Another affordable housing project is underway in Breckenridge, and unlike projects such as Wintergreen’s second phase and the Alta Verde development, this project will likely be completed soon, possibly as early as summer 2023.
Instead of being a âstickâ construction like Wintergreen and Alta Verde, this new project will feature modular homes built by the new Fading West development based in Buena Vista. The company recently opened a new factory where the homes will be manufactured and then shipped, and the Town of Breckenridge and Summit County are teaming up to bring these homes here.
While the project does not yet have a name – officials loosely referred to it as the Justice Center Package Project – it is well advanced. The proposal includes two or three storey buildings that will contain up to 54 units. Inside the buildings there will be a range of studios, one-bedroom units, and two-bedroom units.
The project will be funded 50-50 by the Town of Breckenridge and the County of Summit, which is also providing the land. Summit County Housing Director Jason Dietz said the project’s initial budget was around $ 15 million, but will likely rise to over $ 17 million when completed. Dietz noted that his team was exploring grants and other funding avenues through the Colorado Department of Local Affairs.
At a working meeting of the County Commissioners Council at the summit on Tuesday, January 4, Dietz asked what type of median income in the area units should be capped at, noting that to receive state funding, units would have to be capped at 80% or less, which is no more than $ 76,880 for a family of four in Summit County.
Units may not be capped at 80%, but since state funding depends on that number, much of the discussion has centered around the topic of income.
If the cap were indeed 80%, that would mean that to live in this development, a single person could not earn more than $ 53,840 per year, according to the Summit Combined Housing Authority.. Thus, a studio rental would be capped at $ 1,346 per month and a two-bedroom apartment would be capped at $ 1,730.
Dietz suggested that this project should have a range of income caps so that it can accommodate different income levels. Summit County Commissioner Elisabeth Lawrence said she was comfortable with it, but did not want to go with a cap so low that it would become difficult to find people who meet the criteria. She said that’s what happened at times with developments from Pinewood to Breckenridge.
“I don’t see why we have to pick one, but instead if we could have a lineup and maybe the majority of the units would be at 80%, then we have some 70% for the very low income. and some of those at 95%, and I would mix that up between unit types as well, âLawrence said.
Summit County Director Scott Vargo noted that while most needs are on the lower end of the spectrum, setting the maximum income at different levels allows those whose income has increased to find a place where go. Summit County Commissioner Tamara Pogue has expressed concern about the idea, however.
âThis argument doesn’t go any further because we’ve alsoâ¦ done a lot more construction in the middle of the spectrum (median area income) than we have at the lower end, so in terms of inventory than we have. contributed to the housing supply chain, there is a lot more inventory in the middle than there is at the bottom, âsaid Pogue.
She advocated that this project should have a lower income cap on most units.
“I understand wanting to have flexibility, but both from the point of view of mobilizing state funds and from the point of view of where the needs are greatest, the argument rests on the fact that a larger part of this project is lower (median income of the area) than average or higher (median income of the region), âshe said.
Pogue cited the Housing Needs Assessment presented last year as referring to where the rental need was greatest in the community, and Lawrence expressed concern that since data from this study was collected before the pandemic, it is not sure of its validity in today’s world. weather.
Even so, it was noted during the meeting that the teachers, nurses, assistants and drivers of the Summit Stage could all be satisfied with a limit of 80% of the region’s median income or less. Dietz noted that it would be more difficult for a couple to operate it as they would likely exceed the required income, which is $ 61,520 at the 80% threshold.
The commissioners also briefly mentioned the density of the project. Both Dietz and Lawrence noted that this was a very dense project to be located on less than 2 acres of land, but Pogue and Summit County Commissioner Josh Blanchard were keen to have future conversations about the density. Both were in favor of creating denser developments that could offer the greatest number of housing units, even if it means reducing parking.
âI think if we continue to embrace the status quo, we might miss an opportunity here on how we, as a larger community, think about density,â Blanchard said. “I can hear you absolutely – it’s denser – but when you look at other areas of workforce housing, it might not be as dense in other communities.”
Leaders also discussed how many units they would like to reserve for county staff and landed on around six units, which would be split between different unit sizes. The Town of Breckenridge would likely also keep some units for its own staff.
While much remains to be determined, the approximate completion timeline for the project is summer 2023.