A proposed development just outside of Breckenridge could create new workforce housing in the Upper Blue. Officials are still hashing out the details, including a rezoning and potential density bump to the privately owned plot.
Currently zoned as agricultural land, the forested property at the intersection of Baldy and Sally Barber roads is one of few locations previously identified by the county as an appropriate site for affordable housing. At a mild slope, the 23.4-acre parcel has town water and sewer access and is near an existing bus line.
“We had a very productive worksession with the Upper Blue Planning Commission last week, and we are working diligently to revise the proposal in order to reflect the comments and suggestions provided by the UBPC, staff and all referral agencies,” said Jeff Francis, a Breckenridge resident involved with the project.
The Trails at Berlin Placer would include 10 single-family lots, 20 duplex units and 20 deed-restricted townhome units. In total, 40 percent of the total units will include some sort of deed restriction.
The units would help meet housing needs in the Upper Blue River Basin, based on Summit County’s 2013 Housing Needs Assessment. While the assessment will be updated again this summer, it previously identified a need for 101-161 for-sale units targeting households at 80- to 120-percent AMI.
“Generally, we’re very supportive,” Summit Housing Authority executive director Jennifer Kermode said. “Whatever number of units they want up there — put them in. We can always use more.”
She added that she approves of the floor plans for the deed-restricted townhomes ranging from two to three bedrooms and two bathrooms.
“It certainly fits for families,” she said. “It looks like a very nice project.”
TRAILS AND TAPS
As it is currently zoned, only one unit of density would be allowed on the property. Once rezoned as a planned use development, Summit County’s Transferrable Development Rights Program could bring in the needed density from rural, backcountry areas. The land would still remain within the county’s jurisdiction, and Breckenridge would provide public water to the project.
“They’re interested in receiving water from us and getting the tap fees waived for deed-restricted units in the process,” Breckenridge assistant community development director Mark Truckey said. “We have done that on numerous projects before. Council did indicate they would be potentially interested in doing that.”
During a Tuesday, Aug. 9 work session, Breckenridge councilmembers said they would be open to the possibility, if a few changes to the development were considered.
“We would recommend reversing the number on the affordable units,” Breckenridge town manager Rick Holman said.
Town council echoed his request to see a larger proportion of workforce housing units on the property, with 60-percent deed-restricted and 40-percent market-rate instead of the inverse.
Breckenridge Mayor Eric Mamula said he would consider waiving tap fees for the property if the workforce housing units were integrated among the other properties on-site.
“I don’t like how the affordable units are tucked next to the road, and the rest is spread out,” he said.
“I really, really dislike how they have the affordable separate from the market (units),” Councilwoman Elisabeth Lawrence added.
Town council’s recommendations matched those suggested a few weeks prior by the Upper Blue Planning Commission. Specifically, commissioners agreed the site was appropriate for affordable housing, but that they would like to see reduced density, more clustering of single-family lots and a higher ratio of affordable housing overall.
Nearby homeowners, on the other hand, had their own list of concerns. Several requested a reduction in density to protect area wildlife and allow more privacy for the surrounding neighborhood. One Baldy Road resident even requested the property be disallowed entirely.
“Besides the quality of life that we enjoy in this home, our property values will undoubtedly be drastically affected,” he wrote. “I am well aware of the current growth in this area, and that residents and workers need a place to live. This 60-unit plan seems like an unusually massive project for this area.”
Colorado Parks and Wildlife reported the area is a sensitive habitat for wildlife species, including mule deer, elk, moose and black bears. The developer has proposed setting aside open space throughout the parcel, including around the Barney Ford Trail, which crosses through the area. A separate parking area near the trail and Sally Barber Road is also on the books.