Breckenridge Town Council upholds mixed-use building project 4-3
BRECKENRIDGE — Breckenridge Town Council upheld a project application with a 4-3 vote in a de novo hearing on Tuesday, June 23. Council members were torn on whether or not a plat note that applies to the project site should be upheld, which allows for residential uses of the subdivision with the caveat that these residences are workforce housing.
The application was for a mixed-use building that would include medical office space, retail space, common areas and 14 residential units — both for workforce housing and free market housing. The site for the project is located near the corner of Airport Road and North Park Avenue, according to Community Development Director Mark Truckey. During the planning process, staff and the project applicant, which was listed as Andy Stabile of Allen-Guerra Architecture in the staff report, reached an agreement that 50% of residential units of the project should be restricted to the local workforce. Council called up the project on June 9 because some council members took issue with that agreement.
Mark Truckey introduced the application and explained that this would be a good location for workforce housing but that as of now the project fails an absolute policy because it does not comply with the plat note, so the plat note would have to be modified. He said that the applicant has proposed to deed-restrict two of the units at 80% area median income and to require the other five workforce housing units to be occupied by residents that work 30 hours or more per week in Summit County.
Owner Tom Begley of Docson’s Properties, LLC, as listed in the staff report, was present at the virtual hearing and said the medical offices would be used by High Country Healthcare. He discussed the history of the project as well as the compromise made between staff and the applicant.
“This compromise was not easy to achieve financially for the property owners as the employee units are break-even at best but more likely to operate at a loss,” Begley said. “We’re only able to make up the rental income loss through short-term rentals.”
Begley noted that although the project is difficult to make work financially, the applicant believes it is worth pursuing because it would provide a “first-class health care facility,” create centrally located employee housing units and would add 14 total rental units to the Breckenridge rental pool. Council member Gary Gallagher asked Begley what conflicts he sees arising from placing employee housing units in close proximity to short-term rentals. Begley said designs are in place to mediate noise, incorporating sound detoning techniques. He said insulation between units will aid in reducing noise.
Once the floor was opened to council discussion, council members shared their opinions on the project, starting with the newest council member Dennis Kuhn.
“If we can modify the plat note for the two properties, I like that we gain seven deed-restricted workforce housing units, that’s definitely a plus, and I like the fact that it is being built on the developer’s land, that’s a plus, and I do like the benefit to the community that we’re going to house the new High Country Healthcare,” Kuhn said.
Council member Dick Carleton said that while Kuhn’s “pluses” apply, the negative is the precedent of changing a plat note. Gallagher said he would “fall on the side of wanting to see this project move forward,” partially because the town would gain some additional employee housing at no cost to the town of Breckenridge.
“I don’t believe in encouraging new short-term rental right now when we need workforce housing and I know that this does provide workforce housing but … it’s just not enough benefit for me with this project,” council member Erin Gigliello said.
Mayor Eric Mamula stated that he is not in favor of the project and does not want to get rid of the plat note. When discussing the residential units he said he does not feel the town “gets anything from this deal” as he said five of the seven workforce units are very lightly restricted to the workforce.
Gallagher moved to approve the project with the findings and conditions proposed by the staff. During roll call, council members Kelly Owens, Jeffrey Bergeron, Gallagher and Kuhn voted yes while Gigliello, Carleton and Mamula voted no. The motion was passed and town attorney Tim Berry said he would have a formal written decision on this to be approved by council at the next council meeting.
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