Meeker board considers affordable housing project

New housing would be targeted toward location-neutral employees/owners

As part of their ongoing contract with Better City, Meeker’s Board of Trustees heard from Kelby Bosshardt, chief operating officer, about the next steps toward moving ahead with plans for developing affordable housing in Meeker.

Bosshardt said they have been in discussion with local property owners, particularly with interest in the Sanderson Hills area who have expressed interest in the town’s plan to develop properties at a price point of $220,000 to $260,000.

“There seems to be a low percentage of multiple affordable single-family attached homes on smaller lots compared to the rest of the state,” Bosshardt said.

The plan includes potential for townhomes, “twin” homes, and patio homes. Some of those would require rezoning and lot line adjustments.

Previously, the town considered putting townhomes or patio homes on the former hospital property, but were met with opposition from residents.

The new housing would be targeted toward “location-neutral” employees or business owners, and Bosshardt suggested creating incentives for buyers to provide security for developers that the properties will sell. Cities like Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Newton, Iowa, have offered incentive packages for homebuyers that include things like a down payment or closing cost allowance, or a welcome package, (e.g. chamber bucks, prepaid membership to the rec district, discounted outfitting or recreation rentals, prepaid membership at coworking space, prepaid broadband, etc.).

Town attorney Melody Massih asked if there are any Colorado communities that have carried out a similar incentive program. Bosshardt said he would look into it.

Makayla Barton with the county’s economic development department asked how the town would limit the purchase and incentive program to new residents, when there is a waiting list of people looking for homes in this price range.

Before the town can move ahead with a Request for Qualifications, the incentives need to be determined.

Staff updates:

There were 284 calls for the Meeker Police Department in March, two arrests, 12 summons, 49 warnings and nine animals picked up. Chief Phil Stubblefield said the town’s newest officer is “doing well” and should complete training by mid-May. One position remains open and there have been no applications.

Public Works Superintendent Russell Overton said his department purchased a new tool for pulling water lines without digging across the street. “We used it for the first time today,” he said.

Town Clerk Amy Tupy said she’s planning to attend a week-long training in Denver in July.

Town Administrator Lisa Cook introduced Lisa Pakuer as the town’s new administrative assistant.

All departments are “at or under budget” at this point, according to Cook.

The town will put out a Request for Proposal to find a consultant to assist with updating the town’s comprehensive plan, and a Request for Qualifications for contractors to submit plans for the town’s Third Street improvements.

Public hearings:

Approved a special review use permit to Charles and Jennifer Whiteman for the operation of a small retail business at 320 Third Street, formerly the offices for Schmueser Gordon Meyer in Meeker.

Approved a request from the Meeker Arts and Culture Council for four special even liquor license permits this summer.

Awarded the 2019 chip seal project bid to United Companies for $396,640.

By NIKI TURNER

editor@ht1885.com