ASPEN - The Aspen City Council on Monday will consider the idea of relaxing a rule pertaining to affordable-housing ownership at its Burlingame II property, where construction of homes is expected to begin this year.
The council meets for the first time this year in a work session at 5 p.m. in the basement of City Hall.
The question being presented by R. Barry Crook, assistant city manager, concerns resident-occupied homes, the most expensive worker houses. Crook wants direction from council members on whether potential buyers of resident-occupied homes who don't fall under "priority" guidelines can be considered for Burlingame II's pre-sales effort.
"Priority" buyers are those who match the requirements for the amount of time they've been a part of the local work force and their number of dependents in relation to the number of bedrooms in the unit they want to buy.
"We are occasionally approached by potential buyers of (resident-occupied) homes who are not priority buyers, but who plan on starting their families in the next few years and would like the chance to purchase a home that exceeds their current worker/dependent-to-bedroom match," Crook wrote in a Dec. 27 memorandum.
Crook wrote that city staff is not recommending any particular course of action. He noted, however, that non-priority sales have become more common in the past few years because of the reduction in priority bidders for housing ownership.
"It is not as rare (for a) non-priority buyer to win a bid as it had been during the housing crunch of the mid-2000s," he wrote in the memo.
Under the City Council affordable-housing program, deed-restricted-ownership units are divided into Categories 1 through 7, each with its own price range and asset/income caps for buyers, plus the resident-occupied designation.
In recent years, the market for the higher-priced Categories 6 and 7, and resident-occupied housing, has been soft, officials have said, in part because buyers have been able to find housing on the free market in downvalley areas for the price of the more expensive deed-restricted units. The biggest interest in Burlingame II so far has been in the lower categories, 1 through 5.
In other work-session business, the council is expected to hold a follow-up discussion on various work-force-housing topics that were addressed during two lengthy meetings, one in September and another in October, in a joint housing session with Pitkin County commissioners.
The council's first regular meeting of 2013 is scheduled for Jan. 14.