Honey Rock Ridge proposes housing plan

Requesting funding from Mt. CB and DDA

By Kendra Walker

The Mt. Crested Butte town council reviewed a concept plan and community housing proposal for Honey Rock Ridge during their January 16 meeting. The council shared enthusiasm for the proposed 18 affordable housing units that go above and beyond the development requirement, but when asked for financial consideration they made clear the town’s community housing funds are currently all tied to the Homestead affordable housing project and financial help is uncertain at this time.  

The Honey Rock Ridge project is located at 33 Marcellina Lane and includes 19 undeveloped lots. It was previously the Villas Phase V, and the new owner J 4:15 LP is proposing a three-phase major alteration development. General partner Nathan Sheets shared an updated community housing proposal with the council. 

The community housing requirement triggered by the development is 6.55 units; however, Honey Rock Ridge would like to build a total of 18 deed-restricted affordable housing units on the property. Sheets explained that the plan proposes an on-site development of an 18-unit multifamily lodge with 24 total bedrooms, but they are looking for financial assistance from the town and the Downtown Development Authority (DDA).

“There is a lot of financial consideration and cost burden we would bear without help from the town,” said Sheets. “As we have the ability to build a total of 18 units, we would like to present an opportunity for the town to participate in helping us do so.”

He presented three different subsidy request options: option one being a $5 million subsidy from the town and/or DDA for 18 deed restricted units, option two being a $3 million contribution for 12 deed-restricted units with six remaining free-market units, and option three as a $1 million subsidy for seven deed restricted units with 11 remaining free market units. 

The proposed 18-unit lodge would also require additional considerations or waivers from the town, including a PUD amendment to increase the density, increase to the height requirement, reduction of the parking space requirement to 1.8 spaces per unit, several lot replats and the construction of an HOA building within the right-of-way and snow storage area.

Mt. Crested Butte town manager Carlos Velado reminded the council that the town’s community housing fund is pretty committed to the Homestead affordable housing project over the next several years. As of the beginning of 2024, the town has a housing fund balance of $2,062,164. The town’s 2024 budget anticipates $1,498,000 in revenues and $3,328,000 in expenditures. Earlier in January, the council approved a Homestead development contract with Bywater, LLC, and agreed to set a budget range of $1.5 to $2 million for a purchase assistance program for Homestead contract holders. 

However, the Honey Rock Ridge property is within the DDA boundary, and the development could apply for DDA funds. “I would encourage the applicant to approach the DDA first,” said Velado. “As of right now all our housing funds for the next two to three years are committed to Homestead.”

Sheets said the community housing construction would begin first this spring, with the goal to completion in mid to late 2025.

“We are seeking to commence construction as soon as we are able in 2024 after snow melt, which necessitates a tight timeline,” said Sheets. “The goal is to go above and beyond and get this done first. But I can’t go to the DDA with a concept that the town council is not enthusiastic about,” he said. 

“Our current housing budget has a limitation, but it’s potentially something that could be overcome or worked out, especially if the DDA were willing to cover some or all of it,” said mayor Nicholas Kempin. “I’m enthusiastic about what you’re trying to do. The key things are that you’re building it in the neighborhood and your willingness to go above and beyond. All those things for me make me want to try to work out financing to see if there’s something we can work out.”

The rest of the council agreed. “This is sort of another style of housing we’re adding into the mix,” said councilmember Alec Lindeman. “An important consideration is that Homestead is not asking for its money in one lump sum. The idea that we can’t use all our money is not entirely the case.”

“Timing could be a significant function of our ability to explore that,” said Kempin. “I think the town is enthusiastic about your proposal. I think it’s very much in the conversation, especially if the DDA could also contribute and reduce that burden on our town and housing fund. You can take that to the DDA and tell them we said that.”

The Honey Rock Ridge team said they are working on scheduling a meeting with the DDA.

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