Habitat for Humanity affordable housing community gets 1st OK despite neighborhood pushback

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AURORA | After hours of public comment, a plan from Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver to add 10 affordable housing duplexes in the Havana Heights neighborhood received initial approval from the Aurora City Council Monday night.

Many neighbors of the Mountain View Community Homes proposal, which would sit on a 2-acre cul-de-sac, approximately 1,000 feet off of South Havana Street adjacent to Havana Heights Park, said the 10 duplexes comprising 20 units would cause parking issues and unsightly curb appeal in the neighborhood of mostly single family homes. 

Each unit would have two off-street parking spaces, according to the site plan. Six of the units would have a single car garage and one driveway parking spot. 

Approving the plan requires rezoning the area from a low-density single family district to a medium density district, which opponents said was their biggest issue.

“I support affordable housing, just not this affordable housing,” one neighborhood resident said during the public comment section of the meeting. 

Some council members said they too were not in favor of the zoning change and voted against the proposal, though the proposal did comply with city standards and meets the city’s goal of increasing the supply of affordable homes.

Council members voted 5-4 in favor of the plan, with Mayor Mike Coffman recusing himself after having met extensively with neighborhood residents and signaling on social media ahead of the vote that he might not support the measure. In two weeks, during a final approval, six affirmative votes will be required by city rules to make the affordable community a reality.

Mountain View United Church owns the two acres and will continue to do so if the plan is approved and duplexes are built. The church plans to lease the land to Habitat for Humanity for 99 years, allowing the organization to manage the property much like a land trust would. Units will only be sold to homebuyers making up to 80% of the area median income or about $78,000 annually for a family of four, according to the plan. 

During the meeting Habit for Humanity representatives said duplex units would sell for about $250,000 to $300,000. Single family homes in the neighborhood reagularly sell for double the price.

“I know that a lot of times we have conversations as a body about the cost of development, and that we need to do what we can ensure we have adequate housing stock by making sure we are not adding to the cost of development… what we have before us is a site plan in which the developers say we can provide this affordable housing,” Councilmember Alison Coombs said during the meeting.

She along with Councilmembers Juan Marcano, Angela Lawson, Allison Hiltz and Crystal Murillo voted in favor of the plan.

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Publius
Publius
1 month ago

It is clear that zoning is no guarantee of future use of property. The reasonable expectations of residents of an area can be ignored. I wonder how some politicians would feel if their reasonable expectations are not met, say in ward redistricting or precinct redistricting. That said, change is a constant with which all adults ought to be familiar.

Speaking of constants, the juvenile name-calling continued apace. Civil servants would be disciplined or dismissed were they to display the acrimony at the work place these elected officials display in meetings. When, as a child, I acted as they do now my Grandmother would discipline me. She would roll over in her grave now at such behavior from me as an adult. I can only imagine there are a number of gravesites with disturbed ground this morning from all the tumbling around going on down there. Redemption is only a week away for those who commit to civility.

Joe Felice
Joe Felice
1 month ago

Sounds like a good venture and the homes would not detract from the appearance of the neighborhood. Who do the neighbors think is going to live there? Certainly not homeless folks. Habitat projects typically have good homeowners. And do the neighbors think that land is going to remain vacant forever? Council should approve this development. The next proposal might be worse.

But we are seeing NIMBYism at its finest. “. . . just not this affordable housing,” Yeah, as long as its in someone else’s neighborhood. Whatever.

vern
vern
1 month ago

Well isn’t that something…affordable housing at $300,000 plus. I find it so telling that I have tried for years to develop 2 over sized lots that have a larger lot size each that could be like denver single lot 12 units. Aurora is not willing to think outside the box…AGAIN. Years back when builders wanted to build high end the city would build getto low cost housing next door bringing down sales and values for these properties. Now when we have a housing issue they refuse to embrace the only option of same space needs more density. So many are priced out of the market already. Single income folk can’t meet the ratio of income to house payment already. Aurora is lip service… and not willing to do what it takes…AGAIN

Doug King
Doug King
1 month ago
Reply to  vern

pLEASE go back and clarify your post….i’m unclear as to your meaning. Plus, in todays market in your opinion how do you suggest anything of decent value be built for lest then $300,000 ? Just asking?

