Dillon Valley Vistas to bring 12 workforce housing units and a Habitat home to Summit County
DILLON VALLEY — The Summit Board of County Commissioners solidified a partnership with Habitat for Humanity to build a home at the 12-unit Dillon Valley Vistas development at its meeting Tuesday.
The commissioners unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding between Habitat and the county, which outlines the role each party will take in the partnership and transfers ownership of the lot to Habitat. When developers were creating the plan for Dillon Valley Vistas, they decided to donate an extra lot to Habitat, Summit County Housing Director Jason Dietz said.
“We’ve had it in the back of our mind, if we’re not going to use that lot, let’s donate it to Habitat,” he said.
Dietz said acquiring land for affordable housing is a major challenge for developers. So, when the opportunity arose, the county decided to donate the lot. April-Dawn Knudsen, executive director of Summit Habitat for Humanity, said the organization is excited to be a part of the project.
Knudsen said Habitat works on homes for people who make below 80% of the area median income. That would be below $76,720 annually for a family of four, according to the Summit Combined Housing Authority.
“These are traditionally our workforce folks, a lot of our law enforcement, many people in our education space, many emergency responders as well as our hospitality industry,” she said. “Often these individuals are priced out of our community.”
Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier said she’s excited to have Habitat involved in the project.
“We’ve admired the work that they’ve done for a long time,” she said. “We have fewer projects here in Summit County than some of our surrounding counties. So we’re really excited to have them be a partner in this project.”
The Dillon Valley Vistas project itself has been in the works for eight years. The workforce neighborhood will be on Straight Creek Drive in the Dillon Valley neighborhood. The county first bought the almost 3-acre plot in 2012 from Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church, which has since moved to Smith Ranch Road.
The project is funded by the 5A tax, a 0.6% sales tax that is used to build affordable housing like Dillon Valley Vistas.
“For a long time, Summit County had very limited ability to fund workforce housing projects like this,” Dietz said. “In the last several years, you’ve seen many workforce housing projects pop-up … and that was a direct result of the 5A sales tax initiative.”
The project will consist of six duplexes for a total of 12 units that will be for sale to people who make below 100% of area median income, or $95,900 for a family of four, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Each unit will feature three to four bedrooms and a two-car garage. Dietz said the county also hopes to create net zero emissions with the project. All six duplexes will use solar energy to achieve that goal. One of the units will also be a “net-zero prototype,” which will have a heat-exchange boiler system and hot water heater, which pulls latent heat out of the air to heat homes, Dietz said.
“We wanted to kind of proof out this technology, these systems before we just start putting them in homes,” he said. “It would be great for our workforce housing projects to not have energy bills, but we also want to make sure it works before we do it.”
The prototype unit will be available for rent for a couple of years while the others are for sale, Dietz said.
Right now, workers are grading the land. Dietz said the county hopes to do a groundbreaking sometime in mid-June. The county hopes to have some of the homes ready for sale in the winter, and the entire project completed in July 2021.
As for the Habitat house, the nonprofit plans to have it ready for move-in before Christmas 2021, Knudsen said.
Stiegelmeier said this project is an excellent opportunity for more affordable housing in the county.
“We have so many people commuting into Summit County because real estate is so expensive,” she said. “It just takes away from a sense of community to have families who are working in Summit County but having to live in surrounding counties because they can’t afford it.”
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