Belford affordable housing scaled back
FRISCO – Developer Rob Dick contends that affordable housing can be a good neighbor, and on Monday evening, he put his money where his mouth is.Dick agreed to reduce the number of units in the Belford Place project in response to neighbors’ complaints that the proposal was too dense and not compatible with the surrounding neighborhood.”We have a poorer developer, but a better project,” Dick said, as he exited a meeting with a half dozen of the project’s neighbors. “It’s our job as a developer to be stewards of the property. We need to be sensitive to the needs of the neighbors to the extent we can.”The undeveloped land on the corner of Belford Street and Eighth Avenue, across from Frisco Elementary School, is zoned for 12 units an acre, as is the surrounding area. Dick and his partner Henry Burgwyn submitted a sketch plan containing 12 units, which drew heat from neighbors in the parcel’s vicinity.Within a two-block radius, the density in the area is about 8.25 units per acre, but nearby densities are as high as 22 units per acre.Frisco resident Jeff Andrew led a petition drive to reduce the number of units to eight and gathered about 140 signatures from Frisco Elementary parents and neighbors.At Monday night’s meeting, the neighbors and Dick agreed to meet in the middle when they settled on 10 units for the project, eight of which will be affordable to residents earning 80 to 100 percent of the area median income (AMI), the average annual income among local households. In Summit County, the AMI for a family of four is $76,100.Dick also agreed to neighbors’ requests to remove two six-car garage structures; to redirect traffic flow to reduce headlights shining into neighbors’ windows; and to add some fences and landscaping for buffering between the project and adjacent homes.”I feel fantastic,” Andrew said. “It went very well. We have a developer who is actually interested in what the neighborhood has to say. We compromised on every issue.”Dick estimated that having two fewer units would drive up infrastructure costs by about $10,000 in each of the remaining units, but that the elimination of the garages would cancel out the increase.The project’s single-family houses will have attached garages and duplexes will have storage units. Duplex units will sell for about $175,000 and the project’s single-family houses will sell for about $209,000.Dick hopes to break ground in spring of 2005 and to complete the project before the end of the year.Dick is the former executive director of the Regional Affordable Living Foundation in Routt County, a nonprofit that has created many affordable housing projects in the Steamboat Springs area.Julie Sutor can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 203 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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