By George Prentice | 2 July 2022 | Boise State Public Radio News
Some call it “workforce housing,” others call it “community housing,” but what they have in common is the effort to provide a place to live that is affordable … in any community.
“There is no silver bullet or one entity that can pull this off,” said Michelle Groenevelt, Economic Development Director for the City of McCall. “It’s going to take the whole community and all of our partners pulling together to actually make it happen.”
In what many are calling a “game-changer,” McCall City Council is set to consider the adoption of a detailed blueprint, titled, The McCall Area Local Housing Action Plan.
Just prior to the meeting, Groenevelt visited with Morning Edition host George Prentice to talk about the plan, its specific goals and McCall’s so-called “superpower.”
“We want to stay a real community. We don’t want to just be a resort. So, housing is critical to all of those efforts.”
Visit Boise State Public Radio to listen to the broadcast or read the full transcript below:
GEORGE PRENTICE: It’s Morning Edition on Boise State Public Radio News. Good morning. I’m George Prentice. Well, here we are on the eve of the 4th of July holiday weekend. And for many people we think of McCall… we have spent many Independence Days there. And there’s a lot more than fireworks going on in McCall. Indeed, there’s very big news that will be happening later today. Michelle Groenvelt is the Economic Development Director for the City of McCall. Michelle, good morning.
MICHELLE GROENEVELT: Good morning.
PRENTICE: We see that the McCall City Council will be considering an adoption of … and I want to get the title right, the McCall Area Local Housing Action Plan. And everything I’ve seen about this plan is that when it comes to the increasing challenge of affordable housing, this could be a bit of a game changer for the city.
GROENEVELT: It’s a really exciting opportunity. We basically have developed an action plan with a number of community partners that outlines the timeline for some action strategies to create housing in McCall.
PRENTICE: For the record, the city can create a housing authority. I’m fascinated by this. So to a layperson… how does that work?
GROENEVELT: So there’s actually a specific state code that defines how a housing authority can be created. So that is one of the recommendations that came out of this action plan. And so, we’ll be looking on working with the city and hopefully the county on creating a housing authority for the McCall area.
PRENTICE: Will the plan have suggested or specific targets or goals over X period-of-time?
GROENEVELT: Absolutely. There are some really specific goals that are established in this plan. There are basically three major goals. First of all, it’s targeting specific income levels for both rentals and for sale products. We’re also looking at trying to create 50 units per year on average within the next five years. And then our third goal is we want to increase local occupancy of homes to 40% from the current 27% of homes. And that would bring us back to where we were at in 2010.
PRENTICE: I’ve just taken some quick notes here. You said 50. Is that per-year? An average per-year?
PRENTICE: One of the things I was fascinated by this in one of the recent workshops when some of the folks who helped put together the blueprint, they made a point of calling McCall’s local option tax a “super power.” And indeed, that’s what distinguishes McCall and very few resort communities… with a local option tax. Your LO actually has housing built into it.
GROENVELT: Yes, we did build local housing implementation into the last version of our local option tax.
PRENTICE: The plan…and I want to be specific here, the McCall “Area” Local Housing Action Plan. So, talk to me about that. This could include more than just what’s in the city limits?
GROENEVELT: So currently the city of McCall does administer both building permits as well as planning and zoning for Valley County. So, we work really closely with them. We have a joint planning and zoning commission, and we do a lot of the planning for the McCall area. So, it’s the area that surrounds the city limits and I think people who live in McCall area, even though technically it’s the county, they feel like they’re in McCall. So, we thought it was important to expand to that region because it’s similar market as well as has a similar feel kind of based on our planning.
PRENTICE: So that will be an important step for you? To turn to the county?
GROENEVELT: Absolutely. Yeah, we’ll be reaching out to the county. They were involved in this process. We’ll be asking them to adopt the action plan and then ultimately having conversations with them about establishing a housing authority.
PRENTICE: Michelle I’m assuming this is much more than a job… this is your home. So, what’s the buzz? This has to be the talk of the town.
GROENEVELT: Absolutely. Yeah. Housing is the number one priority from this current city council as well as I think the community. There’s a lot of talk about housing as it impacts our workforce… just affordability and livability and really, we strive to… we want to stay a real community. We don’t want to just be a resort. And so, housing is critical to all of those efforts.
PRENTICE: What do you think the chance is of having this action plan in place by the end of this year?
GROENEVELT: Well, we’re hoping that the city council and all of our community partners adopt this plan or accept this plan. And really, there is no silver bullet or one entity that can pull this off. It’s going to take the whole community and all of our partners pulling together to actually make it happen.
PRENTICE: And do you have a sense of the appetite for this? Talk to me about the feedback.
GROENEVELT: I think folks are really eager for implementation. There’s a number of people and agencies that have been working on housing to date. What this really does is it gives us a very clear roadmap. So, we’re all pulling together and utilizing resources efficiently and establishing priorities for how we’re going to tackle this issue.
PRENTICE: Michelle Groenevelt is the Economic Development Director for the City of McCall. Michelle, have a grand time. My gosh, what a great place to live…I know because I used to live there… on the 4th of July. Enjoy all of the fun. But my goodness. Boy, do you have work to do.
GROENEVELT: Thanks so much. Thanks for having me.
Find reporter George Prentice on Twitter @georgepren
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