Dear Mountain Village Community Members:
At Town Hall, we are looking back fondly at a wonderful summer season and hoping your summer was as enjoyable and eventful as our own. The Mountain Village Town Council and staff are now diligently working on the 2023 budget. This process helps ensure Mountain Village, in collaboration with its local partners, continues to provide a world-class experience to its residents, second homeowners, and guests.
While the budget represents a myriad of priorities, it is clear that affordable housing will continue to be a top priority for Mountain Village in 2023.
For anyone who spends more than a day in the Telluride region, it is clear the region as a whole is suffering through an affordable housing crisis. Local governments are understaffed, businesses have been forced to reduce their hours due to lack of staffing, and some organizations have been forced to close from an inability to hire new staff. While increasing labor costs play a part, housing is the primary driver of the labor shortage in our community.
At the beginning of 2021, the Mountain Village Town Council committed to aggressively addressing the affordable housing issue and launched the Community Housing Initiative. In order to strategically address the housing crisis, the Town looked to the 2018 Regional Housing Study, which analyzed housing needs throughout the region.
The 2018 study identified the housing that needs to be constructed both within Mountain Village and beyond its boundaries, and the study further concluded a variety of unit sizes were needed, and that these units needed to be both for rent and for sale. Given these findings, the Town is pursuing the following projects:
Lot 644 is a 1.6-acre lot located in the Meadows neighborhood just above Parker Ridge. This parcel of land was designated for the development of deed-restricted housing in the early 1990s when Mountain Village was originally a planned unit development prior to the incorporation of Mountain Village.
The Town began the process of developing Lot 644 earlier this year. Although Lot 644 is platted for 41 units, the Town received significant input from the Meadows residents regarding density on Lot 644 and within the Meadows as a whole. As a result, Lot 644 will now consist of 29 for-sale units ranging from one to three bedrooms. Although Lot 644 still requires final DRB approval, it is anticipated the development of Lot 644 will be completed in December of 2023.
Village Court Apartments Phase IV
While Lot 644 represents the Town’s efforts to provide for-sale housing within Mountain Village, Town Council is cognizant of the need to provide for-rent units within Mountain Village, as well. Currently, Village Court Apartments consists of 222 units, each of which is spoken for. Due to high demand, the VCA waitlist consists of approximately 250 individuals but is currently closed.
In order to meet the high demand for rental products, the Town is pursuing the development of Phase IV of VCA. After going through a recent redesign, the Town has increased the bed count at Phase IV from 76 to 89 beds (Building E has eight 1-bedroom units and thirteen 2-bedrooms units for a total of 34 bedrooms; Building W has fourteen units consisting of 4-bedroom suites, except one unit on the lower level that has three bedrooms with a storage room).
It is anticipated that the rooms in Building W will be made available to local businesses. Local businesses will have the opportunity to license a bed within Building W so that when a business loses an employee they do not lose housing for the next employee as well.
The Town hopes to be able to begin work for Phase IV in 2023.
Illium – “Alexander Property”
Unlike some organizations, the Town does not own a significant amount of property within Mountain Village. As such, the Town is forced to look outside the boundaries of Mountain Village to address the affordable housing crisis.
Recently, the Town entered into a Purchase and Sale Agreement to acquire 55 acres in Illium. The property is being sold by the Alexander family, a long-time ranching family in the region, therefore Town staff refers to this property as the Alexander Property.
Town staff is conducting due diligence on the property to determine whether the property is truly capable of being developed. We are also working with regional partners to determine whether other land within Illium can be acquired and developed, which would lower the overall infrastructure cost for the Alexander Property. Staff will report back to Town Council in November, and Town Council will determine if the Town should move forward with this project.
In the fall of 2021, the Town acquired 37 acres of property located just outside of Norwood. Since taking ownership of the property, the Town has requested the property to be annexed into the Town of Norwood and the property has been rezoned for residential development.
At a recent meeting, Town Council reviewed conceptual plans for the development of the Norwood property. The proposed concept consisted of the following elements:
- 127 total units, 44 in Phase 1 with the remaining reserved for future phases as water is available.
- 47 single-family units
- 16 duplex units
- 16 cottage homes
- 48 multi-family units
- 9.94 acres of open space and parks area
- 26.61% of the parcel (the Norwood code requires 8%)
- 5.01 acres of native open space, including multi-use trails
- 4.67 acres of neighborhood park space
- 0.13 acres of community garden/dog park space
- 3.22 acres for community use
While Town Council was generally receptive to the proposed concept, Town Council directed staff to focus on determining the feasibility of developing the Alexander Property before moving ahead with a more specific plan for the Norwood project.
The Town is committed to addressing the affordable housing crisis in a meaningful manner. From the Town’s perspective, it is fulfilling all the mandates set forth in the 2018 study, and the Town will continue to seek out opportunities to do more in this area as well as identify partnerships to make such opportunities a reality.
Finally, the Town has enacted a number of incentive programs to encourage affordable housing within our community:
- Waived development fees related to deed-restricted lots and existing deed-restricted properties.
- ·Permit accessory dwelling units within detached condominiums.
- Enacted Your Equity Support (YES) program. The Town will pay a homeowner up to $200,000 in exchange for a deed restriction on the property in Mountain Village.
- Adopted an affordable housing mitigation program so that with new development the Town collects revenue that supports future affordable housing projects.
We welcome input on how to continue to address the housing crisis in our region.
We hope you enjoy the magnificent fall colors, and we look forward to seeing you soon.