The Durango Telegraph continues
its coverage of the race for city council this week by posing
a question to the six candidates on affordable housing. Next
week, we will conclude with a final installment of “Meet
the Candidates.” The mail-in ballots are due by April
With local real estate prices skyrocketing
and land at a premium, what do you see as the council’s
role in affordable housing? How would you propose to keep Durango
from outpricing its working class?
Name: James Sloan, 38
Occupation: Corrections case manager
“Encouraging the provision of affordable housing is a
proper and laudable goal for the council. The council can enact
regulations requiring high-density residential annexations as
well as relatively high-density infilling. This will increase
the supply of homes in such a manner as to not only promote
affordable housing but also reduce sprawl.
These proposed zoning regulations should be carefully drafted
and carefully followed. Durango should attempt to ensure that
its codes, etc., contain no contradictions and are as clear
as is feasible. Perfection in this, as in all things, is impossible
to attain, however, it should be striven for.
This said, there are several factors that drive the Durango
market that are not within the control of the council. First,
as the population increases and more people discover Southwest
Colorado, demand for housing in this area will almost certainly
continue to increase. Second, it is probable that the current
state of the various stock markets has encouraged investors
to purchase real estate which has resulted in a demand for real
estate that might not otherwise occur. Third, lower mortgage
rates have further fueled demand beyond that which might otherwise
Appropriate zoning can effect a positive change.”
Name: Sidny Zink, 51
Occupation: Certified public accountant
“It will be critical for the City Council to understand
the issue of affordable housing from all angles. That includes
growth, economic development, quality of life and more. In turn
it must help educate the citizens. Council needs to study the
impact of the planning process on efforts to keep costs as low
as possible. Can the process be expedited? Are there fees that
might be waived in certain circumstances? The council should
carefully consider where infill development is appropriate.
Encouraging economic development to provide more higher-paying
jobs is another way council can help people afford reasonable
It’s tough when we want to control growth to also acknowledge
that we need to grow our supply of housing if we want to avoid
making Durango an enclave for the rich.
We have some great organizations working on this issue, including
Habitat for Humanity and Community Development Corp. A regional
housing authority might be a way to help those and other groups
work together to find alternative ways to finance land and infrastructure.”
Name: Dale Garland, 45
Occupation: Durango High School social
“Leaving affordable housing to the dictates of the marketplace
will not make affordable housing a reality, so I do think that
the City Council should be active in addressing this issue.
There are many things that a council should do to address this
1. Examine the feasibility and the advantages of a regional
housing authority. This authority should address this issue
on a regional level because potential solutions to this problem
may very well lie outside the city limits of Durango.
2. Re-examine current zoning and occupancy codes which deal
with ‘granny flats.’ I would be in favor of hearing
the discussion about developing housing on existing properties.
3. Encourage private-public partnerships to build affordable
housing projects within the city limits.
The associated issue with affordable housing is the current
job market in Durango. I am in favor of working with LEAD and
other regional economic development groups to make Durango competitive
in attracting environmentally compatible industries that pay
enough so that people aren’t living paycheck to paycheck.”
Name: Michael Rendon, 30
Occupation: Director of the FLC Environmental
“I feel very passionate about affordable housing, and
it is one of the main reasons I am running. There are many different
actions that the Durango City Council can take to ensure affordable
housing for its citizens. The city can foster open dialogue
on public/private partnerships – partnerships that would
finance, construct and manage affordable housing. The city can
look into the use of federal money to stimulate private funding
of affordable housing. This means working with organizations
like Habitat for Humanity and Colorado Housing Inc. Local banks
can form a bank community development corporation to meet the
credit needs of low-income people. An ‘inclusionary zoning’
ordinance would secure affordable housing in new developments.
A Regional Housing Authority is an option as long as it is done
with the least amount of bureaucracy and the greatest impact
on affordable housing. I would like to see more discussion around
‘mother-in-law’ housing, focused on providing opportunities
for building small alley houses within city limits to provide
more housing opportunities. I believe the city should take the
idea of a livable-wage ordinance for Durango seriously so working
people don’t have to struggle to meet their basic needs,
such as housing.”
Name: Lee Goddard, 62
Occupation: Owner of Goddard Enterprises
“Barb and I faced the problem of housing 35 years ago
and again approximately 20 years ago when we moved to Durango.
Now our five children have, are or are about to face similar
problems. The daunting problem of putting a roof over your head
is not new to me.
I believe the city of Durango can be a part of the solution,
although not the major role player. Public/private partnerships
can be formed. The establishment of a housing authority could
consolidate and enhance efforts of numerous groups and individuals.
If the city has the discretionary funds available, it should
continue to subsidize projects out of the general fund with
waiver of fees for projects which are deemed beneficial in providing
The term ‘step-up’ housing was brought up during
my last term. Briefly, current homeowners are not always interested
in what their house sells for, if they can improve themselves.
For example, if market-driven dwellings can be built in the
$175k to $195k range, those people with real equity may be able
to move up, while selling their existing home for less money.
Consider new approaches.”
Name: John Gamble, 55
Occupation: Social worker
“The city needs to continue to provide fee waivers and
subsidies to selected low-income housing projects such as the
new Mercy Housing Project. The city needs to adopt practices
such as inclusionary zoning, which require new developments
to include affordable work force housing. The city needs to
utilize every available resource, to assist the nonprofit and
for-profit developers to support that housing development. Our
residents should be able to live in the same community where
The regional housing authority currently under development
should bring new energy and funding opportunities to the table.
Simply put, the city of Durango must play a key role if new
work force housing is to occur in our community. The market
alone will simply not suffice.”