Breck, school district assess affordable housing |

Breck, school district assess affordable housing

LORY POUNDERsummit daily newsSummit County, CO Colorado
Courtesy of DTJ Design, Inc.

Summit School District 2007 Employee Housing Needs Assessment Survey showed: Twenty-seven percent of district employees (122 employees) are in need of affordable housing. In five years, that number will grow to 41 percent and in 10 years it will reach 56 percent. By 2017, 29 percent of teachers will retire, the vast majority of whom own their homes, which will add to the need for affordable housing for new teachers. Of the those who filled out the survey – about 40 percent of the 446 district employees – 29 percent said they are not satisfied with their current housing situation. More than 50 percent said they may be interested or would be very interested in school district affordable housing. Those most interested are between the ages of 25 and 34.- Considered affordable in Summit County: $170,000 for a one bedroom place, $235,000 for two bedrooms. Survey Source: Venturoni Surveys and Research Inc.SUMMIT COUNTY – Jaime Sherman had her heart broken twice.She is one of the many teachers in the county who enter the Summit Combined Housing Authority lottery hoping to win an affordable place to buy. However, disappointingly, her name didn’t come up.Like Sherman, 122 Summit School District employees (27 percent) are in need of affordable housing – a number texpected to more than double in 10 years, according to a recent survey. However, the good news is that the school board has heard the struggles employees face with this issue and recently began talking about options to help. A few months ago, school board members met with Breckenridge Town Council about a possible land swap by Upper Blue Elementary School where affordable housing could be built for teachers. And last week, Bill Campie, senior planner and landscape architect with DTJ Design, met with the school board to show them renderings of the Breckenridge affordable housing master plan. In it, he included the school district land – next to the town’s land – to show them what could be done.The Town’s Block 11/McCain property, which will likely have about 300 affordable housing units in a variety of styles from apartments to single-family homes, is designed to be an “expansion of the neighborhood of Breckenridge,” Campie told the school board.The master plan includes a mixture of architectural styles, narrow streets and integrated daycare, parks, open spaces and landscaping. Also, at the north end of the 72-acre Block 11 property that runs along Highway 9 leading to the entrance of town, 20 acres is slated for Colorado Mountain College. ‘Possibly next year’In recent months, DTJ has gained public input about the master plan as well as the advice of builders and the ski area. Tuesday, Campie presented the information and drawings Breckenridge Town Council during a worksession, and Wednesday he visited with the school board.The next step will be to finalize the landscape character plan and design guidelines and bring that back to the council in July, Campie said.From there, Town Manager Tim Gagen said the first piece to be developed will be on the town-owned land by the south side of Upper Blue Elementary. “Possibly next year, a builder could be on the ground building units,” he added.Following the presentation at the school district central administration building, Superintendent Millie Hamner said the school board needs to have more conversations about the issue and they expect Breckenridge will come back with a proposal next month. In the meantime, the district is figuring out what land they have available for future needs to see how using the land at Upper Blue for affordable housing would impact needs of the schools.Sherman, who has been with the district for five years and teaches third grade at Silverthorne Elementary School, said, “I 100 percent love that they’re addressing the problem.” However, she could no longer wait to try and get an affordable house so she took a risk and is closing on a condo in Summit Cove that is “above my means,” she said. As a result, she is planning on finding a roommate to help pay her mortgage.”It’s beyond frustrating,” Sherman said about the affordable housing issue that has weighed on her mind.Lory Pounder can be reached at (970) 668-4628, or at

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