Breckenridge Town Council concerned with proposed 284-unit neighborhood
BRECKENRIDGE — A proposal for a new neighborhood containing 284 units in the northern portion of Breckenridge did not sit well with Breckenridge Town Council as members had numerous concerns about the plan. The proposal, which was presented to council by Tom Begley on behalf of the applicant, Miller Property, asked for an increase in density to the development, which is planned to combine deed-restricted, market-rate and lowered AMI-rate units.
Specifically, the proposal refers to an existing annexation agreement for a total of 162 units for a development area between Stan Miller Drive and the Blue River, north of the Alta Verde housing project. The proposed project includes 86 market-rate units and 198 deed-restricted units, which are rental apartments and proposed to be averaged at 100% area median income levels — although staff noted that the applicant had indicated that they are open to working with the town to reduce this to 80%.
According to a memo to council from Nichole Rex and Laurie Best, housing planners and managers for the town, the applicant is open to prohibiting short-term rentals in 44 single-family residential units of the 86 market-rate units and providing deed-restricted accessory dwelling units on these 44 homes. The proposal also included buildings with commercial space on the bottom floor and residential space above.
Council members were concerned about the demographic mix, as theoretically all of the market-rate homes could be owned by second-home owners rather than locals. The structure of the neighborhood places duplex homes along the river where short-term rentals are allowed, single-family homes clustered behind the duplex homes and the apartment buildings and mixed-use space on the edges of the development.
Council member Erin Gigliello said that when comparing the development to the Wellington Neighborhood, the beauty of Wellington is that the mix of locals and market-rate homes creates a sense of community which she said she doesn’t see when looking at the diagram that color codes the types of homes in separate areas.
“When I look at this diagram of the different colored houses and things like that, it’s hard not to just think segregation and I don’t like it,” Gigliello said. “I don’t like the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ so disparate … it doesn’t sit well with me right now and I really think we need to focus on creating community. It’s more important now than ever and I’d like to see this look more like community.”
Council member Kelly Owens said she had a “major concern” regarding child care. She pointed out that if the neighborhood houses local families, it could add strain to the town’s child care system where there is already a 250-child waitlist in Breckenridge. Owens was also worried that the development is too dense and would create traffic problems with people coming out of the development area onto Highway 9.
“My concern is that if these are meant for families who work and live here, then we have some real known infrastructure shortages and child care is, I think, one of the most difficult to deal with,” Owens said.
Begley said he thinks there could be room in the plan for a child care facility, but is concerned about vitality in the commercial area and wants to make sure it’s embraced by the community and well attended.
Council member Dick Carleton said he was conflicted about the project and that it would help if the development was downsized about 20% or so, and agreed that a day care center would be essential. He was also concerned about the sprawl of the town. Council member Dennis Kuhn said he’d like to see more amenities for the community.
“On first blush I think this is too much to the north of the community,” council member Jeffrey Bergeron said.
Mayor Eric Mamula said that he doesn’t believe the town’s infrastructure could handle this large of a new development. He said that if a development was built in this area, the town would have to run a new bus line to the property.
Begley asked for direction on where the project should go. Mamula said the council would need to understand what the apartments would look like in terms of AMI pricing because if the apartments were set at 80% AMI instead of 100% AMI or more, the town would be more incentivized to run bus service to the property.
Owens said her biggest concern was that all the houses in the development as planned would end up being second homes or short-term rentals and said that it would serve a greater community need if the applicant could make the neighborhood more of a community serving local professionals. Begley said that this was the rationale behind the accessory dwelling units. Owens said it might be better if these homes with accessory dwelling units were deed restricted to be geared toward locals.
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