25 workforce housing units part of Keystone land deal

The Brown's Cabin parcel of land in Keystone is the focus of a workforce housing deal Summit County government has agreed to with private builder Tim Crane of Summit Homes Construction, who owns the property. Pictured here in the highlighted area, just south of U.S. Highway 6 and west of Keystone Resorts' Montezuma Parking Lot, lies Brown's Cabin.
Courtesy of Summit County government |

Summit County reached a preliminary development agreement with a local homebuilder late last week that will result in market-rate properties on two plots of land in Keystone and at least 25 workforce units elsewhere in the Snake River Basin.

The Board of County Commissioners has been working with Tim Crane of Summit Homes Construction since last November on coming to terms with how he can build on two parcels in Keystone. Crane bought both The Alders and adjacent Brown’s Cabin parcels in 2015 after the pieces of land changed hands a few of times following the 2003 dissolution of Keystone/Intrawest LLC, which first owned the properties.

While Keystone/Intrawest LLC possessed the land in 1995, zoning regulations — the Keystone PUD, or planned unit development — were established for the unincorporated area by the county. It specified that the 4.35-acre Brown’s site be intended for 100 workforce-housing units and related amenities. The PUD also stipulated that the building of market-rate homes in Keystone comes with a requirement to construct workforce housing at a rate of a fraction of a unit per home produced, so Crane would be on the hook for what he builds on the 18-acre location of The Alders.

After Crane — builder of such properties as Pinewood Village II, the Valley Brook Neighborhood and Denison Placer in Breckenridge, and Angler Mountain Ranch in Silverthorne, among many others — purchased the two Keystone lots, he went about figuring out how he could bargain with the county to amend the Keystone PUD. On Friday, May 27 during a special hearing, the final details were agreed upon and now he and Summit Homes can complete plans on The Alders and Brown’s Cabin.

“We have a site that we would like to utilize in Keystone, but we don’t currently know if that is actually going to work out. It may not be that site, in which case we would have to do some other things to make this all work out, but we’re hopeful.”Keely Ambroseassistant county attorney

The deal provides for the building of 75 more town homes on The Alders after the initial development phase created 14 (so a total of 89 town homes on the site). At Brown’s, up to 33 market-rate units will also now be built.

In return for allowing Crane to do so, he has agreed to guarantee the construction of 25 workforce-housing units on a piece of county property to be named later on. The units will be two- and three-bedroom townhomes of about 1,150 square-feet, plus a garage, and at an average price of 100 AMI (area median income) — all at the complete expense of Crane and Summit Homes.

Crane and the county settled on that number of units after a proposed 2-acre county-owned property in Dillon Valley first came up for the development in April, but an early site review showed it could perhaps accommodate 19 units. From Crane’s development on The Alders, the county had earlier agreed to six two-bedroom townhomes to satisfy his workforce-housing requirement there — 19 plus the six comes to 25.

“We have this preliminary development agreement,” said Keely Ambrose, assistant county attorney, “but we need a site. We have a site that we would like to utilize in Keystone, but we don’t currently know if that is actually going to work out. It may not be that site, in which case we would have to do some other things to make this all work out, but we’re hopeful.”

The new site in question is one that both Crane and the county have turned their attention to because the one in Dillon Valley isn’t large enough. So instead, a 10-acre (8 of which is buildable) parcel in the Wintergreen Subdivision of Keystone appears a more viable location for building the 25 workforce townhomes. Crane explained that as many as 54 units of the aforementioned configuration could go there.

The rub is that Vail Resorts, Inc., owns the Wintergreen Subdivision. However, language in the same Keystone PUD necessitates that the resort company transfer this particular tract of land to the county. Red tape remains on getting the parcel conveyed to the county, as well as with the eventual entitlement process to fully consummate the development agreement.

This preliminary contract between Crane and the county also states that, following the first 25 units — wherever they end up — the two will likely continue their collaboration to finish workforce housing on the rest of the property, approximately 29 more units.

“In terms of the formation of public-private partnership here,” Crane told the board Friday, “we’re off to a great start. If we are able to secure that parcel, then sort of the rubber will meet the road not only on site planning, but the actual design.”

The county and Crane will next look to settle on a site for where the workforce housing will be built and will then finalize the development agreement, intending to do so by no later than Aug. 1. But after more than two decades of conflict over the development of The Alders and Brown’s Cabin, construction is close on both, and the county stands to come out of the deal with some relatively affordable workforce housing for members of the community as well.

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