Winter Park councilors consider more land for affordable housing; mandatory trash law eyed
February 17, 2009
During these difficult economic times, the Winter Park Town Council sees an opportunity to advance one of its priorities ” affordable housing.
With real estate prices dropping, Councilor Mike Periolat said, “We should be looking at acquiring some more ground ” either as a place to build something we have a vision for or as an investment to use later on.”
The Town of Winter Park has a fund set aside specifically for affordable housing. Since 2000, the town has collected a $3 per square foot fee on all new construction within the town’s boundaries, which has been set aside for affordable housing projects. The town has accumulated approximately $1.6 million in the fund.
In past years, Winter Park has used the fund for the creation of Hideaway Junction ” an in-town, deed-restricted, affordable development.
Periolat offered to put together a map of possible properties the town could acquire now and hold until they were ready to begin another affordable housing project. He will present the map at a future town council workshop.
“Right now, there’s definitely an opportunity,” Periolat said. “That opportunity might last for six or 12 months or it might last for two or three years.”
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Councilor Jimmy Lahrman agreed. “This is a good second chance for us.”
The council also discussed visiting affordable housing projects in neighboring Summit and Routt counties in coming months.
“But creating a map is a great first step,” said Councilor Chris Seemann.
Grand County’s plan to build a transfer station on property outside Hot Sulphur Springs was part of the discussion at a recent Mayor/Manager’s meeting, according to Winter Park Town Manager Drew Nelson.
“The commissioners went through their decision-making process and passed out some information that describes the site,” Nelson said. (To read the information passed out at the meeting, read the online version of this story.)
The county commissioners are scheduled to speak to the Winter Park Town Council at the March 3 council meeting in Winter Park Town Hall.
The commissioners met with residents and officials from Hot Sulphur Springs on Monday night to further discuss the details and placement of a possible transfer station.
Winter Park Councilor Katie Riemenschneider attended the meeting.
“The room was packed,” she said. “The public wants to be heard. It doesn’t seem that anyone is opposed to the transfer station, but they are more concerned about where it is located and they want to be part of the process.”
More trash talk
On a related topic, Councilor Lahrman asked if the board should continue discussion about mandatory trash removal in the Town of Winter Park.
Winter Park has long struggled with second-home owners who use private Dumpsters to dispose of trash as they leave town.
Grand Lake, facing similar issues, passed an ordinance in January that requires residents to pay for year-round garbage service, no matter how much time they spend in their second homes.
Grand Lake second-home owners have since protested loudly.
Winter Park is still in the discussion phase of such a step and has not drafted an ordinance.
“I think we push forward with the discussion,” Nelson said. “What happens on the county-wide level will impact that final decision.
“I continue to talk to Grand Lake about their experience, but it hasn’t been as well received there as they hoped.
“We’ll learn from those lessons. We’re learning a lot since they passed that ordinance.”
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