Dillon Valley Vistas workforce housing gets only 4 applications
DILLON VALLEY — Despite initial interest for the Dillon Valley Vistas, only four households applied to own one of the 12 units in the new workforce housing complex in Dillon Valley.
At a Summit Board of County Commissioners work session Tuesday, Aug. 18, Housing Director Jason Dietz gave an update on the development, which is on the corner of Straight Creek Drive and Little Beaver Trail in Dillon Valley.
Once completed in summer 2021, the neighborhood will feature six duplexes and one Habitat for Humanity home all with net-zero emissions. While the entire project won’t be complete until then, the neighborhood will have initial homes available for move in sometime in winter 2020.
Although Dietz and his team received many questions about and indications of interest in the project, only four households applied. Those households will participate in a lottery for the neighborhood Aug. 31.
“It started off with a lot of interest in the project. There were a lot of questions,” Dietz said at the meeting. “It did not translate into a lot of applications, though, as people are just generally uncertain.”
For most potential applicants, the uncertainty surrounding the reopening of ski resorts affected their decision to apply, said Amy Priegel, executive director of the Summit Combined Housing Authority, which manages the application process for the project.
“What we’re seeing is probably not a big surprise to any of us right now, and that’s just the uncertainty with what’s going on, particularly as it relates to employment and particularly as it relates to what’s going to happen with ski season this year,” Priegel said in an interview.
Priegel said some of the potential applicants were furloughed and unable to secure a loan for the homes while others are waiting until they know more about what’s going to happen.
The Housing Authority also saw interest from potential homeowners who were over the income threshold for the homes, which is below 120% of the area median income, or $115,080 for a family of four, Dietz said.
The low application number isn’t unique to Dillon Valley Vistas. The Smith Ranch Workforce Housing project in Silverthorne had about 28 applications for the 38-unit subdivision, Dietz said.
“We’re starting to see it with some of the resales, as well,” Priegel said. “Properties that are under contract are now falling out of contract every once in a while. We’re all keeping our fingers crossed for what’s going to happen this fall.”
The county and the Housing Authority hope that state guidance regarding ski areas will be released soon so potential homeowners will feel more comfortable appling for the neighborhood.
“If the ski resorts all come up with what their plan is and there’s more firm understanding of who’s going back to work and when, I think that will give folks a bit more comfort with the idea of trying to move forward with a purchase like this,” Summit County Manager Scott Vargo said.
The Housing Authority is accepting applications through the lottery date on Aug. 31. However, those applicants won’t be included in the lottery. Instead, they will be put on a waitlist.
“If you apply today, you would be the first person on the waitlist,” Priegel said. “So in a sense, you would be No. 5 for the selection.”
Once the lottery is complete, the county will reassess and consider extending the application timeline. The other options for the county include selling the units to a local business to use for employee housing or renting out the units before they are able to sell, Vargo said.
The Housing Authority also will be hosting a virtual open house next week, Priegel said. An official date and time for the open house hasn’t been determined, but people who are interested can visit the Housing Authority’s website at SummitHousing.us for more information.
“It just gives me a lot of heartache that we’re in a housing crisis that we’ve been in forever,” Summit County Commissioner Elisabeth Lawrence said at the meeting. “Data is out there that shows we needed more affordable housing, and we’re building these units that so far have not sold, which I’m shocked by.”
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