County nears decision on housing guidelines | VailDaily.com
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County nears decision on housing guidelines

Melanie Wong
Vail, CO Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” County commissioners may vote on the county’s proposed housing guidelines at a public hearing.

The hearing will be at 1 p.m. on Tuesday in the Eagle County Building in Eagle.

County staff has been working on the guidelines for more than a year, which would require developers of all commercial and larger residential projects to build affordable housing also.

The idea is to make sure developers provide for the housing needs their projects create, said Alex Potente, managing director of the Housing and Development Department.

The department has been meeting with various developers and continuing to get comments from the community over the last few weeks, County Commissioner Peter Runyon said.

Some developers and planners, including Vail Resorts Development, have said they are worried the guidelines will stunt development in the area, while others have said the guidelines are much needed.

“The free market is not adequately responding to supply and demand in the valley,” said Gerry Flynn of Polarstar Development, the company that built the Buffalo Ridge affordable apartments in Avon.

At an earlier hearing, some town officials, including Eagle Mayor John Stavney and Minturn Interim Town Manager Gary Suiter, voiced their support for the guidelines and urged commissioners to “give it some teeth.”

Developer Bob Warner said he would rather see the commissioners approve more projects that are all or mostly workforce housing than make guidelines with mandatory numbers.

“Some properties really don’t work well for infill or workforce housing, like in Beaver Creek or Bachelor Gulch. But for properties where it works, make it 100 percent (workforce housing),” Warner said.

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What do the guidelines say?

Under affordable housing guidelines, proposed by Eagle County, developers would have several choices.

For residential projects more than five homes, developers would have the following choices:

– 35 percent of the total square footage of the project must be workforce housing

– 30 percent of the project must be workforce housing, and another 10 percent owned by local residents. However, these locally owned homes can be sold at market rate.

– 30 percent of the project must be affordable housing, and all the market-rate homes would be sold with an added 1.5 percent “transfer fee.” That fee would go toward the county’s affordable housing funds.

– 25 percent of the project must be affordable housing, 10 percent must be locally-owned but sold at market rate, and the transfer fee would apply to all market rate sales.

For commercial projects, developers would have to build enough workforce housing to provide for all of the jobs generated earning under 140 percent of the average median income.

That comes out to about 715 square feet of affordable housing for every 1,000 square feet of commercial space.

Mixed-use projects would have to choose between the residential and commercial requirements, whichever option produced more housing. Also, hotels would have to build 204 square feet of affordable housing per hotel room.

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Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 748-2928 or mwong@vaildaily.com.


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