Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Leavenworth's Housing Advisory Committee holds inaugural meeting


LEAVENWORTH – The newly formed Housing Advisory Committee had its inaugural meeting on Feb. 15. Members came together for the first time to establish its purpose, meeting schedule, and operating procedures as it moves forward.

The idea for the Housing Advisory Committee was created last March by the Housing Committee, which was composed primarily of City Council members. 

“There was quite a healthy discussion on what this committee would be focused on. Would it include looking at code regulations or would it include more policy direction, or where do we need the help with housing? Where was the gap?” said Community Development Director Lilith Vespier.


The Housing Committee recommended that the Advisory focus on how to spend the $200,000 a year in city funds designated for housing, look for options for funding land purchases and/or housing construction, and review city-owned land. It would also review housing development projects requesting city funds and explore options for infrastructure improvements that promote housing options. Housing Advisory Committee members expressed interest in dialing in on funding land purchases and exploring infrastructure improvements. 

City residents and appointees Tracie Smith, Justin Horvath, Luke Dixon, Karen Haire, Caroline Moser, and City Council Member Zeke Reister were at the meeting. Ted Jenneskens and Kurt Peterson, both representing the Urban Growth Area (UGA), were also in attendance. Appointee Stacey Hurd and Council Member Clint Strand are also on the committee but were unable to attend.

The Committee appointed Justin Horvath as Chair of the Committee. Horvath works in real estate and has been a resident of Leavenworth for about five years. Karen Haire, a resident of Leavenworth since 1981, was appointed Vice Chair. The positions are subject to change as the group gets to know each other and the needs of the committee. 

Committee members will review the proposed bylaws and discuss changes at the next meeting on March 28. The Housing Advisory agreed to meet every fourth Thursday of the month in the late afternoon. The exact time is yet to be determined. The group agreed to make the meetings an hour, with the option to extend to a half hour when discussing topics that require more time.

Taylor Caldwell: 509-433-7276 or taylor@ward.media


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