Whitefish developer offers cash in lieu of affordable housing

April 1, 2019

The developer of a workforce housing project off U.S. 93 S. has asked the Whitefish City Council to consider accepting cash in lieu of 10 affording housing units that were to be included in the development.

Mark Panissidi, managing member of Alta Views - a 166-unit housing development under construction - has asked the city to consider an amendment to a 2018 affordable housing agreement between the city and Alta Views, and proposes a 450,000 for the 10 required units. The 240,000 apiece and five at 285,000. Using an average of the sales price agreed to with the developer, of 228,000 per unit, but this particular project agreement wasn’t passed under the inclusionary zoning regulations.

“The Housing Authority believes that while we very much would like to have affordable housing units, with the current agreement in place our community would receive a greater benefit by allowing the developer to pay a cash-in-lieu of providing the 10 units,” Davis said. “Put simply, we believe it would be better to have five units at a lower price point than 10 units at a marginal price point. Cash-in-lieu would allow the housing authority to deploy the funds to better effect.”

Whitefish Planning Director David Taylor said after discussing the matter with the city attorney, rather than the cash-in-lieu being an arbitrary number, it was determined it should be based on what would have been required of the original developer at the time of the planned-unit development approval. That agreement set the cash-in-lieu fee at 498,000. That’s the figure being recommended for City Council approval.

In other business, the council will hold a public hearing to consider the city-initiated rezoning of 22 acres of land north of JP Road and west of U.S. 93 S. from county one-family residential to Whitefish one-family limited residential zoning.

A second public hearing will consider a request from Henry Roberts of Half Full, LLC, for a conditional-use permit to construct a professional office building that exceeds 4,000 square feet in gross floor area at 643 Denver St.

The council will consider an application from Brett Wrathall for a Whitefish Lakeshore variance at 430 Parkway Drive for placement of large boulders and a standard permit for stone stairs and gravel application.

The Whitefish Convention and Visitors Bureau will present its marketing plan and budget for fiscal year 2020.

At a work session from 5:30 to 7 p.m. the council will first discuss an update to the city’s small wireless facilities ordinance, and then will conduct the council’s annual goal-setting session.

Both the work session and regular meeting at 7:10 p.m. will be held at Whitefish City Hall.

News Editor Lynnette Hintze may be reached at 758-4421 or lhintze@dailyinterlake.com.