Amendment adds diversity to Keystone employee housing
SUMMIT COUNTY<Keystone Resort gains more flexibility in its employee housing requirements with a county-approved change to the resort1s planned unit development (PUD).The Summit Board of County Commissioners approved the change two weeks ago with little comment because, they said, they see little but positives from the revision.3Basically, it addresses the change in staffing at the ski area, said Commissioner Bill Wallace. 3When (the PUD) was written, they needed a lot more seasonal employees, and that1s shifting. There aren1t as may college students coming and working for a season.3What is changing is the way people can use employee housing, said Thomas Davidson, Keystone Real Estate Development (KRED) planning manager. 3If employee housing is going to be successful, it has to be something people want to live in longer than just one season.Keystone plans to build for-sale housing to reach those types of employees.3A person with a mortgage makes for a reliable, long-term employee, Davidson said. 3And it1s better for them. We1ll get a more stable and happier work force.The county requires Keystone to provide housing for 40 percent of the resort1s employees, but many of those beds went empty this season, Davidson said.3We really overzoned our PUD for employee housing, Davidson said. 3The labor market is tight.It1s not only tight, it1s changing. Ski bums are becoming a thing of the past, and married workers with families are increasingly common. That leaves seasonal offerings such as Sagebrush<a dormitory-style building<less in demand than in the past, and the need for long-term rentals and for-sale units on the rise.That over-calculation in needed employee units is, in part, because Keystone and Arapahoe Basin were jointly owned when the PUD was penned in 1995. In addition, when current Keystone owner Vail Resorts acquired Keystone and Breckenridge, some of the administrative workers moved to offices in Eagle County.Under the amended PUD, Keystone can develop more employee-owned projects, allowing more of its workers to buy homes at Keystone. It also allows Keystone to build for families, removing the previous 3disincentive to provide such housing.3Under the old rules, there was a limitation on the number of for-sale or ownership units we could do, Davidson said.Other changes to the PUD allow Keystone to offer up to 20 percent of its housing to people who don1t work at the resort.While Davidson said it 3shouldn1t be construed as the solution to the county1s employee housing issues, it will alleviate some of the countywide housing shortage.3The vision is we1ve got school teachers, firemen, policemen, snow plow drivers<you want those people living in your community, Davidson said. 3We are here for the long term. It1s important we have a good relationship with the community.The flexibility in those who can live in Keystone housing means the area will provide units for everyone from seasonal ski bums to local workers with young children.
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