Challenging situation given the hodgepodge of regulations
[ by Mark Reaman ]
There are 259 deed-restricted units in the town of Crested Butte. There are 11 different primary deed-restrictions with 28 variables within that primary restriction governing those deed restricted units. It’s not exactly a one-size-fits-all scenario that makes it easy to spot when a deed restriction is not being strictly followed.
“It’s challenging,” admitted Crested Butte community development director Troy Russ. “Monitoring and enforcement of deed restricted units can always be improved.”
And improving enforcement is a new goal of his department as the town will work with the Gunnison Valley Regional Housing Authority (GVRHA) both proactively to more closely keep an eye on how such units are being used and reactively when they hear of potential violations.
“Deed restriction on units in town are not uniform by any means and that is a hurdle,” said Crested Butte town manager Dara MacDonald.
GVRHA executive director Jennifer Kermode said the organization plans to start sending out annual “affidavits” to unit owners to make sure they are following the rules. She too admitted that while the program is getting better, the challenge is to enforce the deed restrictions given the amount of effort and detail required.
In a memo to the town council, it was made clear that the GVRHA will this month begin to send out the affidavits to be completed by unit owners. “It will be a violation of GVRHA’s guidelines for an owner to refuse to return a completed deed-monitoring affidavit to the GVRHA,” it stated.
Reactive monitoring will also be stepped up when it comes to light that the owner of a unit might not be in full compliance of his or her deed restriction. Town staff will work with GVRHA to investigate all alleged noncompliant matters and determine if a violation is in existence.
Russ admitted to the council that monitoring and enforcement has “waned in recent years and needs to improve.”
Council mulled over several situations they had heard about where deed restrictions were being bent or ignored. Both Kermode and Russ said that if any council member hears of such scenarios in the future, they should not hesitate to inform the staff so that the situation can be investigated. If a violation is confirmed then remediation will be demanded. Owners would however be able to protest the violation and punishment to the town council.
Kermode admitted that people can lie on an affidavit but because it is a sworn document, if they do and the lie is uncovered, it gives the GVRHA and town more teeth when going after the violation. “The owners would be affirming on the affidavit that what they are telling us is true, so if we have to enforce, it puts teeth in our case,” she explained. “It’s also meant to be a deterrent since people do tend to think twice about not giving correct information if there are negative consequences involved.”
The idea is to begin sending out the affidavits to unit owners this month.