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City of Williams hires consultant to conduct housing study

Williams City Council approved housing study proposal from consultant, Elliott D. Pollack and Company. (Stock photo)

Williams City Council approved housing study proposal from consultant, Elliott D. Pollack and Company. (Stock photo)

WILLIAMS, Ariz. — The City of Williams is continuing to take steps towards completing a housing study.

The Williams City Council approved funds to conduct a comprehensive study for the City of Williams during the Nov. 10 meeting. The $45,600 study will evaluate and recommend an approach to addressing affordable housing needs while taking into account the specific challenges that may face the community.

On Nov. 21 City Manager Tim Pettit signed and approved the proposal, titled City of Williams housing needs assessment prepared by consultant, Elliott D. Pollack and Company.

“We’ve never had a (housing) study done,” said Pettit. “I’m excited. I think the city is excited to see what comes out of it and what direction (the consultant) thinks we should head in and what they recommend.”

According to the proposal, the housing study will provide a determination of housing needs and the gap between need and available units as well as a comprehensive implementation strategy to guide Williams to bridge any identified housing gap and the challenges the city may face.

The study is estimated to take five months. Elliott D. Pollack and Company has already done a number of studies in the area, including Page, Sedona and Cottonwood. They are currently working on a combination economic/housing study for the Flagstaff area.

“They’ve done so many of these studies in this area, they already have a lot of the information here,” Pettit said. “They just have to do the specifics now.”

Based on available data, existing housing needs will be identified including housing cost-burden, overcrowding and lack of plumbing facilities. Based on forecasted population growth, an estimate will be developed on future demand for housing and the need for a mix of unit types to address the housing cost burden and other factors affecting affordability. The study will also aim to identify the impact of short-term vacation rentals, the availability of housing for critical service employees and barriers to affordable housing development.

“I think it’s a great first step,” said Francis Mazza, Habitat for Humanity volunteer consultant. “The next thing is critical, which is how it then proceeds forward…I think it’s something where they might consider reconvening people and parties that were part of the housing forum that we sponsored.”

Habitat for Humanity sponsored the Oct. 18 Williams Housing Forum where community businesses, contractors, council members and concerned citizens gathered at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel to discuss the problem and possible solutions.

“I think if it’s going to be successful, you’re going to need to have a community approach to this thing.” Mazza said.

Pettit said the city plans on reaching out to Habitat for Humanity and including them in the study.

Once completed, the study will provide an action plan to the city with steps on how to address the housing affordability issue. Strengths and weaknesses of the local housing will be noted, findings and conclusions will be outlined and forecasts will be used to estimate the demand for housing over the next five years.

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