Breck eyes affordable housing code violation
BRECKENRIDGE – Town officials are considering legal action against an Indiana couple, Kirk and Pam Alter, who allegedly have violated the terms of their deed restriction on a Wellington Neighborhood unit they bought in July 2004.The community has invested heavily in affordable housing, and the Breckenridge Town Council does not want to permit abuse of those affordable housing covenants, town manager Tim Gagen explained.”We’re talking to our town attorney and we’re talking about doing some kind of filing in the near future,” Gagen said, adding that there may also be an issue of fraud. Violations of the deed restrictions would be addressed in a civil action in municipal court, while any fraud charges would be handled separately as a criminal matter, Gagen said, adding that he’s expecting a report back from the town’s legal staff later this week. Town attorneys have been discussing the case with the DA’s office, he said.”We’re definitely looking at legal action. They signed an affidavit that they’d abide by the covenants of the deed restriction,” Gagen said. Fines could reach as high as $100 per day for every day the owners are in violation, Gagen said. “From as much evidence as we’ve been able to gather, they’ve never occupied the property.”Town officials have attempted to contact the Alters, who have not responded, Gagen added. The Alters have not responded to numerous calls left by the Summit Daily News as well.The deed restrictions require owners to live in the house and to work in Summit County at least 30 hours per week. There are also provisions to enable the rental of the property, but according to neighbors and members of the neighborhood homeowners association, the Alters have never lived in the unit.”These people have never been in compliance … They have made a mockery of the employee housing restrictive covenant which is in place … The Alters have never lived here. To the best of my knowledge, they have occupied the premises during Christmas and for a short summer vacation. It is apparent that the Alters lied when filling out their affidavit wherein they swore under penalty of perjury that this would be their full- time residence and that they were employed in the county,” a Wellington Neighborhood resident wrote in a recent e-mail to the Breckenridge Town Council calling for enforcement. Violation of affordable housing deed restrictions and covenants is rare in Summit County, said Summit Housing Authority director Bonnie Osborn. The housing authority monitors about 300 affordable housing units with deed restrictions, sending out annual verification letters that owners must sign and return. If the SHA doesn’t get a response, they follow up, Osborn said. In her 15 months as SHA director, Osborn said she’s seen only two serious violations.Bob Berwyn can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or at email@example.com.
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