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Lovell Chronicle
Lovell , Wyoming
March 25, 2010     Lovell Chronicle
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March 25, 2010

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www. LovellChronicle.com March 25, 2010 I The Lovell Chronicle I 7 BY DAVID PECK Town officials from Lovell and Cowley listened to a presentation about the recent Housing Needs As- sessment for the two com- munities Tuesday, and now it's the public's turn. Billie Kirkham of Kirkham & Associates of Riverton gave a PowerPoint presentation to members of the Lovell Town Coun- cil, Town Administrator Bart Grant, Mayor Bruce Morrison and Cowley May- or Roland Simmons at the Lovell Town Hall Tuesday at noon. Lovell Inc. Direc- tor Sue Taylor was also on hand for the meeting. A similar presentation for the public, followed by individual meetings with industry-specific groups, will be conducted on Mon- day and Tuesday, April 5-6, at the L0vell Community Center. During the hour and a half presentation, Kirkham said that "decent rental housing" was the number one need in the Lovell-Cow- ley area. "Affordable housing "isn't the issue, decent and desirable is the issue," Kirkham said. Specifically, she said, there is a lack of three- bedroom apartments in the area, with Lovell hav- ing only six of the larger apartments, Cowley none. She said rental housing is needed for teachers, nurses and and a variety of profes- sional workers who want to rent when they first move to'the community to take a job. If they can't find a place to rent in north Big Horn County, they will like- ly rent in Powell while com- muting to Lovell and even- tually buy and settle their families in Powell. Kirkham said over- all housing is affordable in Lovell and Cowley compared . to the rest of Ws, ming and based on the median house- hold income for the area and the weekly wage rate. The "affordable" tag can be affixed to rental housing, home sales and new con- struction, she said, adding, "So what's the issue? Desir- ability, and the availabil- ity of three-bedroom apart- ments and above. There's an inadequate stock." POWERPOINT Kirkham said that the economy in north Big Horn County is "reasonably sta- ble," with the demand for sugar and bentonite prod- ucts, agriculture, tourism, healthcare and education expected to remain steady. She said the area is not sub- ject to the "highs and lows" : of the rest of Wyoming. She also said Lovell and Cowley had demonstrated a stronger household growth : pattern than the rest of the :: county. While the county is estimated to have a mi- nus-l.2 percent population decrease from 2000 through 2008, Lovell and Cowley have continued to grow, Cowley by 9.6 percent. While Lovell experienced a slight decrease in popu- lation (0.2 percent) from 2000-2008, the town did show an estimated 9.8 per- cent increase in the number of homeowner households from 2000-2010. Rental apartments in north Big Horn County are affordable but not always desirable, and while both Lovell and Cowley have seen a decrease in the num- ber of rental households during the past decade and a corresponding increase in homeowner households, it does not mean there is a declining need for rentals, Kirkham said. "The appearance of a decrease in renting house- holds does not mean there is not a need for these com- munities to have additional nice rental units available," Kirkham wrote in her ex- ecutive summary. "The cur- rent situation is problem- atic, and it will continue to force potential new resi- dents to locate in Powell. "The trend is toward ho- meownership in Lovell and Cowley. It appears there is a shift away from rentals. The initial analysis of the area's demographics does not indicate a need for addi- tional units, and it appears that the rental market has reached equilibrium. How- ever, this does not identify or discuss the desirability or livability of existing rent- al properties." Kirham said a physi- cal inventory and survey of Lovell rentals indicates a need for new units to re- place those that need to be demolished, noting, "The higher vacancy rates for these units support this." Kirkham said one real- tor told her that he or she has had to turn away po- tential Lovell and Cowley tenants because there is a lack of "available and desir- able units" for workers with moderate incomes, new workers relocating who are willing to pay $700 to $850 for a "nice rental unit that will fit the needs of their household." The lack of rental units then compels new workers to seek rental housing in Powell, and once a work- er's household is settled in a different community, oth- er factors come into play: children enrolled in school, community activities and relationships and the fact that the worker's spouse may find work in that other community. "The worker's new sense of community and be- longing will be compared to the upheaval and cost of re- locating one's household to the town of employment," Kirkham wrote. "If these quality of life factors are not equal or better in the community of employment, typically the worker will remain in the community where they are renting and purchase