Affordable housing gets a break

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By Kirsten Laskey

The Los Alamos County Council Tuesday in a move to boost affordable housing approved a process that will give developers a discount on land.

Called the Land Donation and Land Discount Program, a system will be created to use public land in a cost-effective way, said Steven Brugger, housing programs manager.

“It’s to make it easier for builders to provide affordable housing for lower-income households,” he said. “The cost of land is a significant component of the total cost of building a home so by reducing that cost we can help promote affordability.”

Under the program, a land donation will be made to developers when all of the units would be provided to households that are 50 percent below the area’s median income.

Developers would get a land discount when a housing project commits to sell to households that are 50-80 percent of the median income.

The amount of the discount or donation would be included in a promissory note payable to the county and secured by a second mortgage. The mortgage and the note would be forgiven at the end of the affordability period.

The money from the note would then be returned to the affordable housing fund.

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