Summit County commissioners approve deed-restricted units in Heeney
HEENEY — Summit County residents soon will have two more options for affordable housing.
At a meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 8, the Summit Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved an amendment to the Melody Lodge planned unit development, which allows for a two-unit duplex cabin to be sold with deed restrictions.
Until recently, the units, which are located on Heeney Road at the south end of Green Mountain Reservoir, have been offered as short-term rentals. The original development plan set a six-month limitation on a person’s stay in the unit in one calendar year.
Now, owners Dale Mitchener and Debra Gregory-Mitchener are looking to sell the units. In exchange for approving the amendment to remove the occupancy limits, the county has added a deed restriction in accordance with the 2010 Lower Blue Master Plan, which aims to bring more affordable workforce housing to the area.
The duplex was first built in 2000, and each unit has two bedrooms, according to the Melody Lodge Cabins website. The units are available to buyers who make less than 80% of the area median income, or less than $53,760 for one person, and work at least 30 hours in Summit County. Gregory-Mitchener said she is selling the units for $199,900 each.
The decision comes after a year and a half of discussions between the owners and Summit County government, Gregory-Mitchener said. While she’s relieved to be able to sell the units, the process has left her frustrated.
“It’s cost me a year and a half of my time,” she said. “The whole summer, I haven’t had them up for sale. So I’ve lost a whole summer of sales.”
At another meeting on Aug. 25, the commissioners delayed their decision on the amendment and asked for more clarification on the details of the units, including qualifications for homeowners and evidence of the need for affordable housing in the area.
“I was concerned about setting a precedent of adding density, but the reality is that we’re not really adding density because it was already short-term lodging allowed,” Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier said Tuesday. “I would actually prefer people to live full time than in short-term lodging.”
Because the cabin adjacent to the duplex is currently deed-restricted, it would make sense for the duplex, as well, Senior Planner Dan Osborn said.
“There is a need for affordable workforce housing in that part of the county,” he said. “In some of those rural areas, we have the outfitters that might have packing companies, boat rentals, ranches and agricultural uses. So that was another reason we made that recommendation.”
Osborn said the units also will provide an opportunity for people who work in Summit County, but take advantage of affordable housing options in Grand County, to move to the area.
“Grand County, our neighbor to the north, is a net supplier of affordable housing,” he said. “A lot of people are already commuting from the north into Summit County because there are affordable houses available north of us.”
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