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Published in the October 13, 2016, edition of the Lyons Recorder. Similar columns were also published in the Oct. 19 Redstone Review and the Oct. 20 Lyons Recorder.

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

Don’t miss upcoming meetings Oct. 24 and Oct. 20 

by Amy Reinholds

Do you think accessory dwelling units (ADUs) on single-family residential lots in town limits will help more employees of Lyons businesses afford to live here? The public hearing originally scheduled for Oct. 10 was postponed to Oct. 24.

You can speak at an Oct. 24, public hearing of the Planning and Community Development Commission (PCDC). The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at Lyons Town Hall. The PCDC is proposing changes in Town of Lyons code including allowing ADUs, also called mother-in-law apartments or carriage houses, 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. There are also two other opportunities to comment on proposed changed town policies for ADUs within the town limits of Lyons: public hearings scheduled before the Board of Trustees on Nov. 7 (first reading) and Nov. 21 (final reading). 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 determine a start time for the public hearings.

Are you curious whether affordable housing is feasible in planning areas on the outskirts of Lyons, if landowners annex in the future?

Make sure to attend a final presentation on Oct. 20 about what types of land use could be available in the future for any landowners in the Primary Planning Area who want to annex to Town of Lyons.

A wrap-up meeting of the Lyons Primary Planning Area Master Plan will summarize what kinds of land use neighbors in the Eastern Corridor, South St. Vrain, and Apple Valley areas want to see, and what physical, environmental, financial, and other constraints exist. On next Thursday, Oct. 20, an open house is from 4:30-5:30 p.m. and a formal presentation is from 5:30-7:30 p.m., both at Rogers Hall, 408 High St. The Primary Planning Area was previously agreed upon by the Town of Lyons and Boulder County as areas of Boulder County on the outskirts of town that would be allowed to request annexing into Lyons.

For people who didn’t come to meetings for sub-areas this summer and fall, next Thursday’s meeting will be a recap and synthesis of all three areas. There will be new illustrations, and the plan’s recommendations for the entire Primary Planning area will be unveiled. This meeting is the last opportunity before the plan is submitted to Town of Lyons officials to give feedback to the creators of the plan.

For people who came to previous meetings, there will still be plenty of new information. Past meetings focused on pulling input from property owners in the specific sub-areas (Eastern Corridor, South St. Vrain, and Apple Valley), but there was not as much participation from residents of the town at large. Next Thursday’s meeting is a better opportunity for everyone in town to participate.

Five things you might not know about the Lyons Primary Planning Area Master Plan:

  1. Annexations are done by the property owners who petition to annex to the town. The Town of Lyons does not annex property itself unless it owns the property.
  2. The master plan is an opportunity for public engagement and sharing information in two directions: consultants bring analysis and expertise and inform the public about what is possible and feasible, and the public, including residents of the Primary Planning Area or other parts of town, and Town of Lyons staff, bring local knowledge of what is feasible and reasonable for the community.
  3. The master plan is an opportunity to look for locations for post-flood replacement housing that is affordable and attainable for people who work in town.
  4. The master plan is an opportunity to look for areas for commercial development to help economic growth in Lyons.
  5. The master plan will guide Town of Lyons decision makers, including the Board of Trustees, on how they should make decisions when presented with a petition for annexation. With Lyons Primary Planning Area master plan in place, current and future town leaders will know what appropriate land uses are when landowners petition to annex land into the Town of Lyons.

For more information about the Lyons Primary Planning Area Master Plan and next Thursday’s meeting, contact Matt Manley, mmanley@townoflyons.com and review information at http://www.townoflyons.com/441/Lyons-Primary-Planning-Area-Master-Plan.

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 at www.townoflyons.com/calendar.aspx. 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.

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