Winter Park’s housing program sees early interest

Town offering incentives for long-term leases

Winter Park has started processing property owners’ applications for the new Short Term Fix program with the hope of moving employees into housing as quickly as possible.

During a Tuesday update about the program, Assistant Town Manager Alisha Janes said that 16 properties with 28 bedrooms had already applied for the program, which offers cash incentives to property owners willing to convert housing units into six-month or year-long leases for housing workers in town.

By Wednesday, the town had received four additional applications from property owners, bringing the total number up to 20.

“We’ve heard a lot of positive feedback and people are excited about the opportunity,” Janes said. “I think it’s a good example of a high need and urgency pushing innovation.”

Businesses have also expressed interest in the program, including the Grand Kids Learning Center, which had an immediate need for housing and is working to partner with a property owner approved through Winter Park’s program.

Once the town finds that a property owner is eligible for the program, the town provides a list of interested businesses, so that the property owner and business can negotiate a lease that works for both parties. The goal of the program is to provide housing for around 40 employees for this upcoming ski season.

Janes is optimistic that will happen based on the feedback so far. Homeowners have shared that the cash incentive helped make it plausible for them to rent on six-month or year-long leases, Janes said.

Additionally, other property owners who may not qualify for the program or who are interested in other arrangements have reached out to the town to discuss deed restrictions or other opportunities.

“We’re hopeful that after the program we can build on its success and establish deed restrictions with some of the properties,” Janes said.

In other business:

• Council approved a liquor license transfer for the Peak Bistro and Brewery and a special event permit for the Backcountry Taproom event hosted by Upslope Brewing and Winter Park Resort on Oct. 2.

• Winter Park adopted a countywide drought preparedness plan.

• An amendment for the agreement between the town and Winter Park Partners for the Fireside Creek project was approved, reflecting the updated financing.

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