The Rocky Mountain Community Land Trust (RMCLT) was conceived in May 1996 during an affordable housing strategic planning retreat initiated by the Comprehensive Homeless Assistance Providers (CHAP), chaired by Conning Lorig, Administrator, Community Development, City of Colorado Springs. These concerned individuals wanted to create a mechanism to preserve long-term affordability in housing. Since that time, a broad-based community effort grew to create the RMCLT. The RMCLT was the City’s third designated Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO).
For the first year and one-half, RMCLT operated with all volunteers. The Board of Directors was elected and the Articles of Incorporation, By-Laws, and the ground lease were developed. During this time the volunteers and RMCLT Board were actively involved with the City in a demonstration project to build a strawbale house on a vacant lot in the Hill Side Neighborhood. After construction, the City approved the sale of the house to the RMCLT. The Land Trust retained ownership of the land and sold the improvements to a first time homebuyer using the land trust model. But this was just the beginning. With the desire to expand the Land Trust, the Board of Directors hired an executive director in February 1998. Our executive director began his fifteenth year with the Land Trust in 2012 and has been the catalyst for the Land Trust’s growth in terms of properties and recognition in the community as a fiscally strong and dynamic organization that gets things accomplished. The Land Trust is a not-for-profit organization that is constantly on the move—improving our community, one property at a time!
RMCLT’s focus has been on creating affordable home ownership opportunities by reducing the cost of acquisition for first time homebuyers. Since its inception, the RMCLT has successfully demonstrated that the land trust model can be used as a tool to promote home ownership and to effectively use public and private sector dollars in a long-term strategy to support affordable home ownership.
RMCLT uses a scattered site development strategy on selecting new properties for inclusion in our affordable housing inventory. This does two things. First, it allows families to select the neighborhood in which they want to live. This is important for them since they may want to live in a certain neighborhood due to job, school, family or friends. The second reason for using a scattered site approach in selecting properties is that it minimizes concentrations of low and moderate-income housing and avoids the stigma so often attached to affordable housing. We have partnered in house purchases from Briargate in the North to Widefield in the South, from neighborhoods in the East (Stetson Hills and Springs Ranch) to houses near Old Colorado City in the West.