Potential commercial or industrial developments with employee housing that could bring more than 20 employee housing units to Breckenridge were on the table, but the county commission on Tuesday, September 13 During the regular session, no decisions were made regarding development plans. Now, development representatives say the future of the plan may be in doubt.
The project in question is located near Broken Compass Brewing off Airport Road on the way to Breckenridge and could offer up to 30 homes.
“Based on what it offers, it’s a very important (planned unit development),” said Danny Theodore, the attorney who represented the applicant for the development plan.
Theodore said location, affordability, and a critical need for more housing in the county made it important to pass this employee housing project.
“I think everyone is in favor of employee housing,” said Deputy County Attorney Keely Ambrose.
However, she added that there is a problem with offsite employee housing rates if employees cannot be found to fill the units.
The proposal was launched in January of this year in a meeting with the Upper Blue Planning Commission. Initially, it was planned to have 18 employee dormitories, but it was expanded to 30 units at the request of the applicant.
From that meeting, the commission recommended that the county repeal the rule that there should be a ratio of commercial square feet to residential square feet to allow more flexibility for future development.
However, county regulations still require the local median income limit for those who are not eligible for employee housing but want to live there.
In addition, planned developments will also change from commercial and industrial developments to affordable residential and residential developments. Applicants sought to remove the density limit.
County officials are concerned this won’t work. According to staff reports, if employees are not found to fill the employee housing units, the planned development will be a more affordable living area than the employee housing areas. This is why a local median income limit is necessary to prevent use other than what was planned in the original zoning document.
Simply put, it discourages non-employees from moving in, officials said.
Teodoru proposed a cap of 120% of the average local income for non-employees.
But Ambrose noted that the board voted this summer to allow only up to 110% of the regional median income for affordable housing.
The difference between the two costs may not seem like much, but the rent increases by $500 per month between 100% AMI and 120% AMI.
There’s also a $15,000 difference on the affordable side of annual income between the two.
According to Summit Combined Housing Authority 2022 data, a unit with a regional median income of 100% is affordable for someone earning about $73,000 a year, and a regional median income unit of 120% has an annual Affordable for those earning around $88,000. Calculations are for one-bedroom apartments only.
Applicants also proposed a 120% rate of return instead of 100% or 110% rate of return due to increased construction costs. Trends seen by many developers According to Summit County Government Senior Planner Lindsay Hirsch:
Summit County government communications director David Rossi said the change would create a much bigger problem than adding employee housing to Breckenridge: land use.
Rossi said the application clarifies the question of how best to use Summit County lands and what densities to place within those land constraints.
But Theodore was willing to fight.
“We really encourage all businesses that are built to provide employee housing,” said Teddle. “What do businesses want now? They want the ability to get employees to live in this county. and we can build there and build housing for our employees.”
At the end of the meeting, the amendment was not approved and the issue was submitted to another meeting in October.
“Frankly, I don’t know if I will go ahead with the application.