Breckenridge and county leaders discuss income caps for modular home project near Summit County Justice Center

Two modular homes are pictured August 30 in Buena Vista. The homes were produced by Fading West Development, which is under contract with the City of Breckenridge and Summit County to manufacture homes for a new development near the Summit County Justice Center.
Laurie Best/Coutesy photo

Summit County and the Town of Breckenridge made some decisions regarding the affordable modular home project, which is expected to be developed near the Summit County Justice Center, during a joint meeting on Tuesday, February 22.

The project is one of many aimed at curbing the shortage of affordable housing and when completed in the summer of 2023 will provide the community with a mix of bachelor, one and two bedroom apartments for a total of 54 new units. .

Although executives have identified Fading West Development as the contractor to build the homes, much remains to be determined on the project. Breckenridge City Council and the Summit Board of County Commissioners met to discuss some of these points, including what kind of public funding they should seek to fund the project and how to compensate for its lack of energy efficiency. .

The two entities also decided that each would get a mix of five units for its own staff.

State funding

Although the project is funded 50-50 by the City of Breckenridge and Summit County, which is also providing the land, the county is seeking grants through the Colorado Department of Local Affairs to help complete the funding. In total, the project is expected to cost nearly $17 million.

Summit County Project Manager Dan Osborn listed some of those grants, which include a $3 million grant and another $1.3-1.6 million grant. The first subsidy is granted only for projects capped at 80% of the median income of the zone. According to the Summit Combined Housing Authority, this means that a rental studio would be capped at $1,430. During the meeting, the two entities discussed whether they were in agreement with this type of financing.

Summit County Commissioner Tamara Pogue insisted the project should be capped at a lower median income, especially since the latest housing needs assessment done for the county showed it’s there. where the most important needs are.

“I just think we have the opportunity to meet our housing needs assessment needs and also raise more funds from the state while we do that, so my preference is that we build this development as much as possible. at 80% (middle income zone) or less,” Pogue said.

Others in town weren’t so sure. Breckenridge Mayor Eric Mamula said the $3 million award for a $17 million project was a small proportion. He said he would like to commit the minimum number of units capped at this rate in order to obtain the financing. Others, like Breckenridge City Council member Erin Gigliello, worried about the cliff-edge effect, where individuals no longer qualify for housing or other benefits once they earn more money. , but still struggle once these benefits are withdrawn.

“That can be a problem if the family is doing well and our goal is always, if you come in, you’re doing your job well, and we don’t want anyone not taking promotions because it’s going to kick them out of their accommodation, she said. “You run into this situation when you have strict income caps.”

Ultimately, the county and the city reached an agreement that funding from the Department of Local Affairs would be sought and that a minimum number of units would be committed at this rate in order to obtain the grant. All leaders agreed that they should make the most of state funding.

Once this funding is in place, the team will have a better understanding of how the rest of the units will be split. It’s likely that some units could be capped at 100% of area median income – or $1,682 for a rental studio – while other units could be capped at around 50%, or around $841 for a studio. .

The other state grant would be used to add solar power to the project.

Energetic efficiency

Summit County Housing Manager Jason Dietz said that due to the style of modular home Fading West is building, there isn’t as much opportunity to make the project net zero energy. The city and county have sustainable building codesand this project makes it difficult to meet these criteria.

Adding solar power to the roof of the development, and possibly the roofs of the parking garage, will help make up the difference, but it’s still not where the leaders want it.

Mamula suggested putting solar infrastructure in the project’s green spaces, but Dietz said his consulting team had already looked into that and the space was needed for snow storage. Breckenridge City Council Member Kelly Owens asked about the possibility of adding infrastructure across the street, but that didn’t seem like an option either. Eventually, Owens came up with a solution that most people agreed with.

“If we can’t do it on that spot to get that building net zero but that’s a commitment we’ve made, (then) we should put it on a building somewhere to continue to meet solar energy needs of the city,” she said.

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