Rent may increase at Pitkin County-owned Phillips Mobile Home Park
Pitkin County commissioners on Tuesday will consider raising the rents at a mobile home park the county purchased last year to preserve a pocket of affordable housing in the Roaring Fork Valley.
The proposal — which would raise most rents at the Phillips Mobile Home Park by $45 a month — is part of several preliminary decisions commissioners are scheduled to make at their regular weekly work session Tuesday about how the property will be managed in the future.
“The intention is to maintain well-below-market space rental rates while covering operating costs,” according to a memo to commissioners from Assistant County Manager Phyllis Mattice.
Currently, operating income at Phillips is $1,600 a month less than operating costs, which are slated to rise even more next year because of additional “site upkeep items,” the memo says. County officials proposed raising space rent at the park from $350 a month to $395, and increasing storage rental space from $25 to $35 a month.
The biggest rent increase would affect three cabins that are owned by the county and rented out on a month-to-month basis. If the county board approves, rent for those cabins would increase from $450 to $700 a month. All increases would go into effect Jan. 1.
The increased rents would generate about $2,400 a month more to cover operating expenses, according to Mattice’s memo.
Pitkin County bought the Phillips Mobile Home Park in February 2018 for $6.5 million from Harriett Noyes, whose family bought the 76-acre property for $500 in 1933. Over the years, the site had become one of the last pockets of unregulated affordable housing in the Upper Roaring Fork Valley, and the county wanted to preserve it.
However, the site, located on Lower River Road between Woody Creek and Old Snowmass, needs septic infrastructure and must be modernized and brought up to safety and fire codes. Mattice’s memo marks the end of the first, preliminary site planning for Phillips.
Besides the rent increases, commissioners are scheduled to approve a basic plan on how re-jigger some of the 44 units on the property. That will mainly apply to six mobile home spaces and a privately owned cabin on a small portion of the property located on the opposite bank of the Roaring Fork River called Riverview, where commissioners have decided they don’t want development.
“Over time, units will be removed or relocated from the Riverview area,” Mattice wrote in the memo. “No new or replacement units allowed.”
Four of those seven units could possibly be relocated, the memo says, though three others could not be moved. It’s not yet clear exactly how that attrition process would work, though residents of all seven units would be first in line for new spaces on the other side, Mattice said.
Other items to be approved by commissioners Tuesday include how to govern sales of mobile home units, and adopting Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority guidelines about roommates, subletting and leaves of absence.
“Once a plan for the site is adopted and sale of lane to mobile home owners is approved, then the commissioners will establish a date upon which APCHA or other guidelines will apply to sales,” the memo states.
Tuesday’s discussion about Phillips is scheduled for 4 p.m.
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It’s hard to fight City Hall and even harder to fight well-funded neighbors who don’t want any development near them, a local man has realized. So he settled for less than what he and his partner bought the property for.