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'Shuttered projects' could hold valuable housing clues

by KIKI MILLER/Guest Contributor
| April 14, 2024 1:00 AM

Much of the anxiety in the community about housing and growth issues comes from a lack of information or false beliefs about what is happening. Political rhetoric and posturing also may lead to outcomes with unintended consequences.

One solution being discussed by the Housing Solutions Partnership is the formation of a Citizens Review Panel. This group would have knowledge and expertise in the area of development and legal requirements. 

The group could guide and suggest solutions to city leaders and developers on ways to make a project meet the goals of local worker housing and community input. 

For example, former planning commissioners who are already familiar with the regulations and processes that protect private property rights can be sound advisers. Staff members from jurisdictions that aren’t their own can offer accurate answers to questions. Legal advisers, retired builders or housing organization professionals can comprise a well-rounded group that has no vested interest in specific project outcomes. 

Volunteers representing a variety of experiences can lead discussions and offer potential solutions with clarity and accuracy. A diverse citizens panel could suggest development agreements and incentives for builders that work for everyone.

A subcommittee of the Housing Solutions Partnership has been gathering data of projects approved, denied or tabled during the past few years. This ’"Shuttered Projects” subcommittee has multiple goals. 

One is to provide general information on the number of project permits submitted, approved, withdrawn or denied. The committee could research and tabulate the reasons for shuttered housing projects and submit solutions to improve the success rate of failed projects based on past data.

Learning from our mistakes or disappointments would ensure a better rate of success in new residential building endeavors – something that would benefit a diversity of affordable lifestyles while maintaining the growth management goals of the community. 

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For more information: ToolKit and Housing Reports at housingni.org and demographics data at CdaEdc.org.