Affordable homes will cost Eagle County little extra |

Affordable homes will cost Eagle County little extra

Melanie Wong
Eagle County, CO Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” Eagle County, Colorado may have to pick up more than $300,000 in fees for the affordable neighborhood at Stratton Flats, meaning that the county would get a bit less of a return on its investment.

Original estimates for the project ” which will put more than 200 deed-restricted, workforce homes in Gypsum ” assumed that the town of Gypsum would waive about $3.5 million in building fees. However, the town only waived about $2.6 million, leaving $628,000 to be paid.

The county, which invested $4.5 million in the project as an equity partner, and the developer, Meritage Development, have agreed to split the unpaid fees.

That would mean the county would get a little less back on it’s investment, said County Housing and Development Director Alex Potente said ” the county originally expected a 6 percent return on its investment.

“That would come out to (losing) about a year’s worth of interest,” Potente said.

The other option would be for the county to convert some of its deed-restricted homes in the development into free-market homes. The extra money from those sales would make up the difference.

One-third of the homes in Stratton Flats will be under county deed-restriction, which has an cap on how much property values can increase; one-third will be under Gypsum’s deed restriction, which has no cap; and the rest will be free-market homes.

How the county pays that $300,000 will eventually come down to a choice of the county commissioners, said Commissioner Peter Runyon, but he said he would prefer that the county not lose any deed-restricted homes.

“We could do that, but that wouldn’t be in the spirit of what we’re trying to do,” he said.

If enough of the homes are sold soon, the county might not have to pay any difference, Potente said.

Several institutions, such as the water and sanitation district and the school district, may purchase some of the homes soon.

The gap in fee waivers isn’t a surprise ” the county knew there might be some money to be made up, but it didn’t know how much until now, Potente said.

“We knew going in that we weren’t going to get all the fee waivers,” he said. “Part of it was that Gypsum doubled their impact fees at this time.”

Commissioners signed an agreement Tuesday to pay the county’s half of the fees if necessary.

The agreement was necessary for the bank to continue with the loan for building the homes, Potente said.

Commissioners were prepared to pitch in the amount needed to keep the project moving. Runyon said the county was willing to invest in order to help correct the county’s housing imbalance, and that eventually the development will be a success.

“We might have some unsold units ” that’s a distinct possibility,” Runyon said. “But in the long-run in this county, the trends aren’t going to change.”

Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2928 or

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