FARMINGTON — City councilors could bring Farmington's long-awaited affordable housing plan one step closer at their meeting Tuesday.

The council will discuss an ordinance to donate or sell city-owned land at discounted rates for affordable housing developments in the region.

"If you really think about it, it's an economic development tool," said Mary Holton, director of the Community Development Department.

Without the ordinance, the city is not legally allowed to release property at discounted rates or donate it to developers.

Developers and home builders have already approached the city, Holton said.

"There's been a level of interest for a while now," she said.

But affordable housing development has been hampered by high land costs.

One factor driving up prices in the region is the low availability of private land for development, Councilor Dan Darnell said.

Among other challenges, the city also must figure out how to create a business-friendly environment for developers while guaranteeing that the housing remains affordable for the end consumer, he said.

"How do you make all of those stars align," Darnell asked.

He hopes Tuesday's meeting will lead to some answers, and is happy to see a long and arduous process drawing to a close.

"It's a welcome sight that the end is somewhere near," he said.

Councilor Mary Fischer agrees that action to remedy the city's housing situation is necessary, but says the city needs to be cautious.


"I think the motivation is a good one, but I think we have to be careful about how we implement it," Fischer said. "The lack of affordable housing has always been an impediment in Farmington, but I still have some reservations because these types of (plans) have been abused in other communities."