Breck planners send affordable housing plan back for changes
BRECKENRIDGE – Breckenridge planning commissioners sent developer Gene Gregory back to the drawing board Tuesday night, saying the affordable housing project he would like to build is too dense and inappropriate for the entrance to town.
Gregory, who presented a general idea of his project to the town council last month, wants the town to annex the land just north of the 7-Eleven at County Road 450 and Highway 9 so he can bring 59 pre-fabricated homes to the four-acre site.
Currently, the land in the county is zoned for commercial and lodging uses and comprises 16 low-income trailers. Gregory would like it to become part of the town and have the land rezoned as residential.
Gregory said he needs to build so many units to keep the project affordable.
He proposes to sell half the homes to people who make 80 percent of the Area Mean Income (AMI) and the other half to those who make 110 percent AMI.
AMI is described as the amount of income where half the people make more and half make less. In Summit County, that amount is $50,900 for a household of one and $72,700 for a household of four.
While commissioners and the public both applauded his efforts to provide affordable housing in the community, they agreed this site isn’t the best spot for a residential community.
Commissioners cited traffic noise from the two adjoining roads, the density of the proposed project and the appearance of the homes, which Gregory told town council members would be similar to the single-wide modular units at Tiger Run RV Resort.
“While we’re very much in support of trying to find affordable housing at every level, this misses the mark,” said Commissioner and Town Councilmember Ernie Blake. “It looks like military housing, and I don’t want to go back to that.”
“I applaud your efforts, but if it takes this type of intensity to make it pencil in, this is the wrong place to put it,” said commissioner Herman Haering. “We need viable neighborhoods and people need to have comfortable places to live.”
Residents agreed, saying that while Gregory’s proposed house cost is far below that of the majority of homes in the county, it’s still too much for their budgets. One resident said he currently pays $625 a month, and a mortgage in Gregory’s Gateway project would bump that up 40 percent – even with a financing program Gregory proposes to bring those costs down by offering a second, smaller mortgage to eliminate the cost of mortgage insurance.
“Low-income housing is not $1,000 a month,” said Bob Allard, who recently purchased a trailer with his wife and two sons. “I make $10 an hour. I’ve got to pay half my paycheck to rent, the other half to car payments, and her paycheck pays the other bills. We aren’t living here because we choose to. We’re living here because we have to. This will pull my house out from under me.”
Council members also reminded residents that even though they only recently received eviction notices, the property owner has had the parcel on the market for a long time and they should have known it would eventually sell.
“The days are numbered for that trailer park,” said councilmember Dave Pringle. “That’s reality.”
Tim Tedore, another resident, asked about the quality of the buildings because as a Realtor, he said he’s seen modular homes fall apart over time.
But Gregory assured him the homes would be built with the same products he uses in other high-end properties he builds in town.
“These aren’t trailer homes,” he said. “They build these things to last. I can pretty much guarantee their longevity to be as long as any other home in Breckenridge.”
Work there, however, won’t begin any time soon.
According to town planner Mike Mosher, the earliest any work could be done on the site would be next spring.
“Even if the annexation process went through at lightning speed, it would take about a month,” he said. “And then we have the master plan process, the subdivision process and development.”
Gregory would like to have the first units ready for occupancy by next September and have 30 units up by the end of the ski season.
Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or
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