~ by Bob Volpe ~
A group of concerned citizens has formed a group to fight the approval of Pete LaBarre’s proposed Tamarac Village manufactured homes’ project.
A spokesperson for the group, Maria Sinel, said her group plans to appeal the project through the city’s Board of Adjustment. She said, “Once the city sets the precedent, they will have to approve all similar projects, and Woodland Park is going to change forever, and it will be irreparable. Woodland Park will never be the same this happens. The city will have to approve similar projects, which are huge moneymakers for developers, but generate no property taxes for 53 residents in Woodland Park will become a congested eyesore. We citizens will have to pay for the wear and tear on our city every time one of these mobile home parks goes up.”
Sinel went on to say, “Our story needs to be told, and the misrepresentations of Pete LaBarre need to be dispelled, once and for all.
“He presents his Village at Tamarac project as a panacea that meets everyone’s needs. In fact, the only needs he’s meeting are those of the lining of his pants pockets. It benefits him and his partners, and hurts the citizens of Woodland Park, and hurts the tax base for the citizens of Woodland Park. In other words, what these 53 homes will do is cause wear-and-tear to our city, and we will have to pay for it, because the bread and butter of the city’s bank account is our property taxes.”
The project will build 53 manufactured homes on 6.7 acres of prime real estate.
Other concerns of the group include; lowering adjoining property values, the risk of foreclosure if the developers raise the lot fee and homeowners miss a payment, thus, returning the home to the developer.
Affordable Housing Benefits In Question
According to Sally Riley, the city’s planning director, the modular-home development is a permitted use under the multi-family residential/suburban district. Each modular home is 506 square feet.
As a permitted use, the project did not have to go to the city council for approval. This fact has raised a rankle of concerns from residents. However, the developer must go before council in August for approval of the water taps needed to proceed with the project.
Officials have touted the project as a good way to help meet the city’s growing affordable housing shortage. Moreover, they cite the need to provide housing for local workers. But in Woodland Park, these types of bids are often met with a considerable amount of resident opposition. In the last few years, a number of housing ventures have triggered much angst by local neighbors, who say this more urban-type development will destroy their quality of life.
LaBarre responded to the objections. He said, “There are no starter homes in Woodland Park for the average person. There are jobs that go unfilled because people can’t afford to live here.”
Sinel and her group plan to flood the city council’s forthcoming meeting to speak against the approval of the project’s water taps. A concrete date for the water tap public hearing before the council has yet to be posted.