Ken Young

Community Development Director Ken Young

One day after releasing a survey on affordable housing, Rapid City officials said that a local policy encouraging its development could be introduced this fall.

"We would hope that by September we will be able to go forward to City Council with this," City Community Development Director Ken Young said on Friday.

One of several goals included in the city's current comprehensive plan, the development of affordable housing, has been repeatedly singled out by local elected officials as one of greatest challenges that Rapid City faces. The term affordable housing generally refers to housing that costs less than 30 percent of a family's gross income.

There is an estimated shortage in Rapid City of approximately 3,500 owner-occupied housing units costing $899 or less per month, according to a 2018 study by the Black Hills Knowledge Network. That same study also found a need for approximately 1,500 more rental units with gross rents of $500 or less per month.

Median household incomes fell by 3.2 percent between 2010 and 2016, according to the study, while real median home prices increased by 11.5 percent.

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Speaking to reporters at the City and School Administration Center on Friday, Young said there are several policy amendments the city could make to begin to address those shortfalls.

One possibility, he said, would be to alter lot size requirements to allow for the development of tiny homes, which are typically smaller than 400 square feet. Young previously said tiny homes could be located in the Shepherd Hills West subdivision, a sister project to Dream Design International's recently announced Shepherd Hills subdivision.

Another option, Young said, would be to lower permitting costs for home builders. A full schedule of permitting fees can be found on the city's website.

The city is also taking another run at developing an ordinance to allow property owners to build accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, sometimes called granny flats or pool houses. Young said an ADU in Rapid City would  have to be built on a permanent foundation if it stands separately from a single-family dwelling, or it could be built as an addition.

The city has previously said that ADUs present an opportunity for elderly residents to live close to their families while still maintaining a level of independence and privacy.

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— Contact Matthew Guerry at matthew.guerry@rapidcityjournal.com

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