Thank you for the continued coverage regarding the workforce housing issue, your most recent being the June 18 article. The good news is that there are solutions which would make available affordable housing.
Having spent the last year looking for suitable properties within the city limits, plus throughout the county, it is readily obvious that plenty of land for development is available. Several hundred homes could be under construction within a relatively short period of time.
This issue is coming to the forefront in growing communities around the country. Visiting those areas for the past several months and inquiring as to their approach and planning efforts provides some proposals for the new task force commission(s) to possibly consider.
An initial proposal would entail incentives. In the same manner that the local government and city/county agencies provide agriculture, over 65 and major business relocation exemptions, tax rebates as well as a temporary freeze, so could similar potentials be provided to current property owners as inducements for workforce housing development.
For instance, where an already developed 2,500-square-foot residence property owner currently has a lot large enough for an additional one or two 1,000 to 1,2000 square foot country-style or mother-in-law cottage, an incentive to add to the property could carry a tax freeze for 5 to 10 years on the current amount as well as an abatement on the new development.
Permitting along with utility, sewage, etc. implementation could also be spread out for a similar payment duration. Since there would be no additional property cost, a new cottage could add another $100,000 to $150,000 value to the owner’s asset base.
Two hundred of these new homes at the low-end cost would put $20 million into the builder supply coffers with the local sales tax generation being about $1.7 million. Not bad for a first-year effort. Virtually all of the craftsmen salaries would almost immediately remain local.
This density method is being implemented throughout major cities of the northwest states and likely other areas of the country.
As far as undeveloped tracts of land in the city limits as well as some of the developing suburbs of the county, property owners could also be given certain tax incentives which would accrue to their return on investment over a period of time to achieve workforce housing commensurate with the overall need.
Pride of home, pride of home ownership should be a part of the overall concept as this issue continues to be developed. It will take a willingness on the part of the city/county and property owners coming together to address this issue.
Our teachers, first responders, service sector employees, young adults — just getting started, even some elderly, and, I would imagine a few newspaper employees would have even more pride in their community because of these efforts.
There are solutions.