Breckenridge shoots down 2nd proposal for Miller subdivision development
BRECKENRIDGE — A development proposal for the Miller subdivision, which sits between Stan Miller Drive and the Blue River in Breckenridge, has been turned down for the second time this fall.
Breckenridge Town Council members were concerned that area median incomes for workforce units were set too high and said the development proposal was still too dense and lacked a sense of community.
The site is already approved for 100 deed-restricted and 57 market-rate single-family equivalents, a unit of measure used in the planning process that indicates a building has the average characteristics of a single-family home in the area.
The existing master plan allows for 162 units, yet the proposal presented to council in August included 284 units: 86 market-rate units and 198 deed-restricted units, which would be rental apartments targeted toward those who make on average 100% of area median income, or $67,200 for a single person. Individual units are a different measurement than single-family equivalents.
At the Oct. 27 council work session, council discussed the new proposal with project manager Tom Begley and Mark Provino of Provino Architecture. The new plan includes 66 market-rate and 116 deed-restricted single-family equivalents, an increase from the approved site plan. While the planning department did not know the total number of proposed units, Planning Manager Laurie Best said there would be 188 deed-restricted units amounting to about 282 bedrooms.
Of those, 105 units would be targeted to residents making 100% of area median income with 26 units targeted toward 80%. The remaining 57 deed-restricted units were not addressed, but Begley said the affordable housing section of the project averaged 95% area median income, which equates to monthly rent of $1,710 for a one-bedroom unit to $2,369 for a three-bedroom unit.
The proposal also includes some open space areas and some commercial property, including a child care center.
After reviewing proposed changes to the plan with social equity in mind, Best wrote in a memo to council that staff was concerned that the deed-restricted rental units were concentrated in a small portion of the overall site and separate from the market-rate units.
Council member Dennis Kuhn commented that the public benefits seem to cater more to the market-rate units rather than the deed-restricted units as open space is placed inside the market-rate home area.
Begley said the units need to be built in those configurations to get the number of units needed to bring the price down. He said everyone in the neighborhood would have access to the same amenities.
“This is a step backward from where we were before, and I wasn’t OK with it how it was before,” council member Erin Gigliello said about the previous plan presented in August. “And yes, it’s livable — people can live there, sure — but I think we want more. We want more for our community. The workforce housing is segregated into this corner and … they don’t have the same access to the amenities, and that’s a big issue for me.”
Gigliello added that she thinks the area median income rate is too high and doesn’t fit the town’s housing needs.
Begley pointed out that the existing master plan allows for higher area median incomes than the new proposal does.
“We’re trying to lower the AMI right now to a more reasonable rate,” Begley said. “We don’t want to build anything that’s not going to rent. It’s in our best interest to meet the market demand. … Our goal is to provide more units in this town, to provide more affordable units in this town, and maybe the housing committee needs to take a harder look at what some of those upper limits are for AMI.”
Council member Dick Carleton clarified that the higher area median income rates allowed in the master plan are for the for-sale single-family homes rather than rental units. He also expressed concerns that the plan does not include short-term rental restrictions, which Begley said wouldn’t work because the market-rate homes aren’t designed for long-term renters. He also said short-term rental regulations should be left up to the homeowners association.
Council member Jeffrey Bergeron brought up concerns about sprawl as he believes the project as proposed would bring too many people onto Colorado Highway 9.
“I do think we can come to some agreement, but I think this needs some work,” Bergeron said.
In the end, all council members voiced concerns, and four of the seven council members explicitly said they did not support the project as proposed. Mayor Eric Mamula suggested the developers take a step back and evaluate what the neighborhood should look like rather than let previous single-family equivalent analysis drive the project.
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