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Jennifer Kermode: Peak One: the full story

Jennifer Kermode, executive director
Summit Combined Housing Authority

Dr. McDonald: I am perplexed by the tone of your letter: It sounds like you’re disdainful of the locals who live and work here (and provide all your services) who cannot afford the absurdly high cost of decent homes. Perhaps you have an uninformed understanding of the process of developing housing for local residents in resort areas, and of the Peak One process in particular.

The Town of Frisco has provided many occasions for the public to provide input and comments, both in favor of, and in opposition to, the development of the Neighborhood. I would presume, considering your level of interest, that you took advantage of at least some of those opportunities, and therefore, have a fair understanding of how this project will work. If for some reason you didn’t make any of those meetings, I would urge you to check out the town’s website, http://www.Friscogov.com. Under the Affordable Housing tab, you will find a wealth of information regarding when the town purchased the parcel, when they first visualized setting it aside for municipal purposes to include affordable housing, and what the new development will look like.

You do have one concept correct: that real estate in any resort area cannot be truly affordable to the local workforce wage levels without subsidies. The subsidies the town is providing for Peak One Neighborhood is in putting the land underneath (the “give-away” of land you referred to), waiving entitlement fees and covering the cost of tap fees. The town will use 5A revenues to pay these costs. (Just a reminder, the 5A revenues represent a .125% sales tax collected by the town and dedicated to affordable housing programs. This sales tax was approved by the resident voters of Summit County in 2006, thus is pretty indicative of the support by the locals for affordable housing to be built!)

I’m not sure what you meant by “subprime financing available” – that sector of the mortgage industry dried up in 2007. I’m also not sure where you got your information regarding “probable subsidies” through HUD. HUD offers loan programs to assist buyers (those have to be repaid), but no subsidies of the type you suggest. The homes will be deed-restricted to ensure the long-term affordability of the homes and that the ownership and occupancy meets the town’s vision for this neighborhood . The town is quite prudent in its expenditure of the sales tax dollars that the public has paid by making these dollars work effectively for as long as possible. If someone chooses to purchase a home here, they do so willingly and in acknowledgment of the terms of the deed restriction. You may not be agreeable to them, but then you probably won’t be purchasing a home here.

It is not only far from obvious, but far from correct that all Frisco taxpayers are financing the purchase of these homes for “lucky lottery” winners. The homes will be sold on a first-come, first-serve basis, just as a market-rate home is; buyers will have to qualify with a lender just like you do, and make their mortgage payments on time to keep them.

And yes, I firmly believe the Frisco residents fully informed themselves about the implications of the charter amendment on the ballot last year by voting against it. Their message was loud and clear.

I invite you to come in to my office sometime and I’d be delighted to give you more of the facts regarding the Peak One Neighborhood, and the challenges resort communities do face without providing housing to match local wages. You can find me at 110 Ski Hill Road in Breckenridge, e-mail me at jenniferk@summithousing.us, or call me at (970) 423-7043.


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