Breckenridge considers policy requiring employers to provide workforce housing
BRECKENRIDGE — The town of Breckenridge is moving forward with a code amendment that would require employers to provide a certain amount of employee housing to their employees.
The proposed code amendment would require all new development to “mitigate a certain percentage of the employees that are generated by the project.” The code amendment also would require all projects to fulfill at least half of their employee housing requirement by constructing deed-restricted units on-site. The remainder of the required housing could be satisfied in off-site units.
While staff recommended that the employee mitigation rate be set at 25%, council members felt that was too low and settled on a 35% mitigation rate. The rate is the percentage of employees who must be housed under the proposed policy.
Council member Wendy Wolfe compared Summit County’s employee housing to that of Aspen and Vail, and she said Summit County has been “too low.”
Council members also discussed exemptions.
Erin Gigliello suggested an exemption for businesses that would be considered a “true mom and pop” where the owners are the only employees and already have a home. Town staff said there is already a criteria for this type of business and that a separate exemption might not be warranted.
Council members also discussed potential variances for different types of businesses such as a quick-service restaurant versus full-service restaurants. However, Mayor Eric Mamula pointed out that the difference between these restaurant types changes frequently in Breckenridge along with ownership changes.
“Things always work better in the planning code when they are cut and dry,” Mamula said.
Council also considered reducing the on-site housing requirement from 50% to 25% and allowing a 10% higher density for projects with on-site employee housing. Council members also considered making projects in the Breckinridge County Conservation District exempt from the on-site requirement by allowing projects in this district to be fulfilled off-site.
While the ordinance to amend the code passed on first reading, town attorney Tim Berry was tasked with checking in on how other towns, such as Aspen and Vail, work with similar codes. Second reading is scheduled for March 24.
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