MU-Extension, in consultation with LOREDC, would create a model to rank development sites based on criteria such as environmental risks and nearby infrastructure and services as well as employers and public facilities.

The Lake of the Ozarks Regional Economic Development Council (LOREDC) Area Housing Task Force is considering purchasing a housing information data system that would rank available lots for development in the tri-county area.

The task force met last Wednesday to hear a proposal from Michele Kroll, a Community Development Specialist with the University of Missouri Extension for additional layers to be built on existing Geographic Information System (GIS) framework already being accessed by local governments.

According to the proposal, the scope of services would be provided at a one-time cost of $2,500 to be paid for out of LOREDC funds. LOREDC is expected to consider the proposal at their next meeting on Oct. 19.

“I think this would put us ahead of anybody else in the state of Missouri,” Camdenton City Administrator Jeff Hancock said, who serves as a committee member and vice-chair on two of the implementation sub-committees.

MU-Extension, in consultation with LOREDC, would create a model to rank development sites based on criteria such as environmental risks and nearby infrastructure and services as well as employers and public facilities.

The spatial data bases would be built in the existing ArcGIS framework and include at a minimum: aerial photography or satellite imagery; detailed surface transportation with traffic counts for major roads; important facilities such as hospitals, schools, and emergency services; data that classifies buildings by primary uses; government boundaries; detailed hydrology; and census, demographic and housing data; parcel boundaries from the assessor’s offices; and data from the Center for Economic Studies in the Bureau of the Census.

“It’s further information to help developers with the decision-making process,” Kroll said.

Once the data is built, the plan would be publish and share it with local governments to be easily accessed by citizens and potential developers, most likely through city hall buildings. For those that do not have access to ArcGIS software, some data will be able to be accessed and transferred using the Google Earth application.

Other Ideas Discussed

Hancock, along with Roger Corbin, a LOREDC board member and vice chair of the task force committee, also presented updates on other aspects of the committee’s approach to developing more affordable housing to attract employers to the region.

The task force is hoping to connect with various education programs through local districts to explore possible building trade partnerships. Hancock said he has arranged to meet with Eldon Superintendent Matt Davis, Lake Area Technical Center Director Jackie Jenkins, and School of the Osage Assistant Principal Stacey Johnson.

Eldon actually has a building trade program through its vocational tech institute, while Camdenton’s LCTC has a variety of related programs that could be connected. State Fair Community College could also be a potential partner.

Corbin provided a recap from a recent meeting with Phil Steinhaus, Director of the Columbia Housing Authority.The formation of a community land trust, a 501c3 organization, would allow for the public purchase of land that would later be rented as sites for new homes. Owners would be able to purchase the actual home, but the land would remain in the trust, Corb explained.

There’s also the use of Low Income Tax Credits, through the Community Reinvestment Act, which Corbin said investors today purchase like commodities.

According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the program was established to incentive the acquisition and development or rehabilitation of affordable housing units.

“The equity capital generated from the tax credits lowers the debt burden on LIHTC properties, making it easier for owners to offer lower, more affordable rents; while investors, such as banks, obtain a dollar-for-dollar reduction in their federal tax liability,” according to its’ website.

Corbin also discussed involving the Community Action Agency, based in Richland, which could form a Community Housing Development Organization and be eligible to receive U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department funding.

Other groups, programs and organization the committee plans to explore include the Missouri Housing Development Corporation, other Council of Local Governments around the state, and existing Certified Development Companies, nonprofit corporations who work with the U.S. Small Business Administration and private-sector lenders to provide financing through the CDC/504 Loan Program.

“Workforce housing is really what it’s all about,” Corbin said.

The group also heard from Jeff Segin of McClure Engineering who presented several packets of information related to community housing examples from Iowa that offered various types of incentives for both developers and home owners.

Segin explained the concept of a “Housing 360 Financing Partnership” whereas in the cost is shared equally, four ways by Develop/Builder; Other Investors/Private Individuals; Local Economic Development; and Local Government. The goal being that local governments would use local sub-contractors and potential local investors to invest in their own community and also make a return profit.

Some examples of incentives offered through the Iowa community projects included discounts on water and sewer services provided by local governments, ‘welcome to the community’ packets compiled by local businesses that offered free event tickets, gym memberships and other discounts for new home purchases, and investor incentives helped by state and federal governments through various housing rehabilitation and development acts and programs.

The plans also included various model options built to different sizes and specifications with estimated cost breakdowns for each add-on or increase in lot size.

“It’s not just Iowa, it’s not just Missouri,” Segin said. “It’s a national problem.”