BRIGHTON — City Council unanimously approved changes to Hughes Station’s development agreement Aug. 6, changing the affordability mixes of one lot of units at the housing complex.
The amendment will change the affordability mixes on the first lot of the first block of the subdivision. Of the 120 units, 15 percent will now be at 30 percent of the area median income instead of 20 percent; 15 percent will be at 40 percent AMI instead of the previous 25.8 percent; 43 percent of the units will be at 50 percent AMI instead of 26.67 percent; and 27 percent of the units will be at 60 percent AMI instead of 27.5 percent.
Almost Home Director Terry Moore said the changes in Hughes Station’s income mix are necessary to offset the financial challenges the apartment complex faces, noting the costs of operating Hughes Station has increased faster than the Housing and Urban Development has increased rents.
Additionally, the property has generated $3.4 million in losses for Almost Home over the last decade and the non-profit is owed over $1 million from the property due to unpaid fees, loans and past due payments. Resident turnover is also an issue, according to Moore, as more than half of residents moved out last year despite retention efforts.
“Allowing us to change the mix of the units to include more of the mid and upper end incomes will allow us to stay in a positive cash flow situation at Hughes,” he said. “In short, we will increase the income being brought in from rents.”
Mayor Dick McLean wanted to know whether Colorado Housing Finance Authority struggled with approving the changes. Moore said they didn’t as Almost Home was able to show them the financial necessity.
“Certainly, a lot of properties get into trouble, and that’s the first thing they try to do is get the lender to change the land-use requirement agreement,” he said. “We were pretty lucky that we were able to do it, but we can make a fairly desperate appeal so that’s why they did approve it.”
Mayor Pro-tem Wayne Scott asked whether the current residents would have to leave their apartment but Moore said they would not, as rates will not change until the unit is vacated.
Councilwoman Wilma Rose expressed her concern for residents who have lower incomes. She asked how Almost Home would address the problem of those who fall into the 30 to 40 percent range.
Moore said they would try to accommodate them in every way they could but that people who earn that percentage of income are potential candidates for Section 8 programs and the Brighton Housing Authority’s program.
“Unfortunately there are not — certainly not in Brighton — any other opportunities for 30 to 40 percent income at all,” he said.
City Manager Manuel Esquibel expects it will take time for Hughes Station to see financial gain from the amended income mixes.
“I don’t believe you’re going to see, immediately, these changes taking place,” he said. “Some may take a year, maybe longer, before Hughes Station actually sees the benefit.”
In other business:
— In an 8 to 0 vote, council approved a conditional use request for My Little World Preschool and Childcare to operate a second pre-school and child care center at 801 South 5th Avenue. Hours of operation at the center are set at 6 a.m. through 6:30 p.m. Councilman Rex Bell recused himself from the discussion and vote due to a conflict of interest.
— In two separate resolutions, council unanimously approved intergovernmental agreements with Adams and Weld counties to coordinate the mail ballot election on Nov. 5.
— Council unanimously awarded $ 9,500 in mini grants on behalf of the Brighton Lodging Tax Committee. Mini-grants in the amount of $2,500 were awarded to the Chamber of for their 30 Days 30 Ways project; heART of Brighton for the Roast and Toast of Bob Sakata; and for the Brighton Film Festival. Brighton Youth Commission was awarded a $2,000 grant for their haunted house.
— Council unanimously accepted a $90,000 Community Development Block Grant to continue handicap ramp upgrades to be located in areas around town that are considered low-to-moderate income by the Census.
— Council approved a number of board appointments including Katherine Farina to the Brighton Housing Authority to fill an unexpired term to Nov. 2017; Nena DelVillar to the Brighton Housing Authority to fill an unexpired term to Nov. 2014; and Ken Mitchell as an alternate of the Brighton Historic Preservation Commission to fill an unexpired term to Nov. 2014.
— Council unanimously approved the final reading of an ordinance that would amend city code to allow concealed carry weapons in city parks with the authorized permits. The change was made to bring the city code in alignment with state law.
— For the second time, council unanimously decided to continue the second reading of Transwest Facilities Complex’s annexation. The company asked the city to delay the second reading so it would be considered along with the zoning and planned unit of development agreements during the Sept. 17 meeting. The owner would then ask for one cohesive master agreement, which would combine all three of the properties the business will be located on into one.
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