and just put a smaller housing unit on it.”
Cannon said he’s still watching out for smaller properties, but that large parcels are also in the mix.
“There are 30, 40, 140 acre tracts of land that we’re exploring, so we’ve got a wide range of possibilities,” he said.
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