Mountainlands Community Housing Trust celebrates 25 years of building affordable housing in Summit and Wasatch Counties. They have a few developments in Wasatch County, a project in the town of Francis in Summit County and agreements for a project in Silver Creek. Carolyn Murray has this:
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Scott Loomis has been the Director of the Mountainlands Community Housing Trust since 2001. They’ve built over 200 homes and about 250 apartments since he’s been there.
He says they just got approval for a housing development in the South Fields area of Heber City. It will be single family homes, town houses and duplexes built to provide housing for essential workers earning up to 120% of the area median income.
“We just got approval for 49 units that will be for sale for essential workers. Essential workers would be people that work for the government….your non-profit workers at the hospital and Police, Fire, EMT’s Teachers…that type of thing. I think we’ll have recruiting around the first of the year for those essential workers. We already have a number of people who have contacted us but the essential workers will have the priority. For families that maybe both people work, they’ll be prioritized and it’ll take a year to two years to build out that many units.”
There will likely be restrictions in place requiring the owners maintain their jobs in the essential worker category.
A senior citizens apartment complex is under construction in Heber. Loomis says they’ve got a list of interested tenents and continue to take names. He says they’ll be finished by the first of the year. The complex will have an age restriction of 62 and older, no children will be permitted to live there but pets will be allowed.
“So these will be 38 units, one and two bedrooms, which will be targeting 50 to 80 percent of the median income. It’s based on family size. In Heber City for a family of four, it’s about 72,000 so probably in the range of 25 to 30,000 up to maybe 40 to 50,000 depending on whether it’s a single person or a couple.”
They’re working on 15 homes in Francis under their Mutual Self Help Program. The homes are financed and will be built by the homeowners. Loomis says they can qualify for higher loan amounts through the USDA rural development loan program because they get such low interest rates and longer loan amortization schedules.
“ We’re completing eight homes which we haven’t set the date yet but it will probably be around August 9th or 10th. We’ll have an open house for completing eight homes in the Uintah Willow subdivision in Francis. We’ve got another group of seven ready to start as soon as we get them closed so hopefully next month they’ll be starting construction on those. And they work about a thousand to 1200 hours with a group. We provide a construction supervisor and seven or eight families who will work together to build all of their homes. Nobody moves in until all are done. They do about 65 % of the labor. These are really nice homes too. The ones we are building up in Francis now are on half acre. We even have a couple of acre lots…1800 square foot single family homes.”
They’ve built 145 homes in Francis, Kamas and Oakley under the Mutual Self-Help Program. Loomis says they hope to bring this same kind of project to Silver Creek village. They’ll begin recruiting families for this upcoming project in August.
Loomis says the Whole Foods project in Kimball Junction is a great example of creating a housing partnership with a large commercial project.
“They found out they had an affordable housing obligation because they basically had to rezone it. We came up with the idea…over 18,000 square feet of commercial, the Whole Foods is 43,000 square feet…that they build 21 bedroom units up above the 18,000 square feet of commercial and they were still a little hesitant and weren’t ready to go forward and we told them we would purchase it from them or if it was a condominium, we would lease it from them and take care of it. Or they could do it on their own if it penciled out for them. And they were very, very pleased that it penciled out for them so it’s been a win-win, I think , all the way around.”
Loomis says Summit and Wasatch Counties and Park City Municipal are acutely aware of the affordable housing issue. The Mountain Lands Community Housing Trust is compiling a video for the 25 year celebration in September. If interested in being in the video and providing a testimonial, stop by Rotary Park Tuesday 11 to 1 or next Monday 11 to 1.