CB council agrees to pursue idea of relocating two units

Vogy could be moving an A-frame and a Gunny ADU to Paradise Park

By Mark Reaman 

Crested Butte town council struggled with the decision, but in a split vote February 20, council members agreed to budget up to $1 million to relocate and renovate two existing structures to Paradise Park this spring and deed restrict them for workforce housing.

One of the units is a one bedroom/one bath, 600-square-foot accessory dwelling unit in Gunnison. That structure would be moved up valley to be an ADU located behind the old Haney house now located at 20 Tenth Street. The other structure is a two-bedroom/one bath, 1,200-square-foot A-frame currently located at 113 Sopris Avenue. That unit would be moved to 928 Butte Avenue. Both would be donated to town by the current owners.

In a memo to the council from community development director Troy Russ, he asked the council whether it was worth proceeding with the idea. While final costs of relocating and renovating the structures are not yet final, the memo said that “it is anticipated the relocation and refurbishment costs will be lower than estimated construction costs of new structures in Paradise Park.”

Russ said while it would cost about $700,000 to build an ADU behind the Haney House, the Gunnison unit could be moved and renovated for approximately $300,000. Given some timing and logistic issues with Vogy’s House Moving, the staff did not have an estimate of the cost to move the A-frame but reported a new build on the site would likely be more than $800,000.

Crested Butte housing director Erin Ganser said town spent $460,000 to move and renovate the Haney house a year ago.

Mayor Ian Billick expressed concern with spending significant housing money on the relocation process. He pointed out that the council had struggled over how to pay for 20 deed restricted units and will be borrowing money. He also said town might be amenable to help cover some costs for the proposed 255-unit Gunnison County Whetstone housing project that is now estimated to be in the $130 million-plus range. “We also talked about how the finances are prohibiting us from being aggressive with the GreenDeed program and $300,000 from this could go there,” he said.

“I’m generally in favor of ADUs,” said councilmember Kent Cowherd. “I’m less enthusiastic to support the A-frame given it doesn’t meet the town architectural guidelines.”

Russ said that A-frames are not allowed to be built in town except in the Public (P) Zone District where the town or a public entity would be required to own unit. A change in zoning from R2A to P would allow the A-frame to be placed on the Paradise Park parcel.

“We have been talking about expanding the guidelines beyond the current focus,” said councilmember Gabi Prochaska. “This A-frame is already in town.”

Russ said the structure reflected some of the town architecture from the 1960s, the early days of the ski resort era in Crested Butte.

“I was skeptical of the Haney house project but now I like it,” said councilmember Jason MacMillan. “I’m probably the same with the A-frame. I’m skeptical. For me, it depends on the cost so I am okay with the idea.”

“I think it is a great idea,” added councilmember Beth Goldstone. “I really like how it saves recyclable material and keeps it out of the landfill. It is okay that it is unique looking. It depends on the cost.”

“It won’t be as tight and as good as a new build so the cost should be significantly less that building a new unit,” said Prochaska.

“I like the funkiness and the idea of recycling materials,” said Billick. “I am still concerned with the hard costs and the opportunity costs we lose by not funding something like the GreenDeed program. We need to find the actual number for the cost.”

“I also love the idea of them not ending up in the landfill,” said Prochaska. “If the cost is close, I would support it. But I have trouble deciding without an actual cost number.”

“I would rather let the property sit instead of spending say, $700,000 for a unit on that lot,” said MacMillan. “I’m conflicted.”

Council asked staff to return with a hard estimate. They agreed to move the idea along to keep the process working but put a limit of $600,000 on moving and renovating the A-frame and spending no more than $400,000 on the Gunnison ADU.

Billick reiterated the struggle with spending $1 million on the units instead of other programs. “We were tearing our hair out over $100,000 in the work session,” he said.

“I am still reluctant with the A-frame given it is so far outside the BOZAR guidelines,” said Cowherd. “There is already lots of variety in that neighborhood.”

Cowherd and MacMillan voted against pursuing the relocation project while councilmembers Anna Fenerty, Prochaska, Goldstone and Billick all voted to continue based on the stated limits. Councilmember Mallika Magner was out of town and not at the meeting.

The decision allows the staff to go to the Board of Architectural and Zoning Review (BOZAR) to begin the process of making the needed zoning changes and getting approval for designs concepts. Ganser said that if the financing works out, both units could be moved to the Paradise Park locations by the end of May.

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