Focused on workforce housing in Gunnison instead of Brush Creek
By Mark Reaman
Developer Gary Gates and his APT Brush Creek Road, LLC have submitted a request with Gunnison County for a one-year extension of the deadline to submit a preliminary plan application for the Brush Creek affordable housing project.
The deadline to submit such a request was Monday, July 8. The application was submitted to the county on July 3. The project received county Sketch Plan approval last summer, with several conditions by the Planning Commission. Two of the property owners where the development would occur, the towns of Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte, also added their own conditions.
The Gunnison County commissioners can extend the deadline for the preliminary plan application for up to a year if “good cause is shown.” In a letter from Law of the Rockies attorney Kendall Burgemeister to Gunnison County community and economic development director Cathie Pagano, the developers stated that their team has spent “considerable time” evaluating three additional conditions requested by the towns and “analyzing various alternatives for moving the project forward.”
The conditions agreed to by the two towns as part owners of the development property include limiting the site to no more than 156 units; designating five of the 14.3 acres to either intercept parking or other future uses; and requiring two parking spots per unit. This would be on top of the conditions approved by the county Planning Commission in its sketch plan last August. The county planners had capped the units at 180 and hoped to have a preliminary plan submitted within a year.
The letter from Burgemeister to the county also indicates that Gates and his team have been busy working with the county and city of Gunnison for an additional workforce project located in Gunnison. “We believe that project is closer than Brush Creek to being shovel ready, and has the ability to make an immediate and significant impact on the workforce housing shortage in the Gunnison Valley. Consequently, Mr. Gates’ project team has been focusing its efforts in the first half of 2019 on that project … [I]t is Mr. Gates’ sincere desire to demonstrate through a successful project in the City of Gunnison that he is capable of executing a quality workforce housing project at Brush Creek,” the letter states.
Gates wrote in an email to the News on Tuesday that he is focused on the Gunnison project that appears “to be picking up speed.” “The goal is still to maximize the potential of what can be done (not units, but what can be achieved for a 76 unit workforce housing project) and use that model for Brush Creek. It might be possible to still break ground this year [on the Gunnison project]. It’s refreshing to be working on something where people are working together.”
The availability of water has always been a concern for the development and while the county wants to make sure there is enough water even in a dry year to service the Brush Creek development, Gates said Tuesday he has “not been keeping up with what the latest testing shows.”
Pagano said the developers paid a fee of about $150 for the extension request and it will be scheduled on an upcoming BOCC agenda for review, but no specific date has been set.