A potential list of community members to be part of a housing task force has been drawn up, but village officials are holding off on any meetings until the coronavirus matter settles down.

The Cottage Grove Village Board agreed in early March to move forward with forming a task force to study and make recommendations for the creation of affordable housing options in the village.

Village Administrator Matt Giese said the task force idea grew out of the board prioritization process last year.

It’s been recommended the membership consist of between seven and 13 members, not including village staff.

“In this case, larger can be better, because it’s a working committee,” Giese said.

Members could include village trustees, a plan commission citizen member, school district representative, chamber of commerce board member or staff person, large-business and small-business representatives, senior housing representative, single-family housing developer, multifamily housing developer, real estate broker, homeowner and renter.

Trustee Jon Russell said he would not favor having developers be part of the task force. He said there could be accusations of favoritism if the that developer would then follow through on the task force recommendations and build in the village. Others said a developer might try to steer the task force in a particular direction.

Trustee Melissa Ratcliff said the task force should have at least 11 members.

Several Dane County communities have created housing committees. These include Waunakee, Middleton, Fitchburg, Oregon and Sun Prairie.

Some have had specific goals and deadlines, such as Waunakee’s, which was formed in 2018 and disbanded after issuing a report in 2019. Others, like the committee in Middleton, were formed in 2007 and continue to meet today.

“I think, between the two, we’d probably want to lean more toward the Waunakee model and kind of steer it toward a specific product that plan commission can use moving forward,” said Erin Ruth, village planning director.

Ruth and Giese agreed the village may want the task force to consider topics such as price, variety and location for the workforce housing.

“When this moves forward, there will be another agenda item and memo detailing a recommended mission and objectives,” Giese said.

Research conducted by staff during the comprehensive plan update revealed a lack of variety of housing units compared to other Dane County communities.

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