Vail OKs 58 affordable homes
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado ” Plans for an affordable neighborhood and new fire station in West Vail, Colorado were approved by the Vail Town Council Tuesday after more than a year of discussion about the employee housing project.
The “Chamonix Master Plan” calls for 58 affordable, deed-restricted homes and a third Vail fire station on a 3.6-acre parcel north and just west of the West Vail exit.
The cost of building the 58 homes could range from about $22 million for prefabricated homes to $29.5 million for homes built on site.
The big hurdle for the town will be finding funding for the project and determining just how affordable the homes will be.
The town is aiming to make the homes affordable for people making 60 to 120 percent of the area median income. That means the homes would cost $155,000 to $335,000 for a family of three, said Vail Housing Director Nina Timm.
At those prices, the homes can’t be built and sold without significant subsidies from the town, she said.
“There would be a gap in providing housing that is affordable to people earning those incomes,” she told council members. “So do we want to close the gap, or do we want to sell (the homes) to people of higher incomes?”
An outside consultant will probably be hired to determine the prices of the homes. The town plans to put out a “request for proposals” for developers who want to design, built and sell the homes.
But should Vail even be trying to sell homes to people earning $43,800 (60 percent of the average median income), asked Vail Mayor Dick Cleveland.
“We’ve all learned that not everyone can afford a mortgage,” he said. “We ought to recognize that. We shouldn’t be going down a path to target a market that may not even be able to afford a mortgage.”
It may be difficult to build something at that affordable of a price, he said.
“There isn’t a $155,000 unit in this town,” he said.
The Chamonix plans are the result of more than a year’s worth of work, and council members said they were eager to get the project from a much-discussed idea to reality.
“This is exciting, doing what we said we were going to do,” said Vail Town Councilman Mark Gordon.
Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2928 or firstname.lastname@example.org.