What is a Community Land Trust?
Community land trusts (CLT’s) organize local citizens to develop permanently affordable housing on community controlled land. CLT’s buy or acquire land (via donation from cities or private citizens or through an innovative partnership with local investors being pioneered by Goose Creek) to remove it from speculation. CLT’s sell the existing or new homes to income qualified residents. The non-profit CLT, governed by a board of directors (usually comprised of project residents, housing experts and local officials), stewards the land and community in perpetuity. It charges each home owner a land rent; the 99 year renewable land lease also contains a resale formula which allows owners to develop equity over time but also restricts appreciation to a metric like the consumer price index or some index of salary growth. Land rent proceeds help the CLT provide community improvement and maintenance. Here is a great video series explaining the origins and much more about CLT’s. This is valuable, especially in high appreciation areas like Boulder, where community members essential to a diverse, vital community-like low, moderate and middle income families and workers-lose access to housing (“gentrification”).
Why choose the name Goose Creek?
Goose Creek is a watershed located in northwest Boulder (between Mapleton and Iris and the Foothills to the confluence of Goose Creek with Boulder Creek near 55th and Pearl St). The natural world and modern political boundaries often do not overlap. Goose Creek aims to reconnect today’s citizens to the land while improving livability and affordability.
What are we attempting to accomplish?
Goose Creek develops model projects and advocates for a significant increase in resident-owned, permanently affordable, mixed income (for residents earning $40,000-$200,000) housing in Boulder (City and County). This housing will be largely served by non-fossil fueled alternative-mode transportation with plenty of beautiful public spaces and connection to Open Space. We believe we ALL benefit from “maintaining the middle” by making room for moderate and middle income families and workers. Our projects demonstrate how this increases the health, diversity, affordability and beauty of our neighborhoods. Here is one of many developments influencing our work and a book which provides a blueprint for what all communities must do to meet today’s challenging environmental and social crises.
Why are we doing this?
Henry George and the beauty of sharing the Earth
George was America’s most influential political economist in the late 19th and early 20th century. He was an intellectual founder of community land trusts. His book Progress and Poverty (1879) explored why poverty and inequality persisted and deepened amidst the country’s formidable economic growth. His answer: western society’s granting of monopoly control over natural resources like land, biodiversity and water quality that have historically been viewed by almost all societies as common to all. HIs solution was the Single Tax or Land Value Tax (LVT) lauded by economists as the least distortionary (least discouraging to desirable behaviors) way to support government. George observed that public investment (such as roads, railroads, universities, park and open space acquisition) and the general success of communities drive land price appreciation. Rather than taxing beneficial labor or capital gains, George advocated that government largely be funded by recapturing the “unearned” appreciation of land acquired by private speculators. So popular were George’s ideas, that late 19th Century (and later) “robber barons” corrupted economics by founding new schools of economics that falsely but successfully conflated his ideas with “redistributionist” approaches like those of Karl Marx. The resulting tragic and unnecessary “Left-Right” divide continues to obscure how a broader sharing of the benefits of natural resources could encourage even greater and more equally distributed prosperity and help reverse our civilization-threatening destruction of environmental quality.
What is the Goose Creek Role with Alpine Balsam?
Goose Creek is a housing advocate and a developer of model projects that can be broadly replicated by others. Since 2015, when we convened a broader citizen effort to encourage the City to purchase the property, Goose Creek has worked with others to to maximize the community benefit resulting from this large public investment and create an opportunity for all affordable housing developers. Subsequently, following current efforts to influence the Area Plan through 2019, there may be an opportunity for Goose Creek to influence the work of the eventual developer or partner with that entity or entities and/or hold some the land (if the City were to transfer it) in order steward the resulting community (housing, offices or mixed use) which is a typical community land trust (CLT) role.