The Housing & Building Association Public Policy Council has created the following position papers to help community leaders and partners understand where the Association stands on the following important development and construction related issues.
While all housing is important, attainable housing is critical to our community’s economic health. To be a successful city, county and region, City of Colorado Springs leaders need to help ensure that there are enough homes at all price levels—including those that are attainable—to meet the demands of our workforce and their families.
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Since 1980, El Paso County’s population has increased by more than 125 percent, or 389,000 additional residents in the area. During that period, local governments were increasingly unable to adequately invest in the historical responsibility to provide public infrastructure (streets, sidewalks, water mains, sewage systems, etc.) for new housing developments through general tax revenues or utility rate increases. Local government started looking to the private land development activities to fund the infrastructure by making growth pay its way.
Local government has been pressured to have “growth pay for itself” over the past several years. One method that local governments turn to is the imposition of impact fees. Impact fees include a variety of fees to fund capital expenditures required by new development and are typically paid by the builder when a building permit is issued. Impact fees in Colorado range from water and sewer tap fees, water development and water acquisition fees, transportation fees, park fees, fire and police fees, and several other categories.
Water is a scarce commodity in Colorado. With that scarcity comes signifi cant policy, legal and economic challenges that directly impact homebuilding and the affordability of homes in our community. The use of water in Colorado is complex and is often an emotional debate, with water rights and the use of water pitting various groups against each other.
Colorado Springs has considerable vacant and underutilized land that can be developed for housing and other purposes. With housing needs continuing to grow, the City should have stronger policies and planning processes to encourage infill and high-density development. This includes both single-family homes and multifamily projects like apartments, condos and townhomes. Over the years, infill has been considered a desirable housing project type; however, several obstacles make infill projects more challenging within Colorado Springs.
Although the City of Colorado Springs is not directly involved with local education, its critical that our city and region have strong and high-performing public schools and that all levels of government—from the state though municipalities—support our local schools and advocate for strong leadership, proper resources, and results for students, while also ensuring accountability for taxpayers. Strong, community-based school districts are critical to the prosperity, economic opportunity, health and safety of our entire community.
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