The Crested Butte Town Council set for public hearing an ordinance that substantially updates their town regulations guiding affordable housing for major subdivisions. The biggest changes would allow the town to control rents only if the town has a financial interest in the property. It also changes income limits to reflect the Area Median Income (AMI) as opposed to a specific number that changes every year.
The original affordable housing guidelines were passed in 1996. Since then the courts have said towns cannot control maximum rents unless they have an ownership interest in the property.
Under the new guidelines, a family of four making between $30,000 and $111,000 annually could qualify for affordable housing. But it is up to the council to determine how many units would be available for each income group. Town planner John Hess predicted more units would be available for a family making an annual income in the $60,000 range than for those in the $100,000 range.
Under the guidelines, so-called “Essential Service Employees” would get priority for affordable housing. Those who qualify include “employees of Crested Butte or Mountain Express, fire personnel, EMTs, public school teachers, county sheriff and others identified by the council.”
The council will look at the document and take public comment at their next meeting, July 21.
Signage and speed bumps?
Reacting to concerns by parents on Butte Avenue, the Town Council instructed the staff to look at controlling speeders in the area. Wouter van Tiel said the area seemed to be a haven for speeding cars and area neighbor and councilmember Skip Berkshire concurred. “Coming off Peanut Lake Road, people seem to speed,” said Berkshire. “I think a lot of people from out of town aren’t used to the 15 mile per hour limit.”
Town manager Susan Parker said the boxes used in the past as traffic-calming devices were essentially hazards to people and vehicles, and town didn’t want to place them in the middle of the streets anymore. “We are looking at other options such as more signage and temporary speed bumps,” she said. “But the first thing should be more enforcement.” She said she would get on it quickly. Van Tiel said the neighbors would be happy to help pay for any effort to get cars to slow down in the child-friendly neighborhood.
Speeders to get extra fine
Crested Butte’s municipal court will be raising some fines to stay in line with state statutes. The court will also now impose a $10 “fuel surcharge” fee on top of tickets for traffic violations.
Sales tax revenue down in May
Sales tax revenue for the month of May was down 16 percent over the same month in 2007. So far for the year, sales tax in Crested Butte is off 4.4 percent. The lodging, retail, bars and restaurants categories were all off more than 20 percent from 2007.
Should parking lots be part of Land Trust land?
After much discussion, the Crested Butte Town Council agreed on Monday, July 7 to consider accepting a couple of conservation easements for the Crested Butte Land Trust at their next meeting. Most of the discussion concerned the Land Trust proposal to provide parking for 40 vehicles on the property known as the Kikel Parcels. The Kikel property is approximately 70 acres of land at the winter trailhead for the Slate River valley, northwest of Crested Butte. Some of the Town Council and staff felt Gunnison County or the Forest Service should provide parking, and not the Land Trust. “It seems a little odd that the Land Trust would buy open space and then put in parking lots,” summed up Crested Butte building and zoning director Bob Gillie.
“We don’t want to be developers of parking lots,” responded Land Trust president Jeff Hermanson. “This is about preserving land. The parking area would be 15 percent of one acre and we are preserving 70 acres.”
“So why not just let it be and have people wanting to park fend for themselves,” asked Bernholtz. “Let people deal.”
“As part of the community we are trying to be good neighbors,” said Keith Bauer, Land Trust board member. “It is becoming more of a problem, especially when it starts to impact residences.”
“Let the owners of the residences deal with it,” suggested Bernholtz. “If the Land Trust is spending big money, why is it your responsibility?”
“We’re trying to be good stewards,” said Bauer. “The problem of parking to get into the backcountry is impacting all of the valleys and it has become more problematic in the last four or five years. We are trying to help.”
“It’s not a deal breaker but I would encourage the Land Trust to look at other alternatives,” said councilmember Leah Williams.
The final decision will come after the public hearing scheduled for July 21.
Mountain Express lease proceeding
The council gave the okay to proceed with a lease agreement with the Mountain Express for a new bus barn facility. Town manager Susan Parker will meet with the Mountain Express board next week and finalize the details. The lease between the town and transportation board will be a 20-year lease with a provision calling for a five-year notice if the town wants the bus service to vacate the premises. “Five years is unusually long,” commented town attorney John Belkin. “I would recommend a two-year notice.”
“Look at us. We’re unusual,” responded Bernholtz. The five-year notice will remain as part of the lease.
Taking the crooked path
The council told a group of residents from the Eighth Street area to proceed with the concept of putting in a new pedestrian path along the road. The meandering path would be bermed from traffic. “It would be different from a typical straight-line path,” explained local resident Jeff Scott. Parker said it was an excellent idea with the neighbor participation and the council agreed.