Mountain Village to launch multi-pronged Community Housing Initiative; create dedicated Housing Department

At its Thursday, May 20, 2021 regular meeting, the Mountain Village Town Council approved a multi-pronged Community Housing Initiative to help address the increasing need for community housing.

The initiative includes several different efforts to incentivize and increase both ownership and rental options for current and future Mountain Village residents to help meet our current and future housing needs.

The projects approved by Council include a deed-restricted purchase program and new zoning incentives for existing homeowners that complement existing incentives already in place.

In order to best oversee these initiatives, and maintain Mountain Village’s already robust community housing program, Town Council voted to create a Community Housing Department and open up a job listing for a Housing Director to oversee this new department and these initiatives and manage existing community housing.

“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,” said Mayor Laila Benitez. “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.”

Your Equity Support (YES) will be a deed-restriction purchase program where the Town would pay homeowners a portion of the home’s value in exchange for placing a deed restriction on the property, restricting future use of the unit to help provide more community housing.

This move would require that the home be occupied by people who work at least an annual average of 30 hours per week in the Telluride R1 School District, however there would be no price cap, similar to the Lawson Hill or Two Rivers deed restriction programs. The home could be owner-occupied or rented to qualified employees on a long-term basis.

“Town Council recognizes the Town cannot build its way out of its housing crisis. The YES program allows the Town to ensure existing housing stock is placed into the deed restricted pool. Given the Town’s maximum purchase price contribution for each deed restriction of $200,000, this program allows the Town to create deed restricted housing at a significantly lower cost than building deed restricted units,” said Planning and Development Services Director Michelle Haynes.

Town Council also voted to amend the Mountain Village Community Development Code (CDC) to encourage further community housing development. Staff recommended redefining the term Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) and removing the term Mother In Law Suite to clarify that ADUs are permitted in detached condominium units and offer more flexibility for kitchens and separate entry ways in ADUs. This would allow for more long-term rental options in the community housing inventory, and provide a passive rental income source to a homeowner, if the monetary flexibility is needed.

Staff proposed re-introducing non-subdividable duplex development to the Town’s single-family zone district, as a discrete overlay (specific area to be discussed) to help promote the construction of smaller dwellings on a single-family lot to be able to rent the second dwelling unit.

Both of these proposed incentives will be discussed in more detail with both the Mountain Village Town Council and Design Review Board before changes are made to the CDC and these incentives are available to property owners.

Additionally, Town Council approved a proposal to create a Community Housing Mitigation Methodology, a common strategy in other Colorado resort communities to better provide a direct correlation between new development and housing requirements.

“A housing mitigation methodology provides a more predictable path for the town and a developer to understand the necessary housing generated as a result of development,” Haynes said.

Town staff will issue a Request for Proposals to initiate this process.

“If approved by Council and finally adopted, a housing mitigation methodology will provide an ongoing resource and recognition that new development generates a proportionate amount of employees to serve that development once constructed,” Haynes said. “Those employees need housing within a region lacking in enough housing to support our workforce. This is yet another measure to fill the gap.”

In order to address all the opportunities and challenges associated with the Community Housing Initiative, Town Council authorized the formation of a Community Housing Department. Initially, the Community Housing Department will consist of a Housing Director. The Town will immediately begin the process of hiring the Housing Director.

More information about each proposed incentive can be found online at and further information will be shared with the community on each incentive as these programs are developed and launched.

The Town is also developing more initiatives to address community housing which will be announced in the months to come.

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