Winter Park reevaluates theft penalties and advances affordable housing
Special for Sky-Hi News
The Winter Park Town Council approved two ordinances on May 2. Ordinance 600 increases the dollar limit standard for felony-level theft and property damage offenses. Ordinance 601 transfers ownership of the Hideaway Junction community housing project site to the Winter Park Housing Authority.
Previously, the Winter Park Town Code outlined a $1,000 standard limit for felony theft or property damage offenses. If the value of stolen items or property damaged exceeded $1,000, offenders were automatically charged with a felony offense.
With the adoption of ordinance 600, the standard dollar limit for felony theft or property damage is now $2,000. Theft or property damage offenses below $2,000 in value are now considered a misdemeanor, rather than a felony.
Glen Trainor, chief of the Fraser Winter Park Police Department, recommended the adoption of this ordinance citing more local control for victims of these offenses.
Winter Park municipal court processes misdemeanor offenses, but felony offenses are automatically charged in Grand County’s 14th Judicial District Court.
By increasing the dollar limit for misdemeanor theft or property damage, Winter Park Municipal Court will process more of these charges instead of the district court.
Trainor explained the ordinance will “allow us to write misdemeanor offenses into municipal court.” According to Trainor the change in the ordinance provides more clarity and control of the judicial process for victims of theft and property damage.
Ordinance 600 is a reflection of changes to the Colorado Revised Statutes, which now specifies that the threshold for charging a defendant with a felony theft or criminal mischief is set at $2,000.
The Winter Park Town Council opened ordinance 600 to a public hearing. Without public comment, the councilors unanimously approved ordinance 600 as presented.
Additionally, Alisha Janes, Winter Park’s assistant town manager, proposed ordinance 601 to the Town Council.
Ordinance 601 transfers ownership of the Hideaway Junction community housing project site from the Town of Winter Park to the Winter Park Housing Authority.
Under the ownership of the housing authority, developers can begin vertical construction on the planned 20 single-family homes, and developers will not need to consult the town council prior to beginning construction on each of the different homes.
The housing authority will serve as a special limited partner in the development through the conclusion of the project.
Janes explained that the passage of ordinance 601 does not mean the housing authority is ready to accept applications for qualified buyers to purchase homes in Hideaway Junction.
However, ordinance 601 will accelerate the Hideaway Junction community housing project, and the housing authority will hopefully be ready to review applications for the purchase of homes in Hideaway Junction in the coming months.
Once construction is complete, the housing authority through an anticipated partnership with Mountain Affordable Housing Development will allow for the sale of homes in Hideaway Junction to buyers. The housing authority prioritizes applicants who intend to live permanently at their residence in Hideaway Junction and work at least 32 hours a week in Grand County.
Construction of additional homes in Hideaway Junction provides Winter Park permanent residents with additional, much-needed options for affordable housing.
The town council opened ordinance 601 to a public hearing and councilors unanimously approved it.
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