Durango, CO: A multitude of public-private housing partnerships were discussed at the regular City Council meeting on Tuesday, including a pending grant application by the city for $1.5 million from the state Department of Local Affairs to aide with some creative housing solutions for the proposed Three Springs Village Two development.
“Public-private partnerships are not simple,” said Community Development Director Scott Shine. “They’re not always straightforward, and terms need to be customized. There is a lot of negotiation back and forth, but our team is very passionate about seeing these come to fruition.”
If awarded the $1.5 million grant from DOLA, community development and its partners plan to use some of the funding to maximize mixed-income housing in Three Springs by potentially adding a 10-to 15-acre development that could provide as many as 270 more units in the area. To retain long-term affordability for the proposed Three Springs Village Two area, the city’s development advisors suggest potentially adopting a land trust model and other land banking-practices.
“The creativity that city staff and its partners have shown makes me feel lucky to have that partnership,” said councilor Jessika Buell.
In other action detailed on the agenda for the regular meeting:
• SNOW REMOVAL: Council thanked its street crews for their hard work in January, clearing more than 1,000 truckloads of snow from city streets. City Manager José Madrigal said that Durango’s small crew of snowplows clear as many lane miles as Grand Junction. “They’ve been working around the clock for the past four weeks now, taking care of over 36 inches of accumulated snowfall,” said Madrigal. “When you look at the city service offerings, I don’t think it gets more critical than what their work does to keep our roads open for first responders, allowing people to go to work, allowing businesses to stay open, and allowing our youth to go to school.”
• FIRE DISTRICT: Durango Fire Protection District Chief Hal Doughty presented a proposed increase in building fees to mitigate the cost of capital facilities needed to accommodate future growth. The additional fees of $1,317 per new residential unit and $2.321 per square foot of a non-residential unit would be implemented under a tiered schedule and are not calculated to remedy any deficiency in capital facilities that currently exist. Council would need to approve the proposed fees at a later meeting.
• HOUSING: City staff, and partner Daake Development Advisors, identified that this is an opportune time to attempt leverage state and federal funding to put toward workforce and affordable housing and infrastructure, specifically Proposition 123 and House Bill 1271. Daake’s recommendations for the next steps for the Three Springs Village Two development included focusing on “missing middle,” housing; a range of building types with multiple units that are compatible in scale and form with detached single-family homes. Council also heard from staff and its partners of the proposed Durango Crossing development along Florida Road, which could see a mix of privately owned and city owned land to create at least 130 units on 7.7 acres of land. Because of the possible city partnership, the development would have a minimum of half its units priced below the market rate. “I’m very supportive of using city-owned parcels to stimulate 'missing middle' development,” said councilor Kim Baxter. “We’re not ignoring any section of our diverse housing populace, and I think it’s critically important that we have diverse multi-generational housing types.”
A recording of the meeting is available on Youtube.
During the Study Session held before the regular meeting:
• 211 COLLEGE DRIVE: Council was scheduled to interview the two highest scoring proposals for a conceptual public-private partnership at 211 West College Drive. The land is owned by the city but currently leased to the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. The two highest scoring proposals were from Reynolds Ash Associates and the Durango Arts, Conferences and Events Center. However, council was only able to hear from the Durango Arts, Conferences and Events Center due to Reynolds Ash Associates bringing a different proposal than previously submitted to the interview. Council decided to postpone its interview with Reynolds Ash Associates until an equitable solution could be found for other submitted proposals.
• BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS: Council was presented a review by staff of the various city boards and commissions in an effort to reduce redundancy and increase efficiency. Currently the city has 23 boards and commissions with 123 members, which are estimated to need 5,500 staff hours annually. Staff proposed to council cutting down the boards and commissions to 15 that encompass 78 members. This would save nearly 4,000 staff hours each year and approximately $228,000. Councilor hours required to act as liaisons, prepare for meetings and interview candidates would also potentially decrease from an estimated 429 each year to 83. Boards that might be consolidated include the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, Natural Lands Advisory Board, Multimodal Advisory Board, Infrastructure Advisory Board, and Strategy and Long-Term Finance Advisory Board. A new Financial Advisory Board was also proposed. Staff was given the direction of council to begin figuring the consolidation process. No decisions were made, and more conversations on consolidation of boards and commissions will be held in the future.
A recording of the meeting is available on Youtube.
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