Tracker: Board of Commissioners 1/14/08 |

Tracker: Board of Commissioners 1/14/08

Melanie Wong
Vail, CO Colorado

Who they talked to: County Housing Director Alex Potente and Analyst Melanie Rees from Rees Consulting, Inc./RRC Associates, which has done a number of housing needs studies in mountain resort communities.

What they discussed: The commissioners and the county housing department are still working on the county’s proposed housing guidelines for future developments.

County commissioners discussed raising the amount of price-capped homes required from developers of large residential projects and imposing a fee-per-sqaure-foot on smaller residential projects to go toward affordable housing.

The guidelines still include a way for developers to recover the cost of building the affordable homes. If they follow the guidelines, developers can collect a fee of 1.5 percent of the price on the home every time the home is sold.

Rees recommended getting rid of the “cost recovery” portion of the guidelines. She said she has not seen it work and it could be risky for the county.

“It puts the county in the position to guarantee someone a profit,” she said.

For commercial developments, developers would still need to build housing for all the employees the project creates who make under 140 percent of the average median income, or $102,200 for a family of three.

But how much housing does that mean? Rees also reviewed findings from a new study that answers that question. The results were based on how many jobs are typically created from different-sized developments, how many of those jobs earn less than 140 percent of the average median income, and how many of those workers typically live in the county.

Up to 55 percent of all the employees generated by the new developments would need affordable housing within the county, according to the study.

The rest of the employees either would make enough to buy free-market homes or live outside the county.

What they changed: The biggest change to the proposed guidelines is that developers of large residential projects would have several options in terms of affordable housing.

Developers could make 35 percent of the total square footage of their development for-sale homes or rentals that are price-capped and sold only to local residents.

Alternatively, developers could also make 20 percent of the total square footage be price-capped and locally owned. Another 10 percent would also be sold only to local residents, but could be sold at market prices.

The variety of options help cover for all the different type of developments in the valley, said Potente.

What’s next? The housing needs study from RRC Associates will be presented to the community in early February. The study is the basis for many of the county’s affordable housing decisions and requirements. The commissioners will continue discussing the housing guidelines Feb. 12 and vote on them Feb. 19.

These dates are tentative, and final dates will be posted on

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

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