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Tusayan council talks housing needs, 40 acres still in escrow

TUSAYAN, Ariz. - Tusayan Town Council members continued to discuss a future housing authority and housing distribution for low-income residents during their regular meeting Jan. 23.

The town hired International Housing Solutions (IHS) to establish a course of action for affordable housing, and develop a housing authority for the town's 40 acres held in escrow by Italian developers, The Stilo Group. Per the development agreement, Stilo will deed the land to the town after they meet all the requirements of the development agreement.

According to the agreement, on Ten-X or Kotzin Ranch, Stilo is required to provide a 25 home subdivision with lots that are available for sale to the public and have at least five single family home building permits in place. The town fully owns the property once that has occurred. Stilo must accomplish all of this within 48 months of the town's approval of the development agreement, set into motion April 2012.

IHS's "phase two, task two" report gave the council lottery process recommendations for housing unit distribution. IHS recommended it be simple, fair, transparent and organized.

"The more the people understand how the selection works, the easier the process will be," Interim Town Manager Tami Ryall said.

IHS recommended using a spinning raffle wheel and having a neutral person pick out the order for the lottery.

It could be as simple as using raffle tickets, Ryall said.

IHS reported typical areas for discussion include general policies, such as what constitutes a full-time resident, what constitutes net worth, income guidelines, how many residents per bedroom, a qualfication priority system, will the property be rentable, can an employee control other properties in the area and how to control resale value among other discussion points.

Because IHS uses Snowmass, Colo. as a model for their initial phase reports, Councilmember John Rueter suggested the council also gather ideas from guest speakers from Arizona housing authorities.

Councilmember Bill Fitzgerald suggested new County Supervisor Art Babbot is a good resource because of his experience with Flagstaff housing authorities and urged using local sources as much as possible.

"All of this is, in my mind and especially at this point in time, is way too complicated when we don't even have the property to start with," Fitzgerald said.

Mayor Greg Bryan said surveying Arizona Housing Authorities is a future option.

Councilmember Al Montoya said he wants include the Mexican-American population in the qualification process somewhere.

"When it comes time to talk about qualifications, as we head down that road, we will have a public meeting and out of that will come community input on how we decide to meet qualifications," Mayor Greg Bryan said, adding all members of the community would be encouraged to attend.

IHS's last report is on tonight's council agenda. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at 845 Mustang Drive.

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