Developers want to build low
rent housing in Gunnison
By Robert Steven
GUNNISON—New low income rental opportunities may be in the works for Gunnison City.
At a meeting of the Gunnison City Council on July 15, a local developer made a presentation to the council for a plan to build a 20-unit low-income apartment complex.
Martha Larsen, one of the developers, told the council they’ve wanted to do such a project for a while now.
“We applied for funding from the housing authority last year for it and we just barely missed qualifying, so we have a really good chance of getting it this year,” Larsen told the council.
She was referring to the Utah Housing Corp., a public, nonprofit corporation established by the Legislature that uses tax-exempt bonds to finance housing a favorable interest rates.
The proposed apartment complex is to be built directly to the north of the Foxwood Apartments, another low income apartment complex owned by Larsen at the north end of 100 West.
The Foxwood Apartments are subsidized housing, Larsen says, but the new development would not be.
“You’ve got to have a good, steady source of income to qualify to live here, just like if you were renting from any other place,” Larsen said.
Larsen told the council the rent for the new low-income apartments would be based on adjusted mean income, and depending on that figure, rent could go as low as $339 for some people.
The complex will be made up of three main buildings. Two of the buildings will contain three-bedroom, 1,100-square-foot units, while the third building will contain two-bedroom, 900-square-foot units.
Larsen said six of the 20 units will be wheelchair accessible, and two of the units will be prioritized for renters who are veterans.
One request Larsen had for the city council was a written letter of support for the project to help secure funding from the housing corporation. Larsen told the council during the attempt to get funding for the new project last year, she didn’t have documentation of municipal support, which was required to secure funding.
Gunnison Mayor Lori Nay told Larsen she was open to the project, but she would like to see the property better maintained than the Foxwood Apartments, which Nay said has gone downhill in visual quality.
“I can see that this new project is something you’re going to be working towards, and it seems to fit what we’d like to see, and is in line with all the rules and laws, but on a personal level I would like to see you work a little harder to get Foxwood cleaned up,” Nay said.
“We all know it needs some care, and we would be a lot happier moving forward. It’s really important to the people that live in Gunnison that that happens.”
Larsen told the council that her company does not receive any public funds to maintain Foxwood, which has made it difficult to keep up with maintenance, but they would be doing the upkeep and maintenance on the proposed complex as part of the cost of rent.
Larsen said one corner of the grass at Foxwood was brown because the sprinkler system in that area stopped working after the Gunnison City water project in 2010.
“I had Ecolife come out a few times to try and figure out what was wrong with the sprinklers, but it happened when you put in the new water system and we haven’t had the time to get it taken care of all the way yet,” she told the council.
Larsen added, “It’s going to get worse before it gets better. The whole parking lot will be torn up to take the power and water up to the new units.”