Affordable housing details slowly shaking out
SILVERTHORNE – Local affordable housing leaders began pounding out details of a uniform deed restriction for the county Wednesday, but the document will take some time to complete.”We’d rather do it right than do it in a hurry,” said Summit Combined Housing Authority (SCHA) executive director Bonnie Osborn.An initial strategic plan estimated the SCHA would need about six months to finish the document. But Osborn said no formal timeline has been set, only that it will take several meetings and a lot of town input before the deed restriction is finished.”It seems like things are moving very slowly,” said Peggy Long, Silverthorne mayor pro tem and SCHA representative, after the meeting. “But in government, life always moves slowly.” She added that the group is now making progress toward turning goals set last month into policies.”Our number one objective is to keep homes affordable, and we want a generic deed restriction so people across the county will know what is included if they buy a deed restricted house,” Osborn said. The basic guidelines will also ease the monitoring and enforcement processes, she added.Representatives from Silverthorne and Breckenridge raised questions and offered comments from their town councils during the meeting. The main suggestions were to simplify the document down to the key points essential to a deed restriction, Osborn said.One of the most important aspects will be setting an annual cap for resale. For now, SCHA plans to keep the cap at an annual rate of 3 percent, which is the standard for many housing authorities across the country.”It’s the only way to keep an affordable house affordable,” Osborn said.The document will likely exclude real estate commissions and associated costs from considerations of sales price.Guidelines relating to several other elements of the restriction are still being discussed, including: The minimum number of hours per week the title holder of the property must work, which the draft sets at 30 hours. The owner will also need to occupy the home full-time; A limit to the amount of capital improvements allowed during a certain period of time; Maximum household income as a percentage of area median income requirements, although towns and the county will be able to determine those percentages themselves and may change them for different neighborhoods; How long after a home is purchased the owner may retire; and A section to protect affordable units from losing their affordability in the event of a foreclosure.The SCHA will likely undertake an annual monitoring of eligibility requirements, but neighbors often perform informal monitoring by registering complaints about potential breaches. Compliance issues would be turned over to the town or county attorney.Julia Connors can be reached at (970) 668-4620.
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