Silverton officials are moving forward with a Department of Local Affairs grant application that will allow the town to build 10 affordable housing units on land purchased through a previous DOLA grant in 2022.
A special meeting was held on Jan. 30 by town trustees to discuss the application for the DOLA Transformational Housing Grant, which recently became available after the passing of the Colorado Grants for Investments in Affordable Housing bill last year.
Concerns were raised by town trustees as to how much the purchase for the housing units would take from the town’s general funds. Trustee Dayna Kranker estimated that if the town were to sell the units at below-market rates around $150,000 a piece, it would make its money back after the sale of at least nine of the units.
Housing coordinator and municipal judge Anthony Edwards, however, argued that the units would not be sold at a set price, but rather a deal worked out with the individual buyer based on the their median income.
“In the ideal situation, we would have by this summer – assuming that we’re rewarded (the grant) and we’re building the foundations and excavating the water and sewer and everything – we would be having individuals already financed and closing dates set,” Edwards said in the meeting. “We would have scenarios on what the price and range would be.”
Edwards clarified that the purchasers’ AMI would determine the price and range of the units, and AMI’s always vary based on family size.
“We’re doing a priority list right now,” he said. “If we have a priority of 10 families, and they’re going to be in different AMIs, we’ll look at what those different families can offer or what they can qualify for.”
Edwards also clarified the units would be deed-restricted, a common mechanism attached to the purchase of affordable housing units with reduced, below-market level prices. The restrictions attached to the property’s deed would limit subsequent sales of the unit to eligible buyers at an affordable price, safeguarding the long-term value of Silverton’s initial investment in affordable homeownership.
The actual construction of the 10 units is part of Phase 3 of Silverton’s long-term affordable housing project, which began in 2019 with the construction of the Anvil Mountain Subdivision, affordable housing units on San Juan County land just outside town limits. The next phase of the project was to purchase 1.2 acres of land owned by local brothers George and Earnest Zanoni. The land is contiguous with the county land Anvil Mountain sits on, and town officials hope to eventually absorb the property into the town limits, according to Town Administrator Gloria Kaasch-Buerger in a previous interview with The Durango Herald.
All town trustees were in attendance at the Jan. 30 meeting, and all voted to unanimously apply for the DOLA housing grant and the authorization of a $439,162 expenditure for the purpose of a down payment and build deposit with Colorado Building Systems.
Trustee Jeff Davis asked Edwards and Town Manager Gloria Kaasch-Buerger if the expenditure was within the town’s budget.
“That expenditure would not be a direct expenditure out of the town budget right now,” Edwards said.
“When we potentially do get the grant, we would enter into a lease-purchase agreement,” Kaasch-Buerger said. “I feel totally comfortable with it because it would be a short-term lease purchase and would be paid back to the town. I don’t see us being out of any money for long.”