a home there There is no benefit to Lovell or Cowley when their work- ers live in Powell. This will have a long-range adverse effect on Lovell and Cow- ley." Other points made by Kirkham include the fact that housing is affordable in Big Horn County - 75 percent of the average cost in the rest of the state; av- erage home sale prices are higher in Lovell ($120,000 in 2009) and in Cowley ($174,000 in 2009) than in Big Horn County as a whole ($109,295), but still low- er than most of the rest of the state; and both rental and new sale housing is aF- fordable based on commu- nity average income. She also said building costs are lower in Big Horn County than in the rest of the state and she found local contrac- tors to be responsive to the needs of the community. REHABILITATION Kirkham said a Wyo- ming Community Develop- ment Authority study in- dicates that the average age of housing stock in Big Horn County is the second highest in Wyoming, so the potential for a housing re- habilitation program in the region is good, with many homes and rentals older than 20 years not having been updated. "Lovell and Cowley need to have some of their older homes rehabilitated to provide adequate living conditions. Neither com- munity has a rehabilita- tion program," Kirkham wrote. "During the physical inventory of Lovell's hous- ing stock, 107 houses and 11 mobile l mes were iden- tified (to in poor condi- tion, indicating a need for UX]I::0:N S LOCATION: .2 Miles East of Cowley on Lane 8 TRACTORS & TRUCKS JD 4020 tractor, diesel, Poweshift trans Year A Round cab, 1606 hmr 15.5-38 rubber, wide front, 3 pt 3 remotes, 540 pto JD 3020 tractor, diesel, ONE OWNER, 7324 hmr 13.6-38 rubber, single front, 3 pt 2 remotes, 540 pto 1975 Dodge 600 truck, V8, side dump, wooden box 1971 International Loadstar 1800 truck, V8, side dump ANTIQUE EQUIPMENT TILLAGE AND HARVESTING NH 718 corn chopper, cutting & pickup heads Dump Chief dump wagon Farmhand F45A manure spreader JD 930 land leveler NH 283 Hayliner baler JD side delivery rake JD cultivator, 6 row, 3 pt. JD corn planter, 6 row, booms, 3 pt. NH 1100 swather Sagebrush defoliator Pull type ditcher IH 3 bottom turn over plow Misc. antique equipment: wooden wheels, Case grain drill, 6 row solid steel wheels, slip scraper, 1 row horse Roller Harrow drawn beet digger, dump rake, manure Eversman tandem disk, 10' Tandem disk improvements. "Thirteen houses and eight mobile homes were classified as a critical hous- ing situation and merit fur- ther inspection since they may need to be demolished. Lovell residents need ac- cess to an owner rehabilita- tion program." Lovell Inc. may play a major role in housing devel- opment in the Lovell area, Kirkham said, but the first step is to work with "stake- holders" and other interest- ed parties during the April 5-6 meetings, which will lead to the development of a housing action plan for the community to follow. Issues touched on Tuesday includ- ed finding places within Lovell's zoning regulations for new apartment housing and the possibility that new rental units may be need- ed in Cowley once the new school is finished. Other recommenda- tions in Kirkham's report include establishing a re- gional housing organiza- tion, evaluating the identi- fied substandard housing stock in Lovell, modifying building permit applica- tions to provide information on manufactured homes, promoting and delivering local consumer education programs, involving em- ployers in housing issues, supporting local contrac- tors and developers who are willing to build specu- lative homes and rental uni.ts, looking into obtain- ing Geographic Information System software and devel- oping a USDA Rural De- velopment 502 home loan application center in north Big Horn County for low-in- come housing. The first steps are the community meetings and developing the housing ac- tion plan. '%Ve want to get as much public input as we can and create a dialogue to craft a housing action plan," Kirkham said. Liberty Bates throws a dart during the 4H Carnival Saturday at the county fairgrounds. Good times at the 4H Carnival KARLA POMEROY PHOTOS Burl Twitchell was one of many kids who had a good time at the 4H Carnival. Twitchell is pictured at the fishing pond event. !:i~!~i:iiiiii!iiiililililili~iiiiiiiiiii~ii!~i~iii~iii~ilili~ ~i~i~i~iii!iiiilili,iliiiiiiiiililililiiiiiiililililililililil :iiiii~i~ili'ii'i'i'ii'ililili~ililililililililililili~' i~,iiiilililililililililililili!ilililililili~ili~ili~ili~i~i~ i~ilililiiiiiiiiiiiiiiilililiiiiiiiiililililiiiiiiiiiiiiiiill~ iiiiiiilililiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!iiiii!iiiii!iii!iiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!i!iil ii!iiiii!i!iiiiiii!iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!iiiiii i!i!i!i!i!i!i!i!i!i!i!i!i!i!iii!iii!i!i!iiiiiii!i!i!i!i!i!i!i! ililililililililiiiiiiiliiiiiiiiiiiiii!iiiiiiiiiii!iiiiiiiiiil iiiiiiiiii!iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Neither rain, nor snow, nor dead of night Why should mailmen have all the fun? Safety - both yours and ours - is our number one priority. 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