Thursday, June 30, 2005

Minutes from Public Meeting 6/29/05

Mapleton Hollow_P1010004, originally uploaded by elfhaiku.

On the 29th of June the Mapleton Home Association, together with Thistle Community housing, hosted a public meeting at Thistle Community Housing in order to help residents with questions understand their new leases. Here are some brief notes from that meeting.

Residents in attendance were Helen Smith, #144; Jodi Ransom, #146; Daniel Molina, #62, Karen Yakouskin, #47; Yuanita and Paula Preston; #70, and Roger Dorris, #157. Members of the MHA present: Jonathan Machen, Chair of the Management Committee; Paul Keaton, President; Gene Langlois, and Kabir, both on the Management Committee. From Thistle, Etta Habegger and Barbara Navin were present to answer questions.

Jodi Ransom began the session by voicing her concerns about the resale clause in the lease, specifically the issue about MHA or Thistle having 'first right of refusal' when a resident decided they wanted to sell their home. Paul Keaton answered that besides being a benefit to residents who might not be able to sell their home, this built-in option was not automatic (something to be decided within the first two weeks of intent to sell), but designed to, if necessary, allow MHA or Thistle to be able to buy the home to adjust the balance of units in different rental tiers, or to be able to move newer homes in the park. This arrangement would not affect the initial sales price of the home set by the resident. However, if the first right of refusal option was exercised by MHA or Thistle, a separate appraisal of the home would be made by a qualified appraiser, taking into account the uniqueness of the park's location and remodeling. The buyer of the home would still have to income qualify, and would need to attend a 'home orientation' session by Thistle. Etta acknowledged that the process of making an appraisal could be subjective, but the principle of fairness would be paramount when making this kind of decision.

Roger Dorris wondered if the value of one's home would relfect any improvements made to it by the homeowner. The answer is, essentially, yes. A person desiring to sell his or her home can base their price on a number of factors, including improvements made and location, without pressure from any outside group. However, they must make their home available to a buyer in their corresponding income tier. If the first right of refusal option was exercised by MHA or Thistle, a second, professional appraisal would be made that would take those improvements into account. The MHA has worked to ensure that there are no sales caps on a home. To be able to sell one's home, however, the buyer must income qualify. Thistle or MHA will not choose who the buyer of a home is, but if the home does not sell, they will ask that the sales price be examined. In addition, in the event that the home sits on the market for over (?) months, a policy is being formulated that will allow a home to be sold to someone in a higher income bracket.

Karen Yakouskin inquired about the status of the demonstration home on lot 81. She and other residents have been concerned that this home is an eyesore and was unsure of what what happening with it. Jonathan responded that active arrangements are proceeding and a final agreement is imminent. The home will be remodeled by a group of environmental design students and staff from the University of Colorado. The collaborative nature of the project was described in detail. When this project is finished, by the spring of 2006, the MHA will own an energy efficient home that a market-rate buyer can acquire, which will help the Park's bottom line as well as being a study for how modifications can be made to existing mobile homes anywhere in the country. The MHA's contribution to this project is primarily the donation of the use of the lot, which was previously vacant. Moving and setting costs are being reimbursed by Thistle Community housing, who is also contributing a sizeable amount of money to the remodeling project. The University is also contributing financially through grants. The process of reconstruction should be starting this summer.

Helen Smith asked about the process of replacing a home and what sizes of homes were to be allowed. Etta Habegger responded that once the new site plan for the park was approved by the city, each and every lot would have a designated replacement size. Some lots, because of their small size, could house two-story homes.

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