The Lafayette City Council unanimously voted Tuesday evening to approve a resolution to spend $12,512,000 for the purchase of 184 Colorado-Big Thompson (C-BT) water rights units as part of a purchase and repayment agreement between Boulder County, the Boulder County Housing Authority, the City of Lafayette and the City of Lafayette Water Enterprise Fund.
The majority of the water units to be purchased are dedicated to the planned 400-unit Willoughby Corner affordable housing development. The remaining 27 water units will be added to the city’s water portfolio.
The Council also approved an emergency ordinance for additional supplemental appropriations for unanticipated 2022 expenditures for the water acquisition to meet the Aug. 8 purchase deadline.
City Administrator Fritz Sprague said the county identified the water purchase opportunity and approached the city with the cost and time advantage the bulk water shares purchase afforded Lafayette.
Sprague called the terms of the ordinance “an extraordinary opportunity to improve the city’s water portfolio, which is water for our future, and to advance affordable housing, which is a community and City Council priority.”
Per municipal code, the Boulder County Housing Authority must provide 157 C-BT units to the Willoughby Corner project in order to meet its public water dedication requirement.
With a cost of $10,676,000 for the dedicated 157 C-BT units, the Boulder County Housing Authority will repay the city 50% of the cost at the final plat approval of the Willoughby Development. The second repayment will be made when the city issues the first building permit for the development that will use more than half of the dedicated water.
Councilmember Nicole Samson expressed support for the water purchase and the opportunity to support the large-scale affordable housing project prior to the vote.
“Typical projects for affordable housing are somewhere between 78 and 120 units. This particular project has a lot of interest, funding and commitment from around the community and the state level,” Samson said. “Moving on something like this quickly is really important.”
Following the unanimous approval of the purchase, Mayor JD Mangat acknowledged the swift effort to put the purchase in front of the City Council.
“I feel like that was a huge lift for our staff and a huge win for our community and our neighboring communities as well,” said Mangat. “So, thank you to everyone that’s been a part of this project so far.”
Boulder Daily Camera
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