Colors to tone down; developer says concerns are premature
BRECKENRIDGE – A factory may be partly to blame for colors on Gibson Heights homes that Breckenridge council members find objectionable, Summit Housing Authority (SHA) Director Gordon Ferris said Thursday. While Ferris isn’t happy about the council’s objections, he plans to subdue those tones to meet the wishes of the council members.
“We are doing what it takes to make everybody happy, but it’s frustrating to some extent,” Ferris said.
Council members were among those who toured the Gibson Heights development Tuesday. Ferris coordinated the tour after council members said last month they were unhappy with several aspects of the project – including exterior trim colors and building grades.
Gibson Heights is an affordable housing project under construction by the SHA on the east side of Breckenridge.
Ferris admitted some of the trim colors are “bold,” but said he changed them at the direction of the council.
“We submitted earth colors to the town (originally),” he said. “The town told us to brighten them up.”
But the modular homes were painted at a factory, and when they arrived in Breckenridge, Ferris admits, some of the trim colors didn’t match the town-approved tones.
The new colors, he said, are “reddish, bluish, yellowish. They’re not earth-tone-ish.”
But, he said, factory workers aren’t the only ones at fault. Ferris believes town staffers changed what they had in mind when they asked him to “brighten up” the tones.
“There are also colors the town approved that now they want us to change,” he said. “They just don’t like them now. We feel we’re being punished for doing what the town asked us to do.”
Breckenridge planner Mike Mosher admits the town asked for “cheerier colors,” but not as bright as those the town now sees at Gibson Heights.
Breckenridge Mayor Sam Mamula said the color change went a little overboard.
“I think “brighten’ is probably a matter of definition,” he said. “Nobody intended the brightness to be the colors they have there.
“Affordable (housing) doesn’t imply that it’s substandard relative to the look. We want it to look as nice as the free market units.”
Ferris believes the concerns, which arose from complaints lodged by area residents, were premature.
“We feel, as does the architect Baker+Hogan+Houx, that once we got the green landscaping introduced into that area, it would help the colors,” he said. “We don’t even think there are problems. We think it’s just an issue of construction and the way it looks when it’s 50 percent complete. Right now, all the colors are standing out against the dredge rock. Painting is an easy fix, but don’t have a conniption before the project is fully complete.”
Likewise with the grading.
“Grade concerns were never a problem,” Ferris said. “We haven’t graded the project yet.
“We think the complaints aren’t even valid, but you have to respond to complaints.”
Mosher also said the appearance of the foundations will change with time.
“We’re looking forward to seeing the landscaping,” he said. “They have to bring in capping soil and then topsoil. If you put topsoil on top of rocks, the first rain it’s all washed into the rocks and you don’t see it anymore. The capping soil acts like a bonding agent, and they’ll be doing that near the end.”
Aesthetic issues aside, Ferris said he’s extremely proud of Gibson Heights.
“This project will most likely win awards in the affordable housing arena,” he said. “It’s a wonderful, livable project that has not been replicated in Summit County because it’s not easy to do.
“We’re selling 2,200-square-foot homes for right around $200,000. That’s less than $100 a square foot cost to the purchaser. It’s just unheard of up here. In nine months, we have placed 34 of the 38 homes on a foundation, and we’re not sacrificing any quality along the way. That’s a lot of change for people in a very short amount of time. We think that’s what generated the complaints.”
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