Affordable Housing

Affordable Housing
Up to five years ago, there was more than enough affordable rental options for everyone who needed them. Shared housing created wonderful communities with room rentals of $600 per month. Now those opportunities are almost gone and the few room rentals that are available are $1,400 per month and more.

Families who have rented the same house for twenty years or more have been evicted and the rents more than tripled or turned into short-term rentals. As a result many residents can no longer live in Sedona while out-of-state investors are getting rich.

The City Council wants to fix the housing crisis. They have demonstrated their willingness to change residential zoning to medium/high density housing, so that large apartment complexes with limited affordable housing can be built (Jordan Lofts).

This type of zoning change negatively impacts the openness and view scape of an established neighborhood. Affordable housing, small apartment complexes, townhomes or condominiums are welcome anywhere within a residential area as long as they meet the present zoning requirements.

The City is also aggressively recruiting Developers to build affordable housing away from residential areas. One agreement in place is Sunset Lofts, a 46 unit apartment complex with rents set to serve folks that work in Sedona with an income at 80, 90 and 100% of area median income (AMI = $61,470). The City is loaning the Developer up to $4.2M that will be paid back starting in 2060.

The City also hopes to build more housing on a lot near City Hall and on two lots on Shelby Drive. They are considering allowing building heights greater than 2 stories on Shelby Dr since it would not block any views.

The City recognizes that they must work with the surrounding cities like Cottonwood to encourage affordable housing units to be built in their towns. Cottonwood has the land to continue residential construction – both multi-story and homes. Sedona and Cottonwood are hiring a Housing Manager to support both communities in identifying the best options to address the housing shortage. Sedona will pay for the position.

There are already more than 4,200 people commuting daily to Sedona. As that number grows, the City must deliver an excellent shuttle system between the towns to incentivize commuters to ride vs. drive into Sedona. The Verde Lynx recently extended their run hours and reduced their cycle time to encourage more use.

Recommendations

Affordable Housing
It is going to be very difficult to build our way out of this problem. Would it be possible to take some of the millions the City is willing to give Developers and instead use that money to incentivize existing homeowners to revert back to longer term rentals or consider it for the first time?

The City should consider providing housing as a part of key city jobs (like a Parsonage for a Pastor). They could purchase existing condos and/or homes. It would be part of the compensation package as long as the City employee held the position.

The City should incentivize current resorts and hotels to provide housing for the staff needed to operate their facility and require it of new resorts or large hotels, so as not to add to the problem.

The Dells (land across from the water treatment area outside of the city) has great potential for providing affordable housing. We know that the City is beginning an infrastructure assessment. We would like the City to consider our “vision” for that land – a self-sustaining community that aligns with nature and provides true sustainability.

Short-term rentals are the root cause of our current housing issues. Please take the time to read that section.


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