Mt. CB still figuring out Homestead

“In the beginning stages of receiving guidance from our attorney”

[  By Kendra Walker  ]

The Homestead affordable housing project in Mt. Crested Butte still appears to be on hold as the town continues discussions with a Denver-based attorney to determine the next steps on the situation. 

Since November, the developer of the 22-unit project has been in default of his contracts with each of the homeowners who expected to be fully moved into their units by now. Lance Windel of Homestead Housing LLC had said that he wanted to consult his attorney before signing the contract again, due to issues with the supply chain, material delivery and lack of contractor availability.

According to his contract with the town to buy, sell and develop the 22 affordable units in the Prospect Homestead Subdivision, among the list of items considered a default include, “Failure to have or secure access to funds sufficient to construct the units and associated infrastructure on the Property,” “Failure to construct 22 affordable housing units on the Property in accordance with the design guidelines, square footage requirements, or Town building codes and regulations,” and “Failure to construct 22 affordable housing units within the time-frame established by this Contract, or such extension as the parties may agree.” The timeframe in the contract calls for a Certificate of Occupancy or temporary CO to be issued for the units by December 31, 2020.

During their February 1 council meeting, the town council went into an executive session to “conference with attorneys regarding legal advice on specific legal issues” concerning Homestead. “The town has hired an attorney to help us better understand what our options are and how we can best proceed,” town manager Isa Reeb explained prior to the meeting. 

According to the town’s contract dated November 21, 2018, if Windel is in default, the town could “exercise its option to purchase,” “exercise its right to assumption,” or “exercise its right to specific performance.”

When the Crested Butte News followed up with the town this week, regarding whether the town had made a decision on those options, Reeb stated, “To maintain all of the town’s legal options and privileges, we do not have additional information at this time. When we can further communicate without compromising the town’s legal interests, we will.”

Town attorney Kathy Fogo confirmed with the News that the contract does not include any kind of performance bond or letter of credit requirement, as what was done with the Paradise Park affordable housing project in Crested Butte. 

The News also reached out to Mt. Crested Butte mayor Janet Farmer. “Homestead has been a major disappointment for our community and the people who expected to live there. I wish I could give a date for everyone on when it will be completed, but it’s just not possible right now. All the councilors and staff wish we could do more for those who have been left out in the cold by this developer. Hopefully within a few months we’ll be able to have a clearer picture, but right now it’s in the hands of the lawyers.”

In a previous January 18 council meeting, Reeb had shared that the Gunnison Valley Regional Housing Authority has offered assistance to the Homestead homebuyers struggling to find housing in the interim. 

The News also reached out to Windel, who responded, “All I can say is through counsel, I proposed a path forward in December of last year; to date, the town has not responded to that proposal.”

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