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Healdsburg panel to discuss affordable housing crunch in Sonoma County

A panel of housing experts tonight in Healdsburg will take on the question dogging local governments: What does it take to build more affordable housing?

The moderated discussion with five developers from both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors is part of an ongoing series of community forums on how to alleviate the region’s housing crunch.

In Healdsburg, the priciest real estate market in Sonoma County, housing costs top the list of concerns for residents.

A city-commissioned poll in January found that more than seven in 10 Healdsburg residents are worried about the lack of housing for working families, with cost and lack of housing options ranking at the top of the most pressing issues.

A Community Housing Committee has been weighing an action plan that includes setting goals and timelines for building less-expensive dwellings, as well as more variety of housing types, from apartments to townhomes to “granny” units.

The panelists tonight include Hugh Futrell, a Santa Rosa multifamily-housing developer; Bob Comstock, a homebuilder currently constructing a project in Healdsburg; Chuck Cornell, head of the nonprofit Burbank Housing Corp.; Steve Sheldon, a Sebastopol-based developer who specializes in green, mixed-use infill projects; and Elizabeth Shephard, a Marin-based financial specialist who brings private capital to small infill housing projects.

The program will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Healdsburg Community Center, 1557 Healdsburg Ave.

You can reach Staff Writer Clark Mason at 521-5214 or clark.mason@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter@clarkmas.

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