Developer collects signatures for annexation
BRECKENRIDGE – Developer Gene Gregory is collecting signatures he plans to present to the Breckenridge Town Council next month to show how much support he has to be annexed into town so he can build affordable housing at County Road 450 and Highway 9.
The land is currently in the county, zoned for commercial uses, and has on it 16 trailer homes and a Quonset hut that houses a furniture store.
Gregory wants to annex the land into the town and rezone it for residential uses. Then, he would like to build 50 to 59 pre-fabricated homes and sell them as affordable housing. One reason to be annexed is to get town water service.
Town planning commissioners last week said they thought the project was inappropriate for the site and that there are too many homes proposed.
Gregory’s plan didn’t sit well with many residents, either, many who said they don’t want to lose their homes and that they can’t afford units in his proposed development.
After hearing their comments at a Breckenridge Planning Commission meeting last week, Gregory met with some of the homeowners at the Peak 8 Trailer Park to discuss how to make the project work.
“We all agreed to move forward,” Gregory said. “The attitude is changing overnight.”
Gregory’s initial plan was to provide housing to people who make 80 percent and 110 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI). AMI is the amount of money where half the people make more and half make less.
For a family of four, 100 percent of AMI is $72,700 a year; 80 percent is $58,160; and 110 percent is $79,970.
Under Gregory’s financing plan, a would-be homeowner would be required to obtain 80 percent of the financing, and he would finance the remaining 20 percent at a 6.5 percent rate over a 25-year period.
That, he said, would preclude new homeowners from having to pay mortgage insurance. And, if the owners sell the property, the balance of that 25-year note will be passed on to the new homeowners to help them qualify, he said.
That wasn’t enough for some residents.
Now, Gregory plans to subsidize residents $250 a month while they are displaced during project construction, and when they return, let them rent the units for five years, during which time they will be able to clean up their credit and save money, he said.
For the first three years, Gregory would charge $800 a month rent, and for the remaining two years, he would charge $875. Out of those payments, he would set aside a $100 credit to be applied toward a down payment at the end of the five years.
Additionally, he said, he would keep the sales prices the same over the five-year period for those interested in participating in the program.
“A lot of these people live in town, work in town and they can’t afford to buy,” Gregory said. “This will help them purchase a home where no one else is willing to help. This will let them afford a home when they thought they were priced out of the market forever.”
He plans to ask the town council to override last week’s planning commission decision to deny the annexation based on the site plan, which it felt was an inappropriate use for the entrance to town.
For some, it could put an almost impossible situation – homeownership – within reach.
“It looks like he does have good thoughts, a good plan intended,” said a resident who asked not to be named, and who said she would be interested in possibly owning a home there. “I’m hoping it can work out.”
But for Tim Tedore, a six-year Breckenridge resident, the financial incentives still don’t mitigate the project’s design and location.
“I still don’t think his project is that good,” he said. “It’s a commercially zoned lot and it should stay commercial. If he wants to put up pre-fab affordable housing, he needs to find a better space. That’s where you come into Breckenridge; I don’t want to see that there.”
He also thinks the wording in the petition is deceptive.
“I don’t think people really understand what they’re signing,” Tedore said. “How hard is it to say, “Let’s put in affordable housing, get rid of those ugly trailers; here’s a petition, sign it?’ Affordable housing is a buzz word politicians use to make themselves feel better. Gene Gregory is using it to make money.”
Gregory said Monday that he had about 350 signatures on the petition and hopes to present at least 400 to the council.
Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or email@example.com.
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