Ned needs affordable housing
But neighbors aren’t having any part of plan to build 3-story complex.
A plan to build a three-story affordable housing complex in the heart of Nederland’s vintage downtown has drawn a rash of outrage from locals concerned with the project’s scale.
The proposal — about 34 permanently-affordable units on less than an acre of space across from the town’s RTD Park-n-Ride — seeks to address the cheap-housing crunch in Boulder County’s mountain towns, according to housing authority officials, who held a community meeting Monday night to gauge public reaction toward such a project.
The tone among Nederland residents, however, has been one of resistance, even while acknowledging the need for affordable housing.
Nederland has just 24 units of affordable housing. More than 400 people are on a Boulder County Housing Authority waiting list.
“I think Nederland definitely needs affordable housing,” said resident Kayla Evans. “But the scope and location of this project is just not the best fit for or as beneficial for the people of Nederland as it should be.”
The development’s early designs call for 21 one-bedroom, 11 two-bedroom and two threebedroom units in a roughly 35foot-tall building.
Evans said she would be more inclined to support the development if it had a business component or “something that generates revenue for the community.”
“We all understand the need for affordable housing in Nederland,” Michael Reichert, who moved to Nederland in December with his wife. “But with the size of the town, the project is just not going to fit in. I’m hoping they can scale it back a little bit so that it’s not as large of an impact on the town utilities and infrastructure.”
As the need for more affordable housing becomes more dire every year throughout Boulder County, officials have just begun to address the need in its western district.
“We understand there’s questions around density on this lot, but we hope to hear from people about what is possible and come to some design and density that will balance the need for affordable housing and what the community wants to see there,” said Jim Williams, spokesman for the county’s Housing and Human Services department.
Officials maintain that if the number of units were reduced to 20 units, for example, rents would rise to $1,400 per month from $854.
“I would fully support an affordable housing project on this site if it was an appropriate size,” said Wendy Williams, who lives across the street from the planned development. She said she served on Nederland’s planning commission until February, when she resigned so she could speak out on the project.
“They are billing this as affordable housing for Nederland,” she said, “but this is just affordable housing for the county in Nederland.”