In town looking for a Sandpoint woman

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An itinerant developer who has trained as an architect and engineer, Hart left the Mediterranean island of Gozo, where he retired among some of the oldest buildings on earth after a four-decade career, and came to Sandpoint inseeking what has drawn so many to the little North Idaho city: a good quality of life.

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He took a seasonal job at Schweitzer, deed and built his own home, and intended to enjoy the outdoors in his semiretirement. After decades of mostly steady increases, the relative affordability that drew him to the area had disappeared.

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Meanwhile, an opportunity to do something about it emerged when the nonprofit Bonner Community Housing Agency announced it was seeking a new executive director. But like many other nonprofit housing agencies, Hart has few resources at his disposal and a litany of obstacles.

That work has undoubtedly helped the families who moved into those houses, but Hart believes the pace of affordable construction will have to pick up dramatically to make a ificant difference. He will need to harness the power of private developers, landowners and employers. He will need people interested in making not just a profit but a difference by helping to carve out opportunities for the middle class, even if they could make more money by selling luxury homes.

Hadley is a Sandpoint native who acquired her 6 acres slowly, beginning by buying a lot from her mother that her father, who operated a marina, used to store boats.

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Over the next 15 or 20 years, Hadley said, she added more land until she had enough for a subdivision, as well as a desire to do something good with it. In the short time since, a highly detailed plan has come together for the first, and so far only, project in the Income-Based Local Housing Program.

Hadley, however, will develop the rest through the Income-Based Local Housing Program, with Hart playing what he describes as a largely advisory role, creating a detailed business plan and helping her walk through the process from start to finish. Schweitzer is a major draw for many who choose to move to Sandpoint, including Hart.

As the city of Sandpoint tries to get a handle on the housing problem, it conducted a survey of local employers deed to gauge the effect the rising housing costs are having on their businesses. The resort recently acquired a former assisted living facility in Sandpoint. It has nine rooms and can accommodate up to 12 residents, and Schweitzer is renovating it now for use this winter. On one hand, he has to convince people to forgo potentially enormous profits in favor of aiding middle-class workers.

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On the other, he has to show potential participants that they will still make at least enough to keep their development sustainable. Meanwhile, he has to ensure his agency remains in compliance with a litany of state and federal rules and laws that intend to preclude discrimination and promote fairness.

Finally, Hart must continue to work within the traditional federal affordable housing system to continue building homes for low-income earners. I love ability. His goal is for BCHA alone to increase its production to homes a year. But if I can set an example … maybe others will hop on that little bandwagon.

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Then Rob Hart arrived in town. He will need people like Hadley. This summer, the resort decided not to open its zip line due to a staffing shortage, she said. Schweitzer is hardly alone. The Spokesman-Review Newspaper Local journalism is essential. up. Top stories in Idaho. Most read stories Is Jeopardy! Squandered opportunity on 2-yard line leaves Washington State fans scratching their he after Utah State loss Gonzaga basketball: Healthy Kaden Perry 'connectin' with Zags; Ben Gregg benefits from early start; and another Few s the team Aggie-nizing: Washington State surrenders two late scores, sustains crushing Week 1 defeat.

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Early Sandpoint "Hang Town"