AURORA, Colo. — A partnership with an Aurora church and Habitat for Humanity will create 20 affordable homes priced under $300,000.
Mountain View United Church has agreed to a 99-year lease, allowing Habitat for Humanity to build on a two-acre lot next to the church. In order for the project to move forward, Aurora City Council had to vote on a measure to rezone the land. Council approved the zoning change Monday night.
"It’s something that we desperately need in the City of Aurora," said Juan Marcano, the Aurora council member who represents the district.
Habitat for Humanity plans to build 10 duplexes with a total of 20 units for the project that's expected to break ground as early as next summer.
Church leaders say they started exploring options for the land back in 2017 with the goal of using it for the common good. They soon decided the best use would be affordable housing.
"Our goal is to make homes, provide homes that are livable, affordable and fit within the neighborhood context," said Rev. Wayne Laws, minister of social justice for Mountain View United Church.
Laws said they began to engage with neighbors in 2018, and made revisions to the original project after hearing their feedback. A group of nearby residents is continuing to voice their opposition, saying that the scope of the project doesn't fit the current neighborhood.
"I think single family houses would be a good fit," said Robert Rivard, a resident who lives near the site. "Parking has been a very big concern."
Officials with Habitat for Humanity call the project innovative and hope it can be a model throughout the Denver metro.
"With the high cost of land in the Denver metro area, we are relying more and more on partnerships with churches and other entities to be able to acquire good, affordable land, so we can provide housing," said Heather Lafferty, CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver.