Wednesday, October 16, 2019

CB annexation grinding its way through the process this fall

Comments on affordable housing, senior housing and retail

by Mark Reaman

The process is continuing for the town to annex a portion of the Slate River subdivision just north of town, across from the Gas Café. Some discussion was held September 3 and the Crested Butte Town Council continued an annexation hearing to December 16.

The development has been in the pipeline since 2014. The county approved a subdivision for 23 residential lots on the 30 acres on the eastern portion of the site.

Under an agreement with the developers, Cypress Equities, the town agreed to provide water and sewer service to the homesites; in exchange the town will receive 14 acres on the west side of the Slate River.

That land will be used for affordable housing, parks, open space and other public uses including a possible fire hall and school facility. Six residential lots owned by the developer will be included on the property to be annexed to town.

Most of the details have been settled to in a pre-annexation agreement. But the process of the actual annexation is ongoing as the subdivision and zoning of the property need to be finalized before the town can complete the annexation process.

Council listened to some public comment on the proposed annexation at the September 3 meeting. Citizen Jim Starr urged the council to have the developers deed-restrict at least two of the six residential lots in the annexed land for affordable housing.

“You have the opportunity to provide more affordable housing in town,” Starr said, “whether requiring accessory dwelling units [ADUs] that are deed-restricted or having two lots designated for affordable housing. I encourage that strongly.”

Citizen Kent Cowherd asked that the town allow a small amount of retail in the property allocated for affordable housing. He said that could help with the concept of a “Space to Create,” where artists live in an apartment above a gallery space.

Former town planner John Hess said that many years ago the towns of Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte agreed to have no commercial outside the existing town boundaries, so such retail might not be allowed under that agreement.

Hess supported Starr’s comments for deed restrictions on the residential lots on the west side of the property. “I would like to see all of them deed-restricted or have ADUs required. Another thing to consider is that this community doesn’t have any senior housing in town and this could be an opportunity for that,” he said. “A possible spot for senior housing is that parcel of land by Pyramid Avenue.”

Town community development director Michael Yerman said the town could look at senior housing potential on the two acres set aside for affordable housing. As for imposing deed restrictions on the six residential lots, town attorney John Sullivan said that wasn’t allowed at this point in the process. “I don’t believe that was part of the pre-annexation agreement, but we can look into that,” he said.

The council will hold the public hearing on the preliminary plan the last week of October.

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