September 27, 2019
Council Discusses Inclusionary Loophole
On September 24 the consideration of a proposal to meet inclusionary housing requirements with an alternative agreement led to a motion to revise the City’s Inclusionary Housing (IH) ordinance. A developer had asked for the voluntary agreement to move forward with a project at 708-710 Martin Street.
All inclusionary housing voluntary agreements require City Council approval. Originally, the developer wanted to build nine for-rent townhomes on the site, but City staff found that an existing home on the site had historical significance. Then the developer revised the project’s scope to include six townhomes but keep the historic home. The developer asked the Council to approve a voluntary agreement with a reduced payment-in-lieu because of the staff’s requirement regarding the historic home.
According to the Inclusionary Housing ordinance, the payment-in-lieu (PIL) requirement is lower for rental properties than the payment for sale homes. Some members on Council decided this is a loophole. What if the developer applies for a rental project but then sells the property shortly after it is finished, seeing the lower PIL as a way to pay a lower fee? What recourse would the City have?
Staff informed the Council that the City has already considered this and will add a rule concerning to for-rent developments prohibiting their sale for two years. Christensen and Peck advocated for a revision to the ordinance, saying the staff proposal wasn’t adequate. After a lengthy discussion, Council agreed to ask staff revise the ordinance now, rather than waiting to see if other issues arise that require further revisions and avoid what City Attorney Eugene Mei called “serial revisions.” Staff will bring the Council an ordinance to revise IH to include the rental sale restriction in the near future. Expect debate over the duration of the covenant restricting the sale. Some councilors will argue for a lengthy period of time while others would prefer a shorter (2-year) restriction.
Regarding the development proposal, that prompted the debate, Mayor Bagley argued the applicant should not have to pay the PIL on the existing home and made a motion, which passed, to charge the developer a PIL for the six new units alone.
LAR Supports 3B
LAR’s Board of Directors voted to support City of Longmont ballot question 3B which will ask voters to approve a .18 percent sales tax – 18 cents on $100 to fund a new recreation center, including an aquatic center with a 25 yard by 50 meter pool for swimming lessons, lap swimming, water aerobics and competitive swim meets and a separate leisure pool plus a NHL sized ice rink for skating and league hockey.
The plan includes space for a second sheet of ice in the future. In addition, the proposed rec center will include an exercise area with equipment and studio space for classes. Space can be rented for parties and gatherings as well as meeting rooms. The project will cost $45.5M.
The location for this new facility is to be determined. The city has several locations in mind. More information is available here: http://longmontpoolandice.com
Why is this a REALTOR® issue? Adding these amenities in Longmont will improve the quality of life for current residents and encourage new businesses and workers to move here.