Breckenridge has some explaining to do
Thank you so much for your informative article entitled “Welcome to Breckenridge Super Storage” that just ran in this past Sunday’s paper. Your story brings up some interesting points about how the Breckenridge Town Council feels about annexing properties into the Town of Breckenridge. Unfortunately, the story does not reasonably nor adequately explain the rationale behind the town council’s decision-making process. I hope the Summit Daily News or members of the council can clarify a few of the following issues and contradictory statements as noted herein.
The headline of the story is certainly an eyecatcher ” the town council has the power to control what the entryway to Breckenridge will look like for the rest of our lives. The Breckenridge Town Council has apparently decided “that garage-like storage units will be built instead of timber-and-stone residences.” I must admit, I am completely dumbfounded at the decision-making process. According to Eric Mamula, “the town’s got to make the best business deal it can for the taxpayer.” Apparently the town council has decided the very best business deal for all of us taxpayers is to have 60,000 square feet of garages be the entryway to one of the greatest resort destinations in the world.
Why? Because “the town’s annexation guidelines call for housing developers to include at least 80 percent attainable housing in their plans.” Who came up with this “guideline?” What reasonable developer can simply give away 80 percent of his property and profit to any community cause? When did Breckenridge become 80 percent communist? Even the executive director of the Summit Combined Housing Authority, Jennifer Kermode, said she was unaware of the town’s 80 percent attainable-housing requirement for annexations. “To me, that sounds like that would be tough in a lot of situations to meet.” The developers of this parcel are willing to make fully 10 of the 26 planned townhomes into affordable housing; they simply can’t make a profit otherwise. In my book, 10 affordable homes for local families to live in forever is much better than zero affordable homes. And nice-looking homes are certainly better than garages as the gateway to our community. Your town council thinks otherwise.
Why? Eric Mamula suggests that “any group that’s ever annexed has to pay some price” pointing out by way of example that the Breckenridge Highlands development provided the town’s golf course. If I’m not mistaken, the original 18 holes of the Breckenridge Golf Course were developed well before the Highlands was ever even a twinkle in some developer’s eye. And the additional nine holes so graciously “provided” by the Highlands developers created a terrific opportunity for those same developers to have more golf-course frontage homesites. I think there is a very strong argument that the “price” the developers paid to be granted annexation into the Town of Breckenridge actually created more profit for the developer, and I think there is an equally strong argument that the “donation” of the land for the golf course did absolutely nothing to increase the number of affordable housing units. Why isn’t 80 percent of the Highlands subdivision affordable housing? How many affordable-housing units did the Highlands developers, in fact, contribute to the Town of Breckenridge?
Obviously affordable housing is a primary objective of the town council, as well it should be. In addition, I would like to assume, the overall desirability of Breckenridge should be a primary objective for the town council. The choice in this matter seems so obviously clear. Unfortunately not to those who actually make the decisions. I would love to know why. Please tell me. Please tell all of us.
Ultimately, I would hope the members of the Breckenridge Town Council will re-evaluate their position in this matter and consider introducing more reasonable guidelines so as to actually entice and encourage more developers to annex property that include some reasonable mix of affordable housing. As the executive director of the Summit Combined Housing Authority said “I think anytime (developments include) any affordable units is a plus for us – as opposed to mini storage…..by the same token, if you’re a developer, it has to make economic sense to do it.” So please, town council members, make the rules make economic sense and make the rules make common sense. Look at the long-term benefits to the Town of Breckenridge. Look at the benefits to the local families. Look at the benefits to the gateway of our wonderful town, and please make the right decision for all of us.
Mike Krueger is a real-estate broker and 18-year resident of Breckenridge. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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