Susan
Susan
1 month ago

“I support affordable housing, just not this affordable housing,” one neighborhood resident said during the public comment section of the meeting. Yep, she/he supports it as long as it isn’t in his/her neighborhood……

Daniel M Widrich
Daniel M Widrich
1 month ago

I definitely can relate to the comments of the other users. As I ponder this issue, considering for myself what would my stance be if this was across the street or around the corner from where I live, the potential saving grace is the involvement of Habitat for Humanity. I’ve organized groups of people to assist on builds before and it was an endearing experience as I worked alongside the future owners of those homes.

The issue I’ve witnessed in my community and in public housing is a lack of “ownership” by the residents. The way Habitat works, the future resident has put in time and sweat equity before they move in. I think this says a lot about the quality of people that will be living in these units. Overcrowding, eyesores, blight, these issues can be addressed in a proactive manner when individuals with a powerful sense of ownership, respect, and consideration for their neighbors make up the population.

When you move into a community, do you conform to the values of that community? Even if, for no other reason, the people around you prefer it that way? Do you conduct yourself in a manner consistent with THEIR standards and values?

This is not a conversation most are willing to have as it may appear to infringe upon the rights, freedoms, and cultural values of individualism that are inherent or explicit in our culture. However, if the goal includes developing the sense of harmony associated with the term “community” it is best to expect the new residents to adopt the standards and expectations of their new neighbors and assimilate.

The reality is the current residents will most likely meet the new residents with a bit of skepticism. It is up to the new residents to earn the trust and respect of the current residents, not vice versa.

When in Rome, do as the Romans.

Doug King
Doug King
1 month ago

it’s true very true. We just had new neighbors move into our neighborhood. No one asked us for our opinion. I just went over and introduced myself and welcomed them and told them I’d try to be a good neighbor. Now If I had an empty lot next door and someone put a trailer on it (which in texas they can do (but not here!) THEN I’d have something to say…..right? But this isn’t the case here. So I do not see the push back issue.

FeelingsAreNotFacts
FeelingsAreNotFacts
1 month ago

From what I took away, Habitat refused responsibility for any negligent upkeep and there was no HOA to enforce it. The Habitat representative used nebulous rhetoric like they could take steps but refused to say they would.

Abutting neighbors made a cogent case that included inadequate storage, traffic control, and parking. Additionally, the Habitat model case was completed only a year ago in Aurora (referenced by Coffman) and it has already fallen in disrepair–despite the homeowners having more skin in the game through fee-simple full ownership.

These neighbors should prepare for blight on their neighborhood, impacted home values, and unmanageable traffic and parking. But tough beans for them. Social engineering rules the day.

Doug King
Doug King
1 month ago

Where DO you get this stuff? I have no HOA in my neighborhood. The city code enforcement is responsible for negligent upkeep to a certain degree. The builder (just like Habitat) wouldn’t have any responsibility once the project is completed. Why would they??? Possible the Church might considering the land is leased by them….that might be a consideration?

Debra MacKillop
Debra MacKillop
1 month ago

Most of us say we want more affordable housing built, until we see it as happening in our back yard. Then we are scrambling to find excuses why it should be moved somewhere else. This housing is needed and should be built, and it should just be the beginning of a wave of affordable housing built in Aurora.

Dean
1 month ago

As long as the city leaders continue to keep up with their decampment scheme by making virtual representation the convenient way to communicate, like it or not, this is what we get and so predictable.
A more effective discussion in these issues like this, is an in-person testimony which we fully deserve. But the obvious face to face, discussing with council eye to
eye produces accountability which encourages a different journey through the political process. Unlike what we are seeing and tolerate today.

Last edited 1 month ago by Dean
Doug King
Doug King
1 month ago
Reply to  Dean

Has absolutely nothing to do with it….have no idea where you get that from ….makes no sense what so ever.

Dean
1 month ago

As long as the city leaders continue to keep up with their decampment scheme by making virtual representation the convenient way to communicate, like it or not, this is what we get and so predictable.
A more effective discussion in these issues like this, is an in-person testimony which we fully deserve. But the obvious face to face, discussing with council eye to eye produces accountability which encourages a different journey through the political process. Unlike what we are seeing and tolerate today.