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RANGELY I Community officials have long been concerned with the affordability and availability of housing, whether for rent or for purchase. In 2010 Rio Blanco County (RBC) presented us with the Housing Needs Assessment study, which many of us participated in its development. The data that was presented in the study indicated that 53 percent of those who responded to the housing survey said “affordable housing is needed in Rio Blanco County” and 20 percent said “Rio Blanco County should take aggressive action to provide housing that is affordable.” This data was generated from 2,689 surveys sent to every household in RBC with an 18.8 percent response.
At the time, the study determined that most families looking for a home for their family wanted to live in a single family accommodation. A three-person family with medium household income (MHI) in the $40,000-$55,000 range, it was determined, could tolerate rents in the range of $1,000–1,175 per month. It has since been determined that supplying single family rentals with these target rents is extremely difficult to achieve, especially when you factor in square footage, design, permits, utility extensions and infrastructure costs along with financing costs.
As part of an answer to the RBC findings representatives of the Town of Rangely, First National Bank of the Rockies, the Rangely Development Agency (RDA) and Senergy Builders met June 27 for a ground-breaking ceremony to recognize the execution of an agreement between the Town of Rangely and Senergy Builders for the development and construction of three duplex units. The focus of the agreement is to support housing a labor force with an MHI of approximately $40,000-$55,000 by offering workforce housing rentals with single-family characteristics on the west side of Rangely. The RDA board developed the workforce housing concept in cooperation with the owners of Senergy Builders after evaluating our housing market needs within Rangely.
The agreement between Senergy Builders and the Town of Rangely stipulates that starting rents for a three-bedroom ranch with 1,139 sq.ft and a single car garage will be $905/month and for a three-bedroom two-story with 1,465 sq.ft. and a single car garage will rent for $1,010/month. The rents will be held within a defined range over a five year period to help Rangely alleviate part of its rental housing shortfall for workers moving into our community with an MHI cited above.
In order to achieve these rents for a period of five years, the town’s board of trustees approved the use of $120,000 from the RDA fund with a no interest loan to Senergy to be repaid at the end of five years, and which is tied to the property through a deed of trust. The money will offset part of the initial overall construction and development costs for the three duplex units valued at $915,000. At the conclusion of the five year period, Senergy Builders will then have the option to sell the units or continue to rent the six units.
The town trustees went through a public hearing process and adoption of a resolution prior to the approval of the agreement with Senergy. It is the hope of the council, the RDA and all involved that this project will demonstrate the town’s commitment to growth by helping families find good affordable single family housing rentals as they work to relocate to our community.