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Gilbert Town Council candidates discuss housing problems

The nine Town Council candidates share their thoughts on the housing shortage and affordability in Gilbert

Posted 7/13/22

The Gilbert Town Council candidates share their thoughts on the housing shortage and affordability.

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Gilbert Town Council candidates discuss housing problems

The nine Town Council candidates share their thoughts on the housing shortage and affordability in Gilbert


What, if anything, should the town do to address the housing shortage and housing affordability? 

Chuck Bongiovanni, co-founder and CEO of Majestic Residences Franchise Systems 

"This is a national situation, as the local government cannot control market forces related to home prices. We hit the perfect storm with COVID-19, labor issues, work stoppages and logistics for building supplies. Home prices should level off, if not decrease, over the next few years as the market stabilizes and interest rates increase. But there is an end to this. We have to wait out the market cycle and take advantage of what it may bring when it happens."

Bobbi Buchli, real estate broker 

"I would like to see the housing shortage addressed by getting approval to build small, two-level homes on smaller lots. This would allow for affordability, a venue for more homes to be built and residents with the pride of ownership and belonging. More apartments I believe will be needed using lower height, but I don't want to see all of the available residential land left used for apartments. I feel Gilbert should also have affordable home for residents. I have concerns about when a town becomes oversaturated with high-density apartments and the economy changes, and it will at some point again. What happens to the high-density apartments when they are no longer needed and housing becomes affordable or many residents have left to go to another city or state for employment?"

Mario Chicas, account representative 

"There are several factors at play that are affecting the housing shortage and housing affordability. The cost of supplies to build are extremely expensive due to factors outside of Gilbert government control. The homes are being built as fast as possible, and I expect that a market correction is coming, and that will help settle some of this craziness."

Michael Clark, president of Digital Illustrations LLC & AW Sales LLC 

"We will work the problem. Develop an endowment fund down payment program for city, police and fire. People can afford the mortgage but need the down payment to get in the house. Payment is returned upon sale or transfer. Offer a stipend. Stipends are not considered wages. Gilbert would not withhold income tax and not have to match Social Security as a payroll savings. Considered income, employees calculate and pay taxes on stipends, including Social Security and Medicare. A course correction in housing and rental markets will occur. I do not know when that day will come, but it will."

Yung Koprowski, civil engineer, council member

"The town has been intimately involved in regional programs surrounding the topic of affordable housing. Through partnerships with AZCEND and Save the Family, Gilbert residents can receive emergency rental and utility assistance. More than 1,000 households have been served to date. The Community Engagement Task Force will also be exploring the topic of low income/homelessness in its efforts to identify gaps and solutions."

Bus Obayomi, management consultant 

"Gilbert is known to have a highly educated and rich workforce. It is imperative to continue to make sure there are opportunities and investments in the town for people to make a good source of income. This also means educating the workforce on what opportunities are available and how they can upskill as well. The best way to address the housing shortage is to work with current organizations like Gilbert Chambers of Commerce, government entities, etc., that already exist to explore how to accurately educate the public on housing availability and other options that they can explore to live in best suitable housing."

Scott September, regional manager, council member

"The marketplace is going to determine how much and what kind of housing is needed in Gilbert and how that housing will be priced. Council needs to be sensitive to meet the needs of the market and our businesses, to the extent it is within the guidelines of the general plan. The council and voters have approved the general plan that provides guidance for growth and guardrails for decisions to appropriately balance land use."

Bill Spence, retired U.S. Navy nuclear engineering officer

"I believe that the market should determine the affordability of housing and think that wages and housing costs will become more in line and eventually stabilize. I see opportunity in the housing remodel market. Houses requiring significant upgrades have often been overlooked, however, there may be some great bargains for homebuyers and investors. Streamlining permitting and inspections processes will allow for more substantial upgrades to occur faster so that the house will be 'move-in ready' sooner. We are already seeing great revitalization results in our Heritage District housing areas."

Jim Torgeson, owner Mesa Sign Shop

"Houses are being built as fast as they can go up. In that sense, it's only a supply issue and will market correct. We should not be incentivizing apartments over owner occupied nor should we be creating high-density apartments just because it quickens the build and finance time. Also, the push to Section 8/HUD subsidization is not what made this town great and should be avoided. Town-owned housing is not appropriate nor desirable for those of us who invested our lives creating this town. Without huge government overreach, we are in a tough spot until market correction."