Weakened affordable housing rules make headway in the Vail Valley
VAIL – Builders have been vocal in recent months in their opposition to a proposal to make them build lots of affordable homes in Vail. Despite that, the community wants cheaper housing, Councilman Mark Gordon said.”It’s very clear to me what the community is saying when I go around town, when I go to the market. I hear, ‘Keep up the good fight,'” he said. The town is now considering weakening the proposal that would require developers to build affordable housing. The new plan would require 10 percent of homes be affordable housing in specific areas like Vail Village, West Lionshead and the West Vail shopping center. Homes in residential neighborhoods would have to compensate for 100 percent of the jobs they create.Also, builders would have to compensate for 20 percent of the jobs they create in the shops they build. Though Gordon said the new plan may not be strong enough, it got a positive reception from other council members Tuesday.”This is a better solution than what we were looking at a couple of weeks ago in many ways,” said Councilman Greg Moffet.But, he said, the town has to get more creative when it comes to meeting its housing needs. That could mean using sales tax or the real-estate transfer tax and paying for deed restrictions on homes, he said.Builders are already paying money to the town via the real-estate transfer tax, said Mike Dantas of Dantas Builders, which builds homes in Vail. That money must be used for recreation, open space or environmental uses. Builders shouldn’t be unfairly targeted, Dantas said.”Everybody has to be treated the same,” he said. “Let’s tax everybody.”The council wants to keep 30 percent of its workforce living in town. The previous proposal, which caused an outcry from developers, overshot that target and would have kept about 60 percent of workers in town.Projects that are already approved in Vail will add 1,500 jobs. The next wave of redevelopment may add 2,115 jobs. Other development in Avon and Edwards will add 7,370 jobs in coming years.At the same time, more and more homes are being bought by second-home owners and retirees. By 2020, nearly all employees in town will be living in some kind of affordable housing, town official say.Vail’s planning commission will now work on recommendations for the housing rules.
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