Ned needs af­ford­able hous­ing

But neigh­bors aren’t hav­ing any part of plan to build 3-story com­plex.

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By An­thony Hahn

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.”

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