Fraser rolls out deed restriction program aimed at increasing workforce housing
Fraser is finalizing a workforce housing initiative it’s been working on for over a year and hopes to have applications available soon.
At the town’s Jan. 8 Board of Trustees meeting, Town Manager Jeff Durbin updated the board on the Fraser Deed Restriction program, which is a workforce housing initiative modeled after Vail’s InDeed program.
“We’ve made a lot of progress recently and there are at least two banks who will participate with us on this program,” Durbin said.
The deed restriction program would allow Fraser to offer private property owners money in exchange for restricting the sale of the property in perpetuity to only people who work in the community full-time.
Currently, the town has $500,000 in its budget for purchasing deed restrictions.
Like the InDeed program, the Fraser Deed Restriction program would not put a cap on the price that the house can be sold nor is there an income requirement, but it would limit who the house could be sold to, which Durbin explained will naturally regulate the price.
“They can sell their property for whatever they can get, but they can only sell it to someone who will live and work here or rent it to someone who will live and work here, so they couldn’t sell it as a second-home, which will affect the market of the property over time,” he said. “A willing seller plus a willing buyer equals the purchase price.”
Board members also discussed eligibility for the program and created a consensus that the program should serve people living and working in the Fraser Valley, since many employees in town live in Winter Park or Tabernash.
Exact boundaries have not yet been established, but trustees felt using the town boundaries would be too restrictive.
“You’re going to exclude everything up on Meadow Ridge, the new Byers Peak (development), places where employees live today and might want to buy their homes today,” said Trustee Ryan Barwick. “It’s a community problem, and by that I mean the valley, and restricting the program to town only gets a segment of the problem.”
The board agreed that the Economic Development Advisory Committee, minus any elected officials serving on the board, will act as the Fraser Housing Authority, which will review any applications and determine if they are appropriate for the program.
Once the housing authority makes the determination that a property would be a good add to the program, the application will need to be approved by the town board.
Durbin noted the town continues to work with Winter Park on the program so deed restrictions would remain consistent throughout the valley.
Interested parties should reach out to Durbin or Town Clerk Antoinette McVeigh at 970-726-5491.
In other business…
• Mayor Philip Vandernail and Durbin apologized to the community for some issues with operations at The Drop that occurred over the holidays. The timing of The Drop’s regular hours coincided with holidays, which meant the trash and recycling facility was closed at inconvenient times and led to the facility quickly reaching capacity once it did open. Both Vandernail and Durbin said the town can and will do better.
• The board approved a change to the town’s sign code that allows retailers to use the word cannabis in their signs. The change came after Rocky Mountain Cannabis asked the town to reconsider the code so the dispensary could use its full name on the sign outside the shop.
• In an effort to protect and maintain Fraser’s wastewater system, the board approved a $70,000 master plan for the wastewater system that will map out all of the town’s pipes and note problem areas.
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As if the economic ravages of the COVID pandemic weren’t enough, Grand County was hit by two wildfires last year that didn’t help at all.