Breckenridge eyes what’s the right home size
summit daily news
Summit County, CO Colorado
BRECKENRIDGE ” Breckenridge officials want to restrict home sizes to preserve neighborhood character, but public concerns have led to a task force aimed at finding a consensus.
The town last week hosted two open-house meetings with residents from about 25 Breckenridge neighborhoods.
In both meetings, many of those surveyed shared that maintaining the size and scale of homes in their neighborhood was important.
But a wide majority disagreed with the town’s proposal of capping the maximum home size at the existing 80th percentile.
At Tuesday’s town council work session, Mayor John Warner said the plan is aimed at avoiding situations in which a 10,000-square-foot house is built amid homes of about 4,000 square feet, for example.
He said this “could degrade the community.”
“This is a road we don’t necessarily have to go down, but in the guise of what makes Breckenridge such a great community ” and not a turnoff ” is that our neighborhoods have a certain character to them,” Warner said.
About 25 residents attended the work session, many of whom explained their objections to the town’s approach.
Some said people who want to build a 10,000 square-foot house will simply take their plans ” and potential town property-tax dollars ” elsewhere. Others pointed out that a design-based, rather than size-based, approach could better fit with what neighborhoods want.
Marc Hogan said the homes’ setbacks, basements and other factors could be used to determine whether they fit with a set of criteria.
“I think everyone wants to have neighborhoods that feel right,” he said.
Many who shared their thoughts said they’d prefer to have the policy address specific subdivisions rather than the town overall.
Town community-development director Peter Grosshuesch said some residents are concerned that community character should be more an issue for the historic district than outlying areas.
Rick Hague, a resident who also serves as the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance president, said he supports the town’s effort “100 percent.”
“The last thing we need in Breckenridge is a lot more ‘McMansions’ that are only occupied three or four weeks per year,” he said.
Councilman Jeffrey Bergeron cited large differences he’s observed in neighborhood home sizes, but added that the public’s participation is invited.
“I’m not gonna fall on my sword against this thing. I’m not gonna shove it down anybody’s throat,” he said. “But I bet you in 20 years from now, if we don’t do anything, I think we’ll wish we had.”
Warner concluded the work session by suggesting a task force of stakeholders such as a real-estate agent, a builder, a member of town staff and others meet to “create a menu of options” for future discussion.
Town spokeswoman Kim DiLallo said Wednesday that town staff will be assembling a task force to convene sometime soon regarding a neighborhood-preservation policy.
The policy would apply to homes in neighborhoods without platted building envelopes. Single-family residences and some duplexes are the only structures with no square-footage limits in the town’s development code.
Robert Allen can be contacted at (970) 668-4628 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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