Published in the October 27, 2016, edition of the Lyons Recorder.
COMMENTARY: What’s the future of affordable housing in Lyons?
ADU policy continued to Nov. 14
by Amy Reinholds
The town attorney had not yet reviewed proposed code changes on Monday, Oct. 24, so the Lyons Planning and Community Development Commission (PCDC) continued the public hearing for changes to Town of Lyons code about accessory dwelling units to its next regular meeting on Nov. 14.
Do you think accessory dwelling units (ADUs), also called mother-in-law apartments or carriage houses, on single-family residential lots in town limits will help more employees of Lyons businesses afford to live here? Earlier this year, the Lyons Board of Trustees directed the PCDC to work with the Lyons Utilities and Engineering Board to look at tools for encouraging increasing affordable housing that were listed in the April 2016 Affordable Housing Ordinance, including reducing or waiving tap fees for ADUs. A current Town of Lyons ADU policy has been in place for more than two years, but no one has requested a permit.
The PCDC is proposing changes in Town of Lyons code including allowing ADUs on single-family home lots to share tap fees with the primary house (saving property owners utility connection fees, approximately $15,000-$16,000). The proposed changes would also require owner occupancy in either the main house or the ADU and would require longer-term rentals of 30 days or longer.
After the Nov. 14 PCDC public hearing, if the commissioners pass a resolution to bring the proposed changes to the Board of Trustees, there will be two other opportunities to comment on proposed changed town policies for ADUs within the town limits of Lyons. The recommendations go to the Trustees for first and final readings, both with public hearings. The next two meetings of the Board of Trustees after the PCDC public hearing will be Nov. 21 and Dec. 5. Board of Trustees meetings start at 7 p.m. at Lyons Town Hall, but you will want to check the agendas at www.townoflyons.com/calendar.aspx to for the public hearings.
There is direction for ADUs in two documents that the PCDC, Trustees, and Town Staff are guided by. Housing Strategy 1.1.1 in the 2010 Lyons Comprehensive Plan is “Review and revise Lyons’ Land Use Code as necessary to promote: mixed-use buildings such as live/work units near downtown, accessory dwelling units such as mother-in-law apartments and caretaker residences, and a variety of lot sizes and types of homes in all residential districts.” Also, Housing goal 1.3.1 in the Lyons Recovery Action Plan includes housing that is affordable based on size or square footage.
For a history of post-flood efforts for affordable housing in Lyons, you can read previous columns posted on my blog at https://lyonscoloradonews.wordpress.com. All town meetings of the elected Lyons Board of Trustees and appointed town boards and commissions are open to the public and are supposed to be posted on the town calendar . If you have any questions, comments, or complaints about this column, please contact me directly at areinholds @hotmail.com.
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 served as a liaison to the Special Housing Committee from 2015-2016. She has lived in Lyons since 2003 and in the surrounding Lyons area since 1995.