Vail housing efforts making progress, but still more work to do
Town looking at policy, projects, putting more burden on developers
Vail has been short of housing since the first gondola rumbled uphill in 1962. After years of more and less attention on housing, the town government seems serious about both keeping up, and catching up, with the need.
In a recent presentation to the Vail Town Council, Vail Local Housing Authority Chairman Steve Lindstrom laid out some current efforts. Those efforts may be bolstered by a new system of demanding developers providing at least some housing for the jobs development creates.
During his presentation, Lindstrom said the town is on track to meet the goal of 1,000 new deed restrictions — contracts that help control the use and price of units — in town by 2027.
Lindstrom said the housing authority — an advisory group that also has responsibility for managing new deed restrictions — continues to work on both policy and a handful of projects.
Lindstrom said there are “a lot of potential projects in the works,” some with private developers and some with the town as the lead agency.
One of those potential projects is working with the Colorado Department of Transportation to investigate a housing project for state-owned property in East Vail.
Lindstrom added that the town’s current work on a new West Vail master plan — a guide to potential development in the area — could help “foster some potential changes” in how the area is rebuilt.
In addition to the planning and project work, the housing authority has also been working on a new way for developers to provide more housing.
Developers can now write checks to the town’s housing department to cover their housing obligations. Mayor Dave Chapin said that program could be “more aggressive” in what it requires of developers, including those building duplex and single-family homes.
The method is called “residential linkage,” a method that’s been studied by Economic & Planning Systems of Denver. Company Managing Principal Andrew Knudtsen and senior analyst Rachel Schindman talked about other resort communities that have similar systems.
At the top of the Economic & Planning Systems recommendation are:
- Requiring developers to build new units
- Requiring developers to buy deed restrictions on existing units
- Acquire developable land
Chapin and other council members said they’d be willing to look into residential linkage for future housing requirements.
Councilmember Kevin Foley was on the board when the town last created housing mitigation regulations.
Not being more aggressive “was a mistake on our part,” he said.
Chapin said a change in policy is needed.
“Right now we’re losing,” Chapin said. “We’ve had some success, but it hasn’t been enough.”
Here’s a look at the number of deed-restricted units created by the Vail InDEED program, which launched in 2017, through the end of 2020.
• Transactions closed: 69
• Total homes deed restricted: 155
•Residents in deed-restricted homes: 343
• Average investment per deed restriction: $69,091
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