Fraser aims to develop affordable housing |

Fraser aims to develop affordable housing

Each Colorado mountain town is unique in its own way, but there is one aspect almost all of them have in common: they are plagued by the development of affordable housing for the local workforce.

The Fraser Town Council discussed affordable housing at its Feb. 16 meeting.

Fraser aims to be a place that has affordable housing for employees who work all throughout the county. The town is still developing a strategy for locations of affordable housing units and qualification guidelines.

Councilman Andy Miller said he felt citizens holding crucial positions, such as teachers, should be able to afford a reasonably sized living space, but they often cannot.

The council discussed possible sources of income for affordable housing, such as Winter Park Resort, which would likely have many employees living in the affordable housing Fraser plans to develop. Fraser plans to develop a strategy of qualification for affordable housing, and alterations to town codes that will allow the town to reach its goals.

Winter Park is also in the process of developing affordable housing. Winter Park uses a hierarchal system to determine what populations affordable housing programs must serve. The populations are homeowners, potential homeowners and those transitioning between housing choices; renters and seasonal employees; housing providers, developers, local businesses and employers; and the citizens of Winter Park. The town believes most programs and projects will serve more than one of these populations. According to the Winter Park town website, housing is considered attainable when its cost does not exceed 30 percent of the household’s gross income. For setting price levels, housing providers rely on the AMI (annual median income) as published by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Winter Park has recently streamlined its Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) ordinances with hopes that the new guidelines will encourage development of ADUs in both existing houses and in new developments. ADUs are rental units that are subordinate to a larger dwelling unit. The plan aims to help with the current workforce housing shortage and help homeowners bring in extra income.

Under the new ordinances, ADUs are permitted with any detached single-family home and with most commercial units. The town does require that all ADUs include a full bathroom and a kitchen. Winter Park will allow homeowners to rent their units on a nightly basis for up to six months. For the remainder of the calendar year, the ADU must be rented long-term to a member of the local workforce. Winter Park also established a fund to help the homeowners with the construction of ADUs.

Winter Park has several affordable housing projects in the works. The Hideaway Junction project comprises of ten two-and-three bedroom single-family residences that are deed restricted in order to maintain affordability for the Winter Park workforce, according to the town. The units are privately owned and are all currently occupied. The Sitzmark South project will consist of 38 apartment units that are anticipated to be available for rent by September.

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