Mayor's Minute: May 2021 Edition


Hello Neighbors,

No matter how many years I have called Mountain Village home, each spring I find myself falling in love with our region all over again. Those first walks on our trails remind me how lucky we are to be surrounded by such profound beauty. After the challenges of the last year, I’m excited we again have the chance to hike with friends, hear live music in the plazas, and enjoy all the beauty and fun our village has to offer.

As we launch into summer, we are cautiously optimistic that the health and economic challenges of COVID have reached a more manageable level and we can refocus on the ongoing needs and future goals of Mountain Village. In the March Mayor’s Minute, I shared Town Council’s initiative to update the Mountain Village Comprehensive Plan. Today, I want to bring you up to date on another key initiative.

One of the major goals of Town Council and our Comprehensive Plan is to balance the economic growth necessary to sustain our community's long-term health while simultaneously improving our infrastructure and quality of life. The ongoing, regional housing shortage has profound impacts on our local businesses’ ability to hire and retain staff, as well as the quality of life of our residents. In light of this continuing challenge and our ongoing commitment to effectively and consistently address it, Town Council and staff have crafted a comprehensive vision and plan to support, create, and pave the way for community housing.

At Thursday’s Town Council Meeting, the Town will be launching our new Community Housing Initiative. The Community Housing Initiative is a multi-pronged approach to meet our current and future needs for housing that benefits our community as a whole. A few of the major programs we will discuss this week are:

  • Your Equity Support (“YES”) is a deed-restriction purchase program whereby the Town would pay owners a portion of a home’s value in exchange for placing a deed restriction on the property, which would restrict future use of the unit. The Mountain Village Deed-Restriction Program provides a home must be occupied by people who work at least an annual average of 30 hours per week in the Telluride R1 School District. Under the proposed deed restriction, there is no price appreciation cap. In addition, the owner may occupy the home or rent it to other individuals so long as one or more Telluride R1 School District employees occupy the residence. Short-term rentals and use of the property as a second home are prohibited.
  • Village Court Apartments Update: Town Council will be discussing the opportunity to refinance our current VCA bonds. Additionally, we will be discussing next steps for the Phase IV development of VCA. This will be an ongoing discussion over the next few months; however, Council intends to finalize our plans this year.
  • We will be discussing new and existing Community Housing Zoning and Financial Incentives meant to ease the burden and enhance the opportunities to build needed housing in Mountain Village, such as ongoing building fee waivers, amending the Community Development Code, and drafting a Community Housing mitigation methodology for new developments.
  • In order to pursue these initiatives, as well as maintain the robust community housing program already in place, the Town Council will discuss the formation of a Community Housing Department with dedicated staff to support our Community Housing Initiative; Village Court Apartments; and programs, policies, compliance, and regulations for the Town of Mountain Village. Should we decide to form a Community Housing Department, Town Council will need to consider our ongoing participation and support of the San Miguel County Regional Housing Authority. While this organization has been a great support to many in our region, the needs of Mountain Village have not always been well-aligned with the goals of this admirable organization.

This discussion is slated to begin at 10:40 a.m. at Thursday's Town Council Meeting. The public is welcome to tune in via Zoom.

Tune in this Wednesday at 12:06 p.m. to my monthly KOTO-FM radio show where I will be discussing the Community Housing Initiative with Planning and Development Director Michelle Haynes and Town Attorney Paul Wisor. You can tune in locally on 91.7 or 89.3 FM, online at

Finally, thank you to all of you who have volunteered and worked together this past year to keep Mountain Village safe, healthy, and open for our full and part-time residents, businesses, and guests. We’re expecting an amazing summer ahead and I’m looking forward to seeing your faces once again.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me or any of your other Council members with any questions or concerns you may have.

Warm regards,

Warm regards,

Laila Benitez

Mountain Village Mayor

Related Blogs

See more from the Blog