Town lands $3.6M for affordable housing
The Town of Truckee netted the largest affordable housing grant in its history last week, when the state approved a $3.6 million request to fund rental housing and loan assistance to first-time homebuyers.The amount is almost four times the town’s second highest affordable housing grant, a $1 million endowment that went toward the development of the affordable units at Riverview Homes. All but $200,000 of the new grant will go toward Gray’s Crossing’s 92 affordable rental units north of Interstate 80 and east of state Route 89. That $3.4 million will be available as a low-interest loan to Pacific Communities, the developer that will build and own the rental units in the Gray’s Crossing development.As part of the development agreement for Gray’s Crossing, the town council will consider a resolution on Thursday that will allow an ownership transfer of the employee housing land and the project’s commercial center. East West Partners, the developer of Gray’s Crossing, is selling the five acres for the rental housing to Pacific Communities for a nominal fee of around $1,000 in order to make the apartments affordable. East West plans to bring the infrastructure to the site during the spring and summer, and with the town’s approval, Pacific Communities will begin work on the site during next year’s building season, said Rick McConn, Gray’s Crossing project manager for East West Partners. As the loan is paid back from rental revenue, the money will become available for other affordable housing needs in town. But that repayment is likely 10 years or more away, said Truckee Community Development Director Tony Lashbrook.Pacific Communities was awaiting word on whether the grant application would be approved before committing to the project. With the grant in place, the project is expected to move through the town’s political process by early next year, said Lashbrook.Pacific Communities specializes in using state affordable housing grants to develop housing projects throughout the West. They have recently worked on projects in Mammoth Lakes and other mountain communities in Idaho, Wyoming and Montana.According to the guidelines of the grant, the rental units will be required to be affordable for 55 years, 25 years longer than directed under the development agreement. They will also be restricted to be rented to the two lowest county income groups – very low and low income earners.The remaining $200,000 of the grant will be used as assistance for first-time homebuyers on any for-purchase housing that prospective buyers can afford. The town expects this money will at least partially be used on the for-sale affordable cottages that will be offered in the Gray’s Crossing subdivision.The town’s success in securing the state grant marks a large success in one of the major areas the Nevada County Grand Jury highlighted as having room for improvement. The county grand jury investigated the affordable housing efforts in all three cities in Nevada County last summer. In an overwhelmingly positive report on Truckee’s efforts, the jury noted that the town should be more aggressive in seeking state and federal grant money. The town’s grant consultant, JoAnn Anders, helped the town identify and apply for the $3.6 million grant.