Affordable Housing in Laramie: What’s Being Done
Housing in Laramie, like much of the rest of Wyoming, is expensive. The City of Laramie has been working for the last several years to make housing more affordable, but as City Planning Manager Derek Teini said, “There’s no silver bullet.”
The city can’t “make” housing more affordable. “A different conversation is “how does the city help make housing more affordable?”
Several things, it turns out. City Council member Micah Richardson said the council has visited with a number of organizations seeking solutions because “Laramie has a “missing middle.” thinking about growth and business, businesses won’t move her because of the cost of housing.
The middle-income families are struggling. We need affordable middle-class housing that is affordable and well-built.”
The biggest, but also long-game goal is what Teini called “Typology”: a mix of housing options since “Laramie will not solve our housing needs with single-family homes.”
Teini said this looks like private development doing different kinds of proposals for a variety of housing. Row houses, and apartment buildings of various sizes and geared toward different populations.
“When options are available in your community, you’re able to provide the ability for people to move their housing based on their housing needs. A comfortable, affordable place that has enough bedrooms is equally important to having someone be able to purchase a home,” Teini said.
Richardson noted the huge costs to builders for installing or connecting to sewer, electrical, or gas lines, so the council is looking for ways to defray those costs and make development more attractive.
Three housing projects are currently in the works:
Cornerstone: Affordable housing in the Turner Tract across from Laramie High School. The city will be selling the land for 20% off and Cornerstone will offer tiered rents ranging from 30-60 percent of Albany County median income. The project represents 4.2 percent of overall unit needs in Laramie.
West Slope: Over 200 lots on north 30th Street; developers are proposing a rezoning to include multi-family development along with single-family and small twin-home style housing.
Ridgeline: 32 proposed lots on 30th and Harney.
A few changes the city has made are not requiring garages in some new builds, altering parking requirements, moving residential setbacks from 10 feet to five feet, reducing fees for developers, changing landscaping requirements, and incentivizing property improvements.
Richardson and Teini both stressed the city is working on multi-faceted approaches for city growth and accessible housing, now and in the future.
“We’re helping to move the needle to more affordable housing in sustainable ways,” Teini said.
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