What’s next: Local communities plan next steps for housing crunch
Granby has several plans to create hundreds of affordable housing units, and not just apartments
Editor’s note: This article is part of the final installment in Sky-Hi News’s three-part housing series that examines the affordable housing issue facing Grand County and its widespread effects.
Housing issues have been a hot topic in Grand County for many years with actions to address those issues being less than robust for a host of economic reasons, but with labor shortages plaguing local businesses, the governments of Grand County are looking for ways to alleviate the problem.
The biggest news in local, affordable housing developments comes out of Granby where the municipal government is in talks with Sun Communities, which recently purchased land on the Shorefox property for a future RV park development, to construct around 350 affordable housing units.
Roughly one-third of the proposed Sun Communities housing development would be set aside for future employees of the Shorefox RV park with the remaining two-thirds earmarked for workers that will be full-time residents of Granby.
Granby Town Manager Aaron Blair expressed his confidence about the realism of the project and stated that plans for the development would likely move ahead at the same pace as discussions for the future RV park.
Blair said the town is also in preliminary discussions with another developer about a potential workforce housing development of up to 250 units south of the Fraser River, which could be a mix of apartments and affordable single-family homes. Blair emphasized the development south of town is merely in early discussions and that town officials do not know if the project will actually materialize.
If both projects come to fruition, however, Granby could see as many as 600 new affordable housing units constructed in the coming years.
Around the rest of the county plans are less concrete.
There are two new, small private housing developments in the works in Grand Lake. Ground has been broken on one project, the Park Avenue Lofts, which town officials said would have between six and eight new units, and construction is expected next year on the Boardwalk Lofts, which would see as many as 32 new units. Though neither project is specifically designated as affordable housing.
Grand Lake Town Manager Jim White highlighted the town’s affordable housing fund, which now stands at around $375,000.
“We have an affordable housing fund, which we supplement each year with a portion of our nightly rental fee,” White explained. “When we get to a number that may be usable to entice a developer we might be able to build affordable housing through a public-private partnership.”
Grand Lake assesses a $600 annual fee on each nightly rental in the town, of which roughly one-third goes directly to the affordable housing fund.
In Winter Park, the long-awaited Sitzmark project is nearing completion, which will see the addition of 38 new affordable housing units. The complex will hold 28 two-bedroom units and 10 one-bedroom units. In late June, Winter Park began accepting applications for a lottery system that will determine potential tenants for the facility.
Winter Park Town Manager Drew Nelson said Sitzmark is the first major project in downtown Winter Park in almost 20 years.
The town of Winter Park has also entered a partnership with Winter Park Resort and the Grand Foundation to establish the Winter Park Affordable Housing Donor Advised Fund, which will provide monetary assistance to workforce members in the Winter Park area to cover housing costs. The town of Winter Park and the Grand Foundation have already earmarked a combined $25,000 for the fund, which is administered by the Grand Foundation.
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