Breckenridge Town Council shoots down transit center, workforce housing proposal in meeting that might have violated the law
BRECKENRIDGE — At a Breckenridge Town Council special meeting Tuesday, Nov. 3, council members shot down a proposal from Breckenridge Grand Vacations regarding a transit center and workforce housing project. However, an existing master plan allows the property management company to build other residential units, which it plans to do.
Breckenridge Community Development Director Mark Truckey explained in a memo to council that the current master plan allows for 143 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 — to be built on the North Gondola and Gold Rush lots.
After the Breckenridge Grand Vacations presentation, council members asked questions but did not share comments and then went into executive session, which is not open to the public. Town spokesperson Haley Littleton wrote in an email that the purpose of the executive session was to determine if and how the town might negotiate with the developer.
Truckey wrote in his memo that council was not asked for input on the overall development plan, as that will be vetted through the planning commission first, and instead was asked to give direction on the transit center and workforce housing concepts.
Breckenridge Grand Vacations proposed moving a transit center to be near the Watson Street roundabout and Park Avenue, which Truckey said was preferable to the current location of the center in the land lease agreement, which is farther to the east of Watson Avenue.
Breckenridge Grand Vacations CEO and co-owner Mike Dudick presented the plans, outlining the change in location of the transit center and its design of two lanes for vehicle traffic.
Workforce housing units on the Gold Rush lot also were proposed. Truckey explained that the Gold Rush lot can accommodate more units than the company intends to build, so workforce housing units were proposed under the conditions that rent is set at 100% of area median income — $67,200 for a single person — and that the town would provide necessary density.
Truckey noted in the meeting that the development code requires housing to be provided for 35% of the employees generated by the development. In his presentation, Dudick posed the philosophical question of whether the town wanted to provide additional density for workforce housing.
Dudick said that while the town isn’t being asked to contribute to the workforce housing at 100% area median income rental rates, it would be if the town wanted to lower the average AMI.
Council member Dick Carleton said 100% AMI rent for a one-bedroom unit is $1,800 and a two-bedroom unit is $2,160. Dudick said workforce housing would not be exclusive to his employees.
“I offer this as a community benefit and not a BGV benefit,” Dudick said. “I understand it’s your density, not mine. I’m fine with the stipulations. I want to be a good community partner and say that I’m here as a resource to address workforce housing shortage issues in a taxpayer-free environment.”
Following the executive session, Mayor Eric Mamula stated that the council decided it would not be interested in either the transit center or workforce housing proposals. Speaking about the transit center specifically, Mamula said the council doesn’t want to obligate itself to any kind of financial commitment to changing the outlay in the next four to five years.
“For the housing, the council did not feel that 100% AMI development was something we wanted … on that site,” Mamula said.
While entering an executive session to discuss negotiations is allowed, Colorado open meetings law permits only limited discussion as it pertains to negotiations and prohibits any type of decision-making, informal or otherwise.
“They violated the open meetings law,” media attorney Steven D. Zansberg said Wednesday. “… It is supposed to be done in the open; it’s not supposed to be reported to us after the fact.”
The executive session lasted for about 80 minutes, according to time stamps on the video recording.
The Summit Daily News has expressed its concerns about decision-making that appears to have taken place illegally and has requested a recording of the executive session.
In a phone call after the meeting, Dudick said he would not present on the workforce housing piece again as part of the project but would move forward with the planning process for market-rate residential units.
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