Survey to gauge housing needs
Employers in Fairfield are being asked to complete a survey about the housing needs of their employees.
The survey is the result of a joint effort between the city of Fairfield, the Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce and the Fairfield Economic Development Association. The three entities plan to share the survey data with developers to encourage them to build in the area. They also plan to use the data to form their own long-term development plans.
Fairfield Mayor Ed Malloy said he believes Fairfield is suffering from a lack of housing.
“Our housing stock, whether it’s homes to buy or rent, is as low as it’s ever been,” he said. “We want to use the study to entice developers to look at our market, at the available land we have, to encourage new housing projects.”
Malloy said many Fairfield businesses have grown in recent years, which he said was great but the city has run out of places for those businesses’ employees.
“Cambridge Investments has grown from four employees to 500 in 17 years, which is going to put a demand on your housing stock,” he said.
The most recent housing survey in Fairfield was done in 1992. Malloy said that survey revealed a pent-up demand for housing from first-time homebuyers and a need for more senior housing.
“We found a lot of Fairfield’s workforce that was living outside Jefferson County but that wanted to buy homes in Fairfield,” Malloy said.
Armed with the newly acquired survey data, FEDA and the city joined forces to spur housing development in town. FEDA purchased lots on the south side of town which became the Southview housing complex.
The city launched the first tax increment financing project in its history to encourage housing at Southview and at another development across town, Carrington Point Apartments.
Malloy said the city went through a period from the late 1990s through the mid-2000s when housing was plentiful in the city.
He said the large housing stock was attributable to the large number of residents who built Vastu homes, leaving their former homes open for first-time homebuyers.
“While that transition was going on, a lot of houses were on the market,” Malloy said. “That slack has been taken up and many of those homes have been sold. Our situation today is one where we have a shortage of new and used housing.”
Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce executive director Nancy Morrissey said she has heard from people who say too little housing is available in Fairfield.
She said Fairfield has seen its share of housing developments through the years, but nothing as large as the addition of Park Place, the housing built after the first survey southwest of the Fairfield Middle School.
Morrissey said she frequently receives compliments from visitors who admire Fairfield’s new Vastu homes as well as the town’s classical Victorian homes.
The Area 15 Regional Planning Commission prepared the survey on behalf of the three entities. It sent the survey to local employers via email earlier this month. Employers were asked to return the surveys to Tracy Vance, FEDA’s executive director, at 605 S. 23rd St. Suite 102 in Fairfield. Employers who did not receive a survey, but would like to fill one out should call 472-3436.