Jennifer Kermode: Tackling the county’s affordable housing issues |

Jennifer Kermode: Tackling the county’s affordable housing issues

Jennifer Kermode
Summit County Housing Authority

When it comes to affordable housing in Summit County, some people might say: “It is the worst of times and the best of times.” There are challenges that continue to exacerbate efforts to develop affordable housing, such as: the ongoing foreclosure and mortgage crisis; decrease in credit availability; escalating prices for market-rate homes; and the subsequent gap that is widening between the incomes of local residents and the overall cost of housing. Solutions to these issues are not straightforward or easy.

On the brighter side, the passage of Measure 5A in 2006 initiated a funding process that the towns and the county are using in advanncing efforts to create opportunities for affordable workforce housing. The revenues generated by the increased sales tax and impact fees go directly to the jurisdictions where generated. In turn, the towns and county work closely with the Housing Authority to assess appropriate locations for housing, the type of housing needed, and setting pricing levels that match the median income of our local workforce.

The monies have also spurred the towns and county into serious decision-making in planning for affordable housing, as evidenced by the recent affordable units included and dedicated as part of the Copper Mountain PUD amendment, preliminary planning by the Town of Breckenridge regarding Valley Brook/Block 11, and the Red Peak Village proposal/annexation recently submitted to the Town of Silverthorne. All these projects represent significant steps to address the undersupply of housing that is affordable to all types of local employees.

Despite these potential projects, a challenge that confronts our community is continuing to locate additional land that could potentially accommodate affordable housing in the future. I am excited to say that the Summit Board of County Commissioners has recently prioritized a project intended to do just that: identify properties in the unincorporated areas of the county that could potentially serve as sites to locate affordable housing. This project is intended to create a heightened awareness throughout the community regarding: demands, needs, availability and importance of providing for affordable workforce housing. This will be accomplished through a communitywide forum/open house to galvanize information, perspectives and participants. Additionally, the county will be working with its individual planning commissions to amend respective master plans and land-use maps. It is currently anticipated that two separate communitywide forums/open houses will be held at the Community and Senior Center in Frisco on Oct. 22. Meetings and public hearings will be conducted with the county’s individual planning commissions starting in November.

Many thanks to John Roberts at the Summit County Planning Department for help in getting this message out.

For more information on the county’s forthcoming affordable housing project, contact Kate Berg, Summit County Planning Department, at 668-4204 or You can stay connected to the Housing Authority through our website,, or call Jennifer Kermode at 970-423-7043 to learn more about available workforce housing.

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