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Winter Park moves forward with workforce housing

A revamped workforce housing development proposing 70 apartments got the go-ahead from the Winter Park Town Council on Tuesday.

Known as the Fireside Creek Apartments, Winter Park had initially planned in 2019 to build a 40-unit project using Low Income Housing Tax Credits, an indirect federal subsidy that finances low-income housing. However, the town didn’t receive LIHTC funding and is not eligible to receive it until other LIHTC projects in the county are finished.

Instead of waiting for LIHTC funding, the town is working with Winter Park Partners to create a 70 unit apartment building with deed restrictions requiring at least one person per unit to work 32 hours per week in Grand County and make less than 120% Area Median Income.

Rents would target below 120% AMI, according to Assistant Town Manager Alisha Janes. In Grand County, Area Median Income is $55,200 for one person in 2020.

The project would be located on the town owned property next to the Silverado II condos, on Kings Crossing Road.

Fireside Creek would offer a mix of one, two and three bedroom units, and some town council members expressed a desire to increase the number of people required to meet the deed restriction in the larger units.

“I am concerned that somebody sly enough to have Mike Periolat rent the unit who rents it to his buddies in Denver,” Council Member Chris Seeman said. “Should a three bedroom have a slightly different description of a qualified renter?”

Janes added that the units can’t be subleased or on the short-term rental market, which will help preclude some fraud. The minimum lease for a unit is six months to allow for seasonal employees to live there as well.

Town staff said they will look into adding language to ensure a qualified person would live in each unit.

Aside from that, no council members shared other concerns about the project. The town’s overall contribution includes conveying the land at a low cost, waiving development fees, totalling less than $200,000, as well as contributing water and sewer taps.

Once the $13 million project is complete, Winter Park Partners will own and profit from the building, but the deed restrictions are on the units in perpetuity.

Construction on the project will likely start next building season and Janes estimated the building would be move-in ready around fall 2022.

In other news:

• The Reunion Station mixed-use development final plat and development improvement agreements were both approved by council. Reunion Station proposes four townhomes and a shared restaurant, retail and office space with four condominiums on the second floor of the building.

• Also for Reunion Station, the council approved a parking variance for the project, which reduces the number of spaces by 15 from 48 spaces to 33 spaces. The council noted the mixed use project is near public parking garages and a bus stop, providing alternate transportation options.

• The town also approved an agreement with Home James, a paid ride service, to offer another mobility option around the Fraser Valley to residents and visitors who aren’t comfortable riding the bus. The service would be available from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on holidays and weekends.


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