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Published in the July 23, 2015, edition of the Lyons Recorder. 

COMMENTARY: What’s the future of affordable housing in Lyons?

No new committee news this week

by Amy Reinholds

Nothing new happened with the special housing committee in the past week. On Monday, July 20, trustee Dawn Weller gave a report on behalf of chair Justin Spencer. She reported the change in meeting times that was decided last week: The special housing committee is meeting on 2nd and 4th Wednesdays at 5:30-6:30 p.m. at the Town Hall annex behind the Barking Dog Cafe. Then, every week when there is not a Wednesday meeting, the special housing committee working session is held on Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. at the Lyons Valley Village Community House. Weller, the Board of Trustees liaison to the special housing committee, also reported that the committee is still working on forming a subcommittee to work with the Utilities and Engineering Board to help shape a recommendation for a policy for waiving tap fees for affordable housing.

However, the Board of Trustees did vote on an issue on Monday that might interest members of the community who have been saying that new housing could be built on the former City of Longmont water treatment sites east of town. The trustees approved a resolution approving a contract with the City of Longmont to purchase 9.88 acres of the former water treatment plant on the condition that the Town of Lyons is granted funds from the third round Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR), expected in 4th quarter 2015. Town Administrator Victoria Simonsen reported that the town received a U.S. Economic Development Administration grant to bring sewer and water lines out to that area of Ute Highway (Highway 66) east of Highway 36.

The former Longmont water treatment land is on both the north and south sides of Highway 66. The town has discussed this purchase from Longmont as far back as 2012 and 2013, interested in economic development opportunities on the eastern corridor. The trustees and staff did not discuss housing on these parcels Monday night, although past discussions showed a support from trustees for housing on commercial property, if it was mixed-use development of residential combined with commercial/ business. Simonsen said at the Monday meeting that a Colorado Heritage Award will fund planning the eastern corridor (in addition to Apple Valley and South St. Vrain Road neighborhoods in the Lyons planning area), so the public will be involved in the planning process for this part of the eastern corridor. No members of the public spoke during the public comment period for this agenda item on Monday. However, trustees and staff said that members of the public will have multiple chances to give input in the future. The Longmont City Council also must vote on the contract. Then, if approved by Longmont, both municipalities still must wait to find out if the CDBG-DR funds are awarded.

The next meeting of the special housing committee is a working meeting at 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 30, at the Lyons Valley Village Community House. The next special housing committee regular meeting at the Town Hall annex is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 12. All housing committee meetings are open to the public and published on the Town of Lyons calendar at http://www.townoflyons.com/calendar. The committee has shrunk down to only 4 current members, and at the last meeting on July 16, only three members attended: Spencer, Martin Soosloff, and Wendy Miller. Since the special housing committee was created in April, Craig Ferguson, Tom Delker, and Tom Lamz have each resigned from the committee, and Nate Mohatt has not attended any meetings since June 18.

Keep following my columns in both Lyons papers for updates about what has and has not been accomplished. For background on the special housing committee and to read previous weeks’ columns, see http://www.lyonsrecorder.com/index.php/lyons-chatter/6026-what-s-the-future-for-affordable-housing-in-lyons.

 

Amy Reinholds served on the Lyons Housing Recovery Task Force from December 2013 through its end in February 2015. She is currently a member of the Lyons Human Services and Aging Commission and serves as a liaison to the special housing committee. She has lived in Lyons for 11 years and in the surrounding Lyons area since 1995.

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