Affordable Housing (Part 2)

I have turned away yet another family that would only desire to be
homeowners in Pagosa Springs. “How much can you afford?” I asked. The
answer that came across my desk would have been very sufficient to
provide a 3 bedroom 2 bath home with views and all a couple of years
ago. Unfortunaltly now the very bottom of the market for a single
family home has perched itself between 200k and 225K.
Without getting into the details of all of the market influences, I
would like to discuss the one that seems to be at the heart of the
issue. Water, H2O, Liquid life.
At first glance you would not recognize Pagosa for what it really
is…High desert. Yes we are at the base of Wolf Creek which gleans on
average 450 inches of snowfall per year. At 7600 feet, Aspen, Spruce
and Pine trees abound.Not to mention The San Juan River, and Four Mile
Creek which supply this area. Oh but take a Sunday drive no more than
1/2 an hour southwest and soon you will see the reality of it all.
High desert.
How has Pagosa Springs as a city and Archuletta County chosen to
combat the supply (water) and demand (major growth) issue that we
face? Ask any builder and he will quickly tell you of 2 ways.
1- Water Resource Fee – At $6,343.00 per vacant land lot in the
Pagosa Lakes Area. This fee is primarily to ensure future water
resources, such as the Dry Gulch Resevoir. It was put in place June of
06, and goes up to an even $7,000.00 in May of 07…Oh Goody.
2- Capital Investment Fee – This little jewel is based on the
square footage of the home to be built on said lots. Invented…yes I
used the word invented, to secure functionality of water and sewage
treatment for PAWS (Pagosa Area Sanitation and Water System)
customers. This was put in place roughly the same time that the
Resource Fee was. It will go from $2.50 per square to $2.77 this year.
In a nutshell, to build a 1350 square foot home in the Pagosa Lakes
Area you will have to throw down $9718.00 of cash for just these two
fees alone before you can put a shovel in the ground of your new
building site. Couple this with lot cost, county and PLPOA permit
fees, surveys, electric connection, water usage fees….etc., and at
the low end of the totem pole you are spending around 53,000 to just
get started!
After all of this, I would still choose Pagosa Springs as my home
over any of the other 17 cities that I have lived. I guess we will
just chalk it up to the cost of living in paradise!….More to come on
this topic.

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