Silverthorne will pay businesses for new workforce housing options
March 27, 2018
Silverthorne has a new arrow in its quiver to promote local business with the unveiling of a program designed to help those businesses hire and retain qualified workers.
It's called the "Workforce Housing Business Assistance Program."
Town manager Ryan Hyland conceded they didn't spend too much time on the acronym, but town officials are nonetheless hoping it will lead to the creation of new long-term workforce housing units by offering businesses that want these kinds of properties up to $30,000 to help pay for them.
Employee housing remains a major problem for Summit County's business community, and some business owners have taken on their own housing projects to address the issue while others are considering them.
“Not everyone is going to have that opportunity to build on-site, but that’s one of the things we could support through this program.”Ryan HylandTown manager
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One example Hyland provided while detailing the new program was Summit Automotive Group, which recently added employee housing into the business at 943 Blue River Parkway.
"Not everybody is going to have that opportunity to build on-site," Hyland said, "but that's one of the things we could support through this program."
For a business to qualify, it could buy an existing housing unit, build anew or simply add the necessary deed restrictions to housing already owned by the business. The program is entirely homegrown, Hyland said, and any brick-and-mortar businesses inside town limits with valid business licenses and no outstanding code violations or unpaid delinquent sales taxes are eligible to apply.
While the money is only available to Silverthorne businesses, town officials realize many local workers live outside town limits, and the new program has been extended to include housing in not just Silverthorne, but in Dillon, the Dillon Valley and the Lower Blue Basin, including the Wilderness, Ptarmigan and Mesa Cortina neighborhoods and Heeney.
The new housing-assistance program comes in the same vein as Silverthorne's Enhanced Sales Tax Incentive Program or its Business Improvement Grant Program. However, the new program stands as the only one entirely dedicated to bolstering the inventory of workforce housing.
Money to support the new program is coming from the town's voter-approved 5A housing fund, which is designed to help deal with the local housing crisis.
Hyland said the town has already earmarked $60,000 for the program. Considering the amount a business can receive is capped at $30,000, that would only cover two businesses, provided each one applied for and received the full amount.
However, town council could provide additional funding for the program at a later date if the town determines that it's needed because, as Hyland put it, "to get a deed-restricted unit for $30,000, or potentially less depending on the project, is a pretty good long-term deal."
Representatives of the Economic Development Advisory Committee will review all applications and offer recommendations to Silverthorne Town Council, which will make the final determination if a business's application is approved.
The program certainly won't solve the housing problem by itself, but Hyland described it as part of Silverthorne's efforts to offer "a bigger menu of options to help the workforce-housing issue in the community."
Applications can be found at Silverthorne.org, and local businesses may apply for assistance anytime throughout the year.
For more information about the Workforce Housing Business Assistance Program, call 970-262-7303.
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