Winter Park, Fraser begin process to create multijurisdictional housing authority
Granby, Grand County seek to join
Elected officials from Fraser and Winter Park agreed to work together on starting a multijurisdictional housing authority to address workforce housing needs, seeking to put a question on the ballot as early as next year.
At meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday, Winter Park’s town council and the Fraser board approved a memorandum of understanding outlining a work group and the goals of conducting a housing study, consulting legal help for a ballot question and hiring a consultant to help found the housing authority.
Both towns committed $75,000 to fund the study, legal help and a consultant.
“I want to thank staff for moving pretty darn fast on this concept,” Winter Park councilman Art Ferrari said. “I think this will open up a lot of opportunities in the valley if not countywide for organized housing efforts and possible funding.”
The working group will identify the boundaries, funding sources and the governing structures of the housing authority with the goal of creating deed-restricted workforce housing.
Before the agreement was even signed, Grand County Commissioners and the Granby Town Board signaled their interest in participating in the work group and a regional or multijurisdictional housing authority.
In a letter the Board of County Commissioners sent Winter Park, the commissioners provide an estimate of $10,000 for legal work on the formation of a multijurisdictional or regional housing authority, adding they would be willing to invest up to 75% of the cost of formation.
Grand County Commissioner Rich Cimino told the Winter Park council on Tuesday that he believes more money could be appropriated for the formation of a housing authority if necessary.
“We’ve only approved $7,500 right now so if it turns out to be higher, we’d have to have that conversation, but I think we’d be favorable to a (three-way) split,” Cimino said.
Representatives from both the county and Granby were invited to attend the work group meetings, but neither has approved an agreement or funding for the work. Under the agreement signed by Fraser and Winter Park, costs are to be split equitably by all parties, including if the work group expands.
Emphasizing they hope to move quickly to form a housing authority, the Fraser and Winter Park indicated they wouldn’t wait on Grand County or Granby.
“Between the two of us in the working group, our goal is to get the regional housing authority to address our needs and we’re not going to dilute that by making it too broad, but we do want to explore,” Fraser Town Manager Ed Cannon said.
Ultimately, Fraser and Winter Park are hoping to ask voters to approve funding for the housing authority in November 2022.
The work group started meeting on a biweekly schedule with the first discussion on Friday.
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Throughout the year the Headwaters Trails Alliance have assessed or maintained roughly 530 miles of trails in Grand County, spending $1.04 million to do so.