Dillon to incentivize renting accessory dwelling units to locals | SummitDaily.com

Dillon to incentivize renting accessory dwelling units to locals

Units can’t be short-term rented to tourists

Dillon Town Hall is pictured on Jan. 21, 2021. The town wishes to incentivize renting accessory dwelling units to locals.
Sawyer D'Argonne/Summit Daily News archive

The town of Dillon is taking another step toward addressing the affordable housing shortage in Summit County. Accessory dwelling units, such as an apartment above a garage, have already been restricted to long-term renting, but now owners may soon be incentivized to rent the unit to working locals.

The proposed program would reimburse water and sewer tap fees for new and existing accessory dwelling units added to single family or duplex homes as long as they agree to a deed restriction, which would be in perpetuity. Dillon only allows units on those types of properties if the neighbor consents to the construction.

The town code also restricts that accessory dwelling units within single-family homes to roughly one-third the size of the primary unit, and freestanding accessory units must be built on a permanent foundation and are restricted to 600 square feet.

Finance Director Carri McDonnell said at a work session Tuesday, Feb. 15, that the reimbursement would probably equal around $12,000 per accessory dwelling unit. McDonnell said there are roughly 26 units currently in town. The town would cover the cost with funds from Measure 5A, a .6% sales tax dedicated to housing programs.

Back in September, council members discussed getting rid of lease-length restrictions and just require that the tenant be a member of the local workforce. However, this month council was in favor of keeping the six-month minimum and allowing the town manager to create exemptions for short-term workers, such as seasonal employees or traveling nurses, to be eligible to rent.

“There was never an intention that (accessory dwelling units) become short-term rentals, that they were always long-term rentals,” McDonnell said at last week’s work session. “We’re just trying to make it more specific to people working in the county so it creates that workforce housing component that you’ve been trying to get.”

A renter of an accessory dwelling unit has to work at least 30 hours in Summit County. Mayor Carolyn Skowyra asked if a remote worker, such as a lawyer employed at a firm elsewhere, would be eligible to rent the unit. Town Attorney Nick Cotton-Baez said they wouldn’t be, as their definition of qualified occupant requires that the business they work for must operate in and serve Summit County.

Additionally, a self-employed occupant must have their business based and registered in the county. The business must also provide a significant and primary percentage of the business’s service or product locally in or to Summit County and its residents.

“That’s become somewhat of the new definition for qualified applicant across the county,” McDonnell said. “… It has to benefit Summit County.”

Prior to renting the accessory units, owners must apply for approval from the Summit Combined Housing Authority to confirm the status as a qualified occupant. The town of Dillon pays the housing authority to check applications, which McDonnell said was a minimal fee. Yet Skowyra said that if every house in Dillon had an accessory unit with a six-month lease then it could become expensive, and she wondered if it could maybe be done themselves eventually.

“Quite honestly, if we had to bring that in house, it wouldn’t be a tremendous impact,” McDonnell said. “It might be a part-time position. But I do think we would end up sharing it with another town.”

A resolution on the accessory dwelling units will be brought up to town council at its next meeting, and the incentivization program is estimated to take affect probably at the end of March or early April.

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