Affordable housing makes a step forward in Incline Village with acknowledgment of housing roadmap
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev.— The 2023 Washoe Tahoe Housing Partnership’s Housing Roadmap was officially acknowledge by the Washoe County Board of Commissioners at their meeting Tuesday, July 11.
The roadmap was presented by Tahoe Prosperity Center CEO Heidi Hill Drum, and outlines a partnership framework and range of priority goals and actions to address the needs of the community.
The roadmap is aimed at finding collaborate ways that stakeholders in the community, ranging from government to non-profit agencies to business owners, can come together and find ways to create affordable and workforce housing in Incline Village and Crystal Bay.
WCC Chairwoman Alexis Hill has been deeply involved in the effort to bring the roadmap to life, most recently attending a round table discussion with the WTHP committee to better understand the needs of the community and its businesses.
“They are struggling,” said Commissioner Hill. “They are struggling to find employees, and I think that this is one of the many pieces that we’ll be looking at for the whole county to support workforce housing solutions.”
The next steps moving forward now that the board has acknowledged the roadmap is for staff to assess the recommendations and bring them back to the board for consideration to see if there be implantation of any. Recommendations could range from working with other agencies to find housing options in the area, to working on short-term rental policy.
The work being done in Incline Village is a part of a broader priority of the board to address affordable housing in the county. In addition, Washoe County is one of 50 partners that helped create the housing roadmap, which aims to see collaboration on multiple levels.
“There’s a lot of other efforts that are going to be going on separate and distinct from what Washoe County will be doing,” said Washoe County Planning and Building Division Director Kelly Mullen.
Not everyone was on board with the housing roadmap acknowledgment, including Commissioner Michael Clark, who called the concept of building affordable housing in Incline Village, “silly, at best,” and made it clear he does not support the idea of county tax dollars supporting affordable housing in the area.
“You have to go where the affordability is and move there,” said Commissioner Clark.
While transportation options are also being explored by the Tahoe Transportation District and Washoe County, Commissioner Clara Andriola voiced the concern of many in Incline Village.
“The overwhelming agreement amongst various groups who had some disagreements with things was that something needs to be done,” said Commissioner Andriola. “Now how it gets done is where everyone had different suggestions. I think the roadmap certainly lends itself to a framework for the county to actually meet with these stakeholders.”
Chairwoman Hill believes that in order for business and outside agencies to get on board with helping the community, it’s important to see local government be on board as well.
“We have seen both through Mountain Housing Council and through the City of South Lake Tahoe that when government says, ‘Yes, we’re going to look at these solutions,’ the community comes as well,” said Chairwoman Hill. “This is an ‘us’ problem,” said Commissioner Hill. “Not a ‘them’ problem, or a ‘they’ problem. This is what we all need to work together to solve.”
Commissioner Mariluz Garcia mentioned that many people who could not be at the meeting but needed to be advocated for are normally working during meeting hours, and need to be working in order to survive. Therefore, they may not be able to come to every meeting to speak for themselves.
“The families I serve up in Incline are doubled up, multiple family members and children in one bedroom, two bedroom apartments,” said Commissioner Garcia. “Those are the folks that we need to advocate for.”
Mullen reported that staff would be bringing STR fee changes to the board mid-August, which could be the first step in curbing the housing crisis in Incline Village. The county is currently accepting input from the community on the issue.
To watch the entire meeting visit http://www.washoecounty.gov/bcc/board_committees/index.php.
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