Saturday, August 17, 2019

Mt. CB signs contract for Homestead affordable housing

Agreement to buy, sell and develop 22 units within a year

By Katherine Nettles

The plan to develop the remaining 22 affordable homes within the Prospect Homestead subdivision is taking shape, and in two separate ordinances last week the Mt. Crested Butte Town Council approved the process and moved into a contract with a developer to buy, sell and develop the property.

The deed-restricted units represent part of the housing units required by the annexation agreement for the Prospect subdivision, located northeast of Crested Butte Mountain Resort. The plan for a total of 37 deed-restricted units near the entrance makes up the Homestead workforce housing component of the project.

The first resolution council passed was to legally memorialize that once the 22 Homestead lots are sold to the potential developer, Lance Windle of Homestead Housing, LLC, the other development company named Prospect Development Company, Inc. will have met its obligation of developing the units according to the agreement. Windle will then take on the development and sale of the units, and Prospect will be uninvolved.

The council also approved the second resolution, in which the town agreed to go into contract with Windle. Windle and the town staff and attorney have been working to complete the contract proposal for units in the subdivision since the summer, as previously reported by the Crested Butte News.

With this contract, Homestead subdivision lots will be sold to Homestead Housing for development and construction of 22 for-sale deed-restricted units.

According to the proposal documents provided to the town, multiple safeguards have been built into the contract to protect the town, Prospect Development and the Homestead Housing. The current Homestead deed restriction has been updated to work with the new units, and purchase priority will still be given to the town employees and to Crested Butte Mountain Resort employees as workforce housing.

The town of Mt. Crested Butte will be taking the Homestead subdivision through a major planned unit development (PUD) alteration application process to accommodate the need for additional parking and snow storage in the subdivision. The new units will be duplexes, triplexes and four-plexes.

Mt. Crested Butte community development director Carlos Velado gave an overview of the process to the council and recalled the delays of recent years. “This developer has been vetted; since summer of 2016 the process has been under way. The delay was that Prospect Development wanted all the exhibits before they would sign off. [Windle] has been waiting patiently. The town agrees that if the sale goes through and Lance buys the property, then it finishes Homestead, which was the requirement for Prospect. This will fulfill the obligation for Prospect,” said Velado.

Velado said there are still a few design considerations, such as needing to double-check square footage, and one provision in the amended deed restriction means the Prospect Homeowners Association would have to approve it.

Among the excitement at moving the contract forward, the council discussed what avenue it would take with the application process for the units.

Town attorney Kathleen Fogo explained that anyone interested in a unit can fill out an application, and if there is a large number of applicants who have gone through the process and been deemed qualified, it can then go to the lottery stage. Currently, two affordable housing lotteries are scheduled to be conducted by the Gunnison Valley Regional Housing Authority in February and June for other projects in the county. The council considered that if timing works out they could add the Homestead project to that same lottery pool on schedule.

“We have a working list of people who have come to us and expressed interest, but this is the first time we have been able to go forward,” said mayor Todd Barnes.

Council member Nicholas Kempin, who had called in for the meeting, suggested an annual number of hours of employment within the county be required for applicants due to the seasonal nature of the economic opportunities available.

The council discussed the concept at length and requested input from Jennifer Kermode of the Gunnison Valley Regional Housing Authority (GVRHA) in the audience. Kermode suggested keeping it a minimum of 32 hours per week on an annual basis, over the span of 52 weeks. Kermode also responded to councilmember concerns of the areas in which the GVRHA works with applicants to ensure a fair and unencumbered process occurs throughout the application and financing aspects of affordable housing.

The council decided to require applicants work an annual average of 30 hours per week in the county, at between 80 and 100 percent of area median income (AMI), per family, in Category I of eligibility, or up to 200 percent of AMI for Category II.

Next comes the beginning of the PUD modification process where the developer can get his financing, then two public hearings and a design review process.

The PUD has included some preliminary work on the design, “but this will really allow him to dive into it,” said Velado.

Windle was unable to attend the meeting due to other engagements, but Velado said his predicted finish date remains at around Thanksgiving 2019, given a spring start, as he has stated in previous meetings.

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