Currently five percent of the City’s housing is devoted to publicly assisted affordable housing. Fort Collins calculates a home is affordable for owners who pay less than 38 percent of their gross income. For renters, affordability is defined as paying less than 30 percent of their gross income. Residents who make 100 percent of the average median income (AMI) can afford rent of $1,983 a month according to HUD standards. In contrast, a resident making 50 percent of the AMI can afford a monthly rent of $973.
The staff is proposing five goals: 1) Increase the inventory of rental housing; 2) Preserve affordability of existing housing; 3) Increase housing for special needs populations such as seniors; 4) Support affordable homeownership and 5) Refine incentives and expand funding sources.
Mandatory policies such as inclusionary zoning, an employee tax or a commercial linkage fee won’t be included in the plan. Instead, staff is proposing the activation of the City’s land bank, improved incentives and preserving affordable units in exchange for an affordability commitment (deed restrictions?). In addition, the City may pursue construction defect legislation to encourage the construction of more condominiums, just as five other cities have done in the past year. (Longmont is in the process of drafting its own ordinance and Loveland is considering it.)
The City held open house meetings to get input on the proposal. The final plan is scheduled for adoption by the City Council on October 6.