Town of Tusayan considers options for renting and selling properties at Kotzin Ranch

Kotzin Ranch property, located northwest of the town of Tusayan. Loretta Yerian/WGCN

Kotzin Ranch property, located northwest of the town of Tusayan. Loretta Yerian/WGCN

TUSAYAN, Ariz. - As the town of Tusayan gears up for a potential development of its 20-acres at the Kotzin Ranch property it must also determine the best way to sell and rent housing after it is established.

Over the last month the town put on several affordable housing planning sessions for the public to get comments about what king of housing to build. Now the town is looking at how, or if, a housing authority would work for the development.

During the April 22 Town Council meeting, members of the council discussed what a housing authority would look like and if it is appropriate for the town's purposes.

Town Attorney Bill Sims, of Sims Murray, Ltd., recently sent information to the town explaining what steps would be needed to create a housing authority.

Sims, who helped represent the Maricopa County Housing Authority, described some lessons and precautions Maricopa County took during the creation of its housing authority.

According to Sims' letter, the creation of a housing authority would allow a low-income housing developer to help with future land-acquisitions, construction, renovations and rehabilitation projects. Sims also explained that during the process of creating a housing authority, a resolution would need to be made by the town describing the availability of affordable housing for low-income residents, conditions of the housing and the impacts of the conditions to the community. The resolution would then need to be approved and bylaws would need to be drafted and adopted by a housing authority commissioner. According to Sim's letter, the bylaws would establish how the housing authority would operate and how business would be conducted.

Councilmember Bill Fitzgerald said he thought the establishment of a housing authority was premature.

"I believe a housing authority, at this point, is way too early," he said.

Other members of the council agreed and stated they were not looking to establish any type of housing authority at this time, only to obtain information and options in order to determine if a housing authority would be the right option or if the town should look into alternative options to a housing authority.

"We are not asking or telling them (attorneys) to create anything.... just to come back to us with a proposal and suggestion and options and then it may be a housing authority or it may be a trust or it could be an igloo," said Mayor Greg Bryan. "We don't know what it's going to be. They're going to do the initial research, that's what we're asking them to do. Not create a housing authority."

Vice Mayor Craig Sanderson echoed Bryan's comments.

"The problem is we are a unique situation. We are not saying we have bad housing currently its just the why of being able to purchase your own home," he said. "This may be the totally wrong route to take as far as that but we don't know until we get some studies on it to determine what direction we do need to go and what options we have as a community to move forward with a housing development."

Bryan made a motion to proceed with research and councilman Al Montoya seconded the motion.

Because the phrase 'housing authority' had connotations, council members voted to allow a 'creation of a medium that will allow us to sell and rent units on our 20-acres at Kotzin Ranch.'

The motion passed with a unanimous vote, allowing the attorneys to proceed with research and to see if the possible establishment of a housing authority medium is appropriate.

Additionally, Bryan announced a mayoral proclamation of the month of April as Fair Housing Month for the town of Tusayan.

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