Tag Archive for inclusionary zoning

What the hell is goin’ on with city council?!

It is often said that people get the government they deserve. I sincerely hope that this is not the case for Longmont. I hope it’s merely a matter of Longmont’s citizenry being asleep at the political switch, either out of habit or because the current state of the rightwing, corporate-induced economic meltdown has left them no time to consider events on the local stage more broadly.

The alarm clock has been ringing and there is no time left to continue to hit the snooze button. You do not own your government. A coup has occurred right under your noses.

It began in the 2009 election when the corrupt Western Tradition Partnership bought the council seats for The Baum Squad (Mayor Bryan Baum, Council Members Gabe Santos, Alex Sammoury and Katie Witt) with confidence that these four council members would do the bidding of the most radical elements of our society. Make no mistake that the money invested in the Longmont Leadership Committee for their trash campaign ran the gamut from locals who wanted to hide their political involvement to state, national and even evidence of international donations to Western Tradition Partnership.

If you didn’t see it coming, last night’s Baum Squad vote to abolish the Inclusionary Zoning Affordable Housing Program should make it impossible for you to roll over a go back to sleep. It’s time to take your community back from the robber barons who endorse the premise that “open for business” translates into “Longmont for sale to the lowest bidder.” Longmont belongs to YOU. Communities nationwide are losing their towns, cities and school districts by all manner of methods. Don’t let Longmont be one of the casualties to this regime change.

As a participant in the Affordable Housing Program and one who is extremely grateful for the opportunity that Longmont provided to me, I have been very outspoken on this latest issue. I spoke to council on April 5th and then twice last night (April 26th).

I defend this program not for myself because I have already used the program. I defend it for the many others who will need the program going forward.

Below is a transcript of what I said at Final Public Invited to be Heard. It’s time to tell it the way it really is, folks. Stand up and be counted.

I’ve been coming to these council meetings, almost every one of them, for nearly four years, and I cannot remember a time when I heard more B.S., buzzwords, spin doctoring, Tea Party/Republican talk and outright lies than I heard during the discussion of affordable housing tonight.

If the industry, the builders and developers are suffering, it’s not because of anything that we have done. It’s because of the financial industry. They played games. They came up with derivatives. Then they bet against themselves and came back with credit default swaps. Then they came crying to the taxpayers, “Oh my God, the sky is falling, the sky is falling.” And we bailed them out — with taxpayer money, so that they could get right back in the game and do it all one more time when the next bubble comes around.

What really happened here is that we have four members of city council who got together with their business buddies. Got the wish list from those same buddies. And they came back and started to redefine Longmont with principles that are to the right of Attila the Hun.

So I hope the four of you are very, very proud of yourselves tonight. Because I am very confident that there are a whole lot of people in this community who are saying, “What the hell is goin’ on with city council?!”

Thank you.

Builders, Baum Squad to kill Affordable Housing Program

The following is a presentation given before the Longmont City Council on April 5, 2011.

The council communication on inclusionary zoning and affordable housing is extremely disturbing.

I examined the chart on page 36, particularly those Final Recorded Plats that were NOT highlighted in Yellow.  These have some probability of being built over the next 18 months.  I focused on those that still have designated affordable units.

Boulder Creek Builders has two of these plats – Kingsbridge and Village at Creekside.  Kingsbridge has 10 designated affordables, Village at Creekside has one.

The Boulder Creek website states, “The Kingsbridge community in Longmont has exceeded sales expectations, garnering 25 net sales and 15 closing in 2010.  Kingsbridge ranks second in gross sales and fourth in net sales for all …townhome communities in the 11-county area, which includes Longmont…. Boulder Creek Builders is number one in all of Boulder County…for total Sales.”

Boulder Creek bought Village at Creekside.  The houses planned are smaller than those already built yet comparable prices expected are higher.

Yeager Farms by Markel Homes has 6 affordables out of a potential build of 53 homes.  According to their website, their prices range from $300,000 to $450,000.  They state, “In the 1990’s, our company gained prominence in the high-end, semi-custom single and multi family niche.…Markel Homes has endured the cyclical nature of Colorado’s homebuilding industry.”

Fox Meadow by Sopris Homes has platted 102 homes in the price range of $560,000 to $810,000 and 5 affordables.

Two other builders with a total of 8 affordables I was unable to locate on the web.

The evidence of this research indicates that these builders do not need a moratorium on their affordable set aside.  They may WANT it; but they do not NEED it.

But Longmont NEEDS affordable housing stock and it NEEDS its affordable housing fund replenished for other affordable programs that do not have a new-construction set-aside.

This moratorium will effectively kill the Affordable Housing Program for the next 18 months.  And I suspect that it is a precursor for terminating the program later.

The information infused into the public consciousness about the Affordable Housing Program through comments on the Times-Call website and perhaps to you in phone calls and emails is erroneous and often totally based on ideology.

As elected representatives, you have a non-partisan responsibility to assist the citizens of Longmont.  That responsibility does not extend to padding profit margins for builders or fattening commissions for realtors.

Please let the better angels of your natures reject a moratorium on a program that is one of the most valuable programs in stabilizing the greater community of Longmont.