Del Norte seats new trustees, weighs in on potential housing study

Del Norte Town swore in Trustees Leigh Anne Lobato, Bob Muncy and Brenton Williams during their meeting on April 13.

DEL NORTE — The Del Norte Town Board swore in their new and re-elected Trustees on April 13.

Re-elected Trustees Leigh Anne Lobato and Bob Muncy and new trustee Brenton Williams were welcomed to the board and took their Oath of Office at the beginning of the meeting after the consent agenda was approved. 

During the consent agenda, Del Norte Police Chief Frank Archuleta asked the board to sign a memorandum of understanding between the department and the Alamosa Sheriff's Department which will provide mental health services through a grant recently obtained from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs. 

The purpose of the state Department of Local Affairs Peace Officer Mental Health Grant is to provide mental health services to local peace officers through grant funding and reduce the stigma of receiving help and ensure every officer knows where to go to seek help if needed. Board members voted to sign the memorandum of understanding and moved on to the next item on the agenda.

The board then heard from TJ Brown, who on behalf of his family was asking for financial support from the Town of Del Norte to pursue an Affordable Housing Incentives Grant Program through the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA). Brown and his family own a 40-acre parcel of land to the east of Del Norte that they are willing to use for a housing development if the study funded through the grant determines that it is feasible to do so.

Brown explained that through conversations with DOLA it was suggested that his family pursue this grant to complete a housing study on the land that the family owns which would determine whether or not a housing development could be built on the land. Brown and his family were requesting the Town of Del Norte help with matching funds for the grant which would total $20,000 for the study and matching funds of $4,000.

Del Norte Town Administrator Bernadette Martinez worked with Brown to complete the grant and submitted it to DOLA for review.

Town Mayor Chris Trujillo was not in favor of supplying the matching funds to the family for the grant because the property in question was privately owned and if the grant was not awarded, the Town would be out the $4,000. 

Trustee Lobato and Trustee Shelly Burnett suggested that the matching funds be split between the family and the town making it more affable for everyone. Brown also explained that if the study finds that the land is useable for a housing development, the homes built would be consistent with the San Luis Valley Housing Study conducted through the San Luis Valley Housing Coalition earlier this year and would be built to remain affordable based on that study.

Brown continued to explain that the property could and would be annexed into the Town of Del Norte which would create taxes from utilities when and if the homes are constructed. At the end of the conversation, the board voted to approve the memorandum of understanding contingent upon the approval of the grant and the agreement to annex the land if homes were built on the property.

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