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Affordable housing units denied support by Pueblo Planning and Zoning Commission

Posted at 12:30 AM, Jan 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-12 02:35:35-05

PUEBLO — In a 7-0 unanimous vote, the Pueblo Planning and Zoning Commission denied recommending a proposed affordable housing development for future hearings during Wednesday's meeting.

Posada, a Pueblo organization providing equal housing, proposed the Dorcy Community Housing project with 192 units in the Regency neighborhood south of Red Creek Springs Road in south Pueblo. The development would serve low-income families and is planned on an 11-acre plot.

Many residents in the Regency neighborhood were outspoken in opposition to the development and voiced their concerns during Wednesday's meeting. Those who spoke during public testimony said the proposed affordable housing development would devalue their own property, create more traffic, and increase crime in the area. Others voiced concerns about the high density of the proposed units. The Dorcy Community Housing plan calls for 18 units per acre while the city's recommendation is two to five units per acre.

Marion Knight, a resident of the Regency neighborhood, said she and others are not against affordable housing, but simply against the location where this project is proposed.

"The majority of us are senior citizens and we're concerned about our safety, our standard of living, and our home values that would obviously take an impact on this particular rezoning," she said.

Jim Tafoya has lived in the Regency neighborhood for around 20 years. He said he is open to development on the land, but not affordable housing units.

"Kids need like a recreational area to go to. There's really not anything other than maybe the YMCA, but I think they can build something that would be suitable for the adjacent neighborhoods and the children that are in those neighborhoods," he said.

Kim Bowman, the executive director of Posada, said Pueblo is in dire need of more affordable housing as there is a 1% vacancy rate for affordable options.

"We're witnessing individuals who are paying in excess of $1,200 for a one-bedroom apartment," she said. "We're going to be working with incomes that don't exceed 30 to 80% of the area median income, so they can pay anywhere from $500 a month to $1,200."

Members of the commission questioned the high density of the housing plan and location in the middle of the Regency neighborhood. Ultimately, commissioners voted unanimously to deny recommending the project for future hearings. Posada will propose the Dorcy Community Housing project in its following annexation and zoning hearings. If approved, it will go to Pueblo City Council for a final vote.

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