Affordable Housing Plan meetings begin Monday

Kevin Wilson

The debate on the city’s affordable housing plan — to be decided in an Aug. 2 special election — is hitting every district of the city.

City officials are pushing a citywide town hall, scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday at the north annex of the Clovis-Carver Public Library, and five follow-up “neighborhood meetings” over the following two weeks.

Community Development Director Claire Burroughes said all meetings will include a presentation of the plan, an explanation on what the plan can and cannot do and a question-and-answer session.

“The difference between them will be,” Burroughes said, “at the (citywide) town hall, Joseph Montoya (of the state Mortgage Finance Authority) will be there. I believe that Steve Crozier is going to be joining us via Skype.”

Crozier is owner of Tierra Realty in Taos, which has a $12.8 million plan to renovate the Hotel Clovis. But he is seeking up to $1.4 million in help from the city, in the form of grants and loans that could be made possible should an affordable housing plan be enacted.

The affordable housing plan allows an exception to the state’s anti-donation clause for the purpose of affordable housing.

The anti-donation clause states that the city cannot “directly or indirectly lend or pledge its credit, or make any donation to or in aid of any person, association, or public or private corporation.” It passed May 5 on a 6-1 vote, with Randy Crowder voting no.

Commissioners in favor of the plan point to the renovation of the Hotel Clovis city landmark and the need for new housing for incoming personnel at Cannon Air Force Base.

Crowder said the plan created an uneven playing field for builders and would allow future builders to extract taxpayer-funded benefits they wouldn’t otherwise receive, including forgiveness on permit fees.

The High Plains Patriots citizens group sided with Crowder and gathered enough petitions to force the referendum election. Ordinances that change city policy are subject to referendum elections if, within 30 days, petitions are submitted with signatures of registered voters within the city limits, in excess of 20 percent of the previous municipal election turnout.

Kim Runyan, HPP president, said the group is contacting the neighborhood meeting hosts sites to plan informational meetings of their own. But she said in any case, members will be at all the city meetings with information of their own.

“Our biggest complaint is this grows government and government spending,” Runyan said. “(Taxpayer dollars) shouldn’t be given away. The state is broke, the government is broke, and we have to stop this.”

Runyan said Hotel Clovis doesn’t require an affordable housing plan to be renovated, and the plan would have implications beyond the hotel project — which, in itself, would be tied to affordable housing for decades.

Included in her concerns are the possibility of lawsuits should the city ever want to roll back the plan or certain sections, the ability of Crozier to recoup many expenses with taxpayer dollars and the plan’s creation of a five-member committee that would recommend potential affordable housing projects.

“This committee will have that kind of power,” Runyan said, “and it is just open for corruption.”

There is at least one meeting in each of the city’s four districts, with two in District 2, Burroughes said, because the district covers more land mass than the others. Meetings, Burroughes said, are not limited to residents of each district.

Crowder said he would not be taking part in the town hall meetings.

Polling places

Polling places for the Aug. 2 special election. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

If a citizen needs clarification as to where they would vote they may call LeighAnn Melancon at 763-9632 or Joanne King at 763-9631.

If you live in District 1:

• Mesa Elementary, 4801 N. Norris

Precincts 17, 37 and 35

• Zia Elementary, 2400 N. Norris

Precinct 18

• Zia Elementary, 2400 N. Norris

Precinct 19

• Yucca Middle School, 1500 Sycamore

Precinct 24

If you live in District 2:

• Marshall Middle School, 100 Commerce Way

Precincts 21, 22, 26 and the portion of Precinct 20 between Ninth and 17th streets

• Yucca Middle School, 1500 Sycamore

Precincts 23, 27 and 32

• Lockwood Elementary School, 400 Lockwood

Precincts 5, 28 and 33

If you live in District 3:

• Clovis High School Freshman Campus, 1400 Cameo

Precincts 7, 8, 9, 31 and the portion of Precinct 20 south of Ninth Street

• Roy Walker Community Center, 203 Merriwether

Precincts 6 and 25

If you live in District 4:

• Highland Elementary School, 100 E Plains

Precincts 13, 14, 15 and the portion of Precinct 20 north of 17th Street

• Sandia Elementary Schools, 2801 Lore

Precincts 10, 11 and 12