FARMINGTON —City Council will consider taking steps to release city-owned property for affordable housing development.

The proposed ordinance received Planning and Zoning Commission approval Sept. 27. It expands the amount of city land, buildings and infrastructure available for donation or discount on a case-by-case basis. The ordinance will be discussed at the Oct. 16 council work session.

"In order to be able to donate land, we have to adopt the ordinance," said city Senior Planner Cynthia Lopez.

San Juan County experienced an increase in demand for affordable housing. The 2012 San Juan County Partnership Needs Assessment listed affordable housing sixth in its list of 15 community needs. 81 percent of the sample size of 452 residents indicated availability of affordable housing as a major problem.

"There is a tremendous need," said Tres Rios Habitat for Humanity Board of Directors President Joe Morris. "I think that as I look around, there seems to be a fair amount of unused land."

Any effort by the city to subsidize the purchase of this land for affordable housing would be welcome, he said.

The city of Farmington adopted an affordable housing plan on May 24, 2011. It identified affordable rental housing as the county's greatest need, not only for current renters, but for current homeowners who are being forced to downsize because of the recession as well.


The plan's housing assessment found that nearly one fifth of homeowners and more than a third of renters pay more than 30 percent of their incomes on housing.

In addition, the plan found that housing conditions are deteriorating.

"Because of the tight rental market, landlords are not motivated to make improvements to their properties," the plan said. "Local housing service providers have reported substandard and dangerous conditions in some living situations."