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Published in the Oct. 19 Redstone Review
COMMENTARY: What’s the fix for affordable housing in Lyons?

Upcoming events related to affordable housing

By Amy Reinholds
Redstone Review

LYONS – Do you still care about affordable housing in Lyons? Several events in October give you the chance to participate in planning or to get your hands dirty now help rebuilding in the confluence. Get off the couch and make a difference!

Are you curious whether affordable housing is feasible in planning areas on the outskirts of Lyons?

Attend a final presentation on Thursday, 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. 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.

This meeting includes a recap and synthesis of all three areas discussed in previous meetings this summer and fall. 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.

Here are 5 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 to make decisions when presented with petitions for annexation. With the 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 Oct 20 meeting, contact Matt Manley, mmanley@townoflyons.com, and review information at http://www.townoflyons.com/441/Lyons-Primary-Planning-Area-Master-Plan.

Do you think accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in town limits will help more employees of Lyons businesses afford to live here?

You can speak at a Monday, 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 residential 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.

Do you want to help rebuilding efforts in the confluence with Habitat for Humanity?

Habitat for Humanity of the St. Vrain Valley is leading volunteer crews on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays through October on a Habitat ReBuild project on Mark Bray’s home in the confluence neighborhood. The foundation and home have been raised above the flood plain, and volunteers are reconstructing and finishing the first floor of the home. No experience or tools are necessary, and volunteers will be trained on construction tasks on site. Habitat asks people to register ahead of time at www.stvrainhabitat.org/flood-repair-volunteer-opportunities so that they have enough materials and supervision so that everyone can be productive. The work day is 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., with about an hour for lunch. Everyone must be present for a mandatory safety orientation at the start of the day. If you have questions or prefer to register by phone or email, contact 303-682-2485 x 102 or volunteer@stvrainhabitat.org.

The closing for Habitat for Humanity of the St. Vrain Valley to purchase 6 residential lots at 2nd and Park could be completed by the end of October.

Keep following my columns in both Lyons papers for news about accomplishments to increase affordable housing stock in Lyons after the 2013 floods. For history of post-flood efforts for affordable housing in Lyons, you can read previous columns posted on my blog at lyonscoloradonews.wordpress.com. All town meetings of the elected Lyons Board of Trustees and appointed, volunteer town boards and commissions are open to the public and supposed to be posted on the town calendar. If you have any questions, comments, or complaints about this column, 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 during its existence from April 2015-April 2016. She has lived in Lyons since 2003 and in the surrounding Lyons area since 1995.