The Rangeley Board of Selectmen met on January 3rd via Zoom for their first meeting of 2022.
Matthew Teare (Rangeley Workforce Housing LLC) made a presentation to the Selectmen on an attainable housing market analysis he had prepared by Camoin Associates of Saratoga Springs, NY.  The analysis focused on the housing markets associated with the local and regional workforce.  Attainable housing is generally considered housing that is affordable to households with annual incomes of $35,000.00 to $75,000.00.
A key finding of the analysis is that nearly two thirds of the Rangeley housing stock is occupied by seasonal residents and only 8% of its housing is renter occupied.  Driven by second home buyers, the median sales price of homes increased dramatically during the pandemic.  The median sale price of homes from October 2020 through October 2021 was $304,500.00.  This rise in prices has increasingly put housing beyond the reach of the wage levels of local workers.
The housing situation is causing local businesses to struggle to attract and retain workers.  Approximately 44% of the local jobs are filled by people living outside the Rangeley area.  More than 200 workers commute more than twenty-five miles to their job.  The analysis determined that a development project is market feasible due to a strong unmet demand for attainable housing in Rangeley.
Mr. Teare has an option to purchase a parcel of land on Cross Street where he would like to create an attainable housing development project.  The project is market feasible but Matt indicated that there are financial feasibility constraints that make the project uneconomical when using traditional financing methods.  He is seeking feedback on the Town of Rangeley’s willingness to partner with and support him.  He suggests that the Town could apply for state and federal grants to help fund the project and also return new tax revenue generated by the project back to the developer.
Mr. Teare provided three conceptual plans for the five acre Cross Street property that propose between eleven and thirty dwelling units for the Selectmen’s consideration.  The Selectmen acknowledged the importance of addressing Rangeley’s housing situation.  They thanked him for his presentation and plan to review and discuss his information in a timely manner.
The Town Manager and Police Chief have interviewed applicants for the vacant Rangeley police officer position.  State law requires that towns be reimbursed for their training costs.  This past June the Town of Rangeley received $32,000.00 from Oxford County when a Rangeley officer that the Town paid to have trained at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy went to work for the Oxford County Sheriff’s Department.  The Selectmen authorized the Town Manager to spend up to $50,000.00 to comply with the Basic Law Enforcement Training Program Reimbursement Rules if they hire an officer with training cost obligations.
The Selectmen endorsed signing an agreement with Preti-Flaherty for legal services from January 2022 through June 30, 2025 and to include two one year renewal options.  They also agreed to retain Alyssa Tibbets from the Jensen-Baird law firm as the Town’s TIF (Tax Increment Financing) attorney through June 30, 2022.  The Town will then continue the relationship on a year to year basis for TIF items.
A portion of the Rangeley Comprehensive Plan (2012) has been distributed electronically to members of the Town of Rangeley’s Boards and Committees.  The goals, policies and action strategies component of the Plan includes a timeframe and the responsible entities (Town Manager, Selectmen, Code Enforcement Officer, Ordinance Committee, etc.).  The Comprehensive Plan Review Committee will initiate a review process after the Board and Committee members provide their feedback by March 2022.
The Public Workshop on Chapter 38, Rangeley Zoning Ordinance, is scheduled via Zoom for Monday, January 10th at 6:00pm.  Discussion of the Land Use Tables which control what activities are allowed in each zone and who has the permitting authority will be an important part of this meeting.
An Event Permit was issued to the Rangeley Lakes Snowmobile Club for a fireworks display at the Rangeley Town Park on Saturday, January 22 at 7:00pm.
The next Selectmen’s meeting has been rescheduled to Monday, January 24th at 6:00pm so that it does not conflict with the celebration of Martin Luther King Day.
Due to continued increase in the number of local Covid 19 cases the Town Office remains in mask mode and all meetings are held remotely via Zoom.
Have a healthy and enjoyable 2022!

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