Pilot project moving forward
By Alissa Johnson
The Mt. Crested Butte Town Council has formally entered into a partnership with Community Rebuilds to bring a pilot affordable housing project to the town. As a Moab-based nonprofit, Community Rebuilds provides affordable workforce housing that is energy efficient and sustainably built, with a focus on sustainable building practices and education.
The plan is to build a duplex in the Prospect Homestead Subdivision for two preapproved community members. The council had expressed support for the partnership at a September work session, and over its last two meetings formalized the partnership.
On October 20, community development director Carlos Velado brought a motion to the council asking them to support the partnership. Velado explained that the project had been progressing through the design process. The Prospect design review board had given preliminary plan approval earlier that day and the Mt. Crested Butte Planning Commission would review it the following day.
“As it’s moving further along in the process, we need to formally approve the relationship between the town and Community Rebuilds,” Velado said.
As part of the motion, he also asked the council to allow three-bedroom units in the duplex. The original schematics for the lot in question showed two-bedroom units, though Velado said the PUD (planned unit development) and the design guidelines allowed that to change.
“[The motion is] just to formally allow us to continue moving forward with the process because the last thing we want to do is pull the rug out,” Velado said.
Town manager Joe Fitzpatrick explained that more paperwork would be forthcoming, but it would be complicated. While the town originally believed that it owned the lot in question, staff had been working from old drawings. The plats showed that Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR) owned the lot; the resort is now donating the lot to the town. Mt. Crested Butte will in turn give it to the new owners through a contract of sale for $0.
At its November 3 meeting, the council approved a resolution accepting the land from CBMR and authorized the town mayor and manager to move forward with the sale. The process allows CBMR to count the project toward its requirements for community housing and will allow the town to retain some level of input in the building process.
Knowing that the organization hoped to put in the foundation this fall, councilmember Danny D’Aquila had a question for engineer Dodson Harper. Harper sits on the Community Rebuilds board of directors and helped bring the affordable housing project to Mt. Crested Butte.
“When we talked last time, you were hoping to get in the foundation so you could cap it, build and try to do another foundation next year. Where does this leave you now?” D’Aquila asked.
“From the design process we’re really close… We’re confident we can get it done if all these agreements can take place,” Harper said.
“And the weather cooperates,” said mayor David Clayton.
“Of course,” Harper said.
While this week’s snow could signal the coming of winter and become a factor in the timing of construction, the closing for the lots is expected to take place early this month.
In the meantime, the council reiterated its point of view that if the pilot project becomes a long term partnership, Mt. Crested Butte residents and resort employees ought to get priority when it comes to applying for the housing.