Local committee eyes affordable housing study for Lake Placid

LAKE PLACID — Members of the Lake Placid-North Elba Community Development Commission’s Housing Committee want to commission a study of affordable housing needs here.

The proposed three-month study would look at what income range the committee should focus on serving, what housing stock is currently available to people who fall within that income range, what would be considered “affordable housing” for residents of this area, and potential gaps in the housing market.

The North Elba Town Board on Tuesday voted to support the concept of this study.

“I think it’s great that you guys are taking the initiative,” town Councilman Derek Doty said.

The Community Development Commission will need to return to the town board at a later date to request $20,000 from the town’s Adirondack Community Housing Fund to hire a consultant to do this work.

The last time a comprehensive study of affordable housing in the Tri-Lakes was completed was 11 years ago, according to Dean Dietrich, chairperson of the CDC. That study didn’t take the impact of short-term rentals into account.

“While there is plenty of anecdotal evidence regarding housing issues there is no reliable, up-to-date, quantitative analysis available,” the housing committee’s proposal reads. “Public policy questions regarding which types of housing stock to promote should be based upon hard data. Gathering these current numbers is also important for any future grant applications and informing independent developers of market opportunities.”

The CDC was created in 2014 to carry out the town and village’s joint comprehensive plan. One of the objectives of that plan is to “increase the stock and availability of income-based housing in the North Elba/Lake Placid community.”

In its proposal, the commission is considering targeting three income ranges: households that make between $20,000 and $60,000, $60,000 to $90,000 and $90,000 to $120,000.

Dietrich said between the upcoming 2023 World University Games — which are expected to bring 2,500 student-athletes and delegates to the area and housing to accommodate those athletes, which would then be converted to affordable housing — and the potential creation of a short term rental registration program, now is the time to study affordable housing needs.

“What income do we want to target, and how do we want to do that?” Dietrich said. “In order to determine those, we need some more facts.”

The commission plans to coordinate with the Housing Assistance Program of Essex County, officials from the World University Games and potentially the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism to put together a request for proposals for the study in the coming weeks. They intend to put this out to bid next month and start the study in October.

The village and town’s proposed short-term rental regulations are still in draft form. The town board is expected to discuss the law at its next workshop meeting. Town Supervisor Roby Politi said Tuesday the board intends to set a public hearing on the new version of the law sometime in August.

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