WestPac looks to exceed housing requirement at Cattle Creek
Aspen, CO Colorado
GARFIELD COUNTY ” Developers of the proposed Cattle Creek Crossing north of Carbondale intend to go above and beyond Garfield County’s affordable housing requirements, and say the plan being put forward by Related WestPac is one that can truly address the Valley’s dire housing needs.
“We believe there is a housing problem, and that we need to do something about it,” Rocky Shepard, project manager for Related WestPac said during a recent presentation on the project to the Carbondale Rotary Club.
WestPac is expected to submit its sketch plan to the Garfield County Building and Planning Department on Thursday. County commissioners will consider a proposal to change the property’s zoning to the highest urban density allowed, on Tuesday, Feb. 19. A public hearing is to begin at 1:15 p.m. in the commissioners meeting chambers, across from the courthouse on Eighth Street in Glenwood Springs.
The sketch plan calls for 979 housing units in 474 buildings at the 282-acre development, located along Highway 82 at the mouth of Cattle Creek, between Carbondale and Glenwood Springs, Shepard said.
Of those 979 units, 100 would be deed-restricted in accordance with the county’s 10 percent affordable housing mitigation requirement ” priced for homebuyers making between 50 percent and 150 percent of the area median income (AMI), and including annual appreciation caps. The current AMI for this end of the county is about $65,000 for a two-income household.
The maximum price for those units, based on the current income guidelines, would be $280,000, Shepard said.
Beyond that, he said Cattle Creek Crossing aims to offer a range of housing that it also defines as affordable, including rental units targeted at specific income levels, and homes priced for those making slightly more than the various AMI categories.
“We are working with the Garfield County Housing Authority and Valley Housing Partners on trying to do some additional restrictions, so that people who make between $75,000 and $100,000 have some opportunity to buy a home,” Shepard said. “Right now there is nothing available that they can purchase.”
As a whole, the project is designed with the working class in mind, and not necessarily the second home market, Shepard said.
“We’ve designed Cattle Creek Crossing for people to live in the neighborhood,” he said during the Rotary presentation.
In a follow-up interview this week, he added, “The idea of the whole project is not to make it attractive to second home people. By designing it around small lots and smaller homes, it won’t be targeted at second home buyers. There’s enough of that already with Aspen Glen and some of the other developments, so that’s not what’s needed in the area.”
A third of the housing units are proposed to be single-family homes, while the other third of the housing units are multi-family housing, such as duplexes and townhomes ” another design aspect that’s intended to maintain affordability.
“We are the largest private developer of affordable housing units in the country,” Shepard said of Related WestPac, “having built or financed 300,000 affordable housing units across the country.”
County commissioners were expected to consider rezoning the property last month, but decided to continue the public hearing as Commissioner Larry McCown was absent from that meeting.
Dozens of area residents spoke before the Garfield County Planning and Zoning Commission last month to sound off on the proposed zoning change.
Many opposed the zoning change due to the likely impacts of traffic and environmental concerns related to the Roaring Fork River and herd of elk that regularly winters in the area. However, the Planning Commission voted 3-2 to recommend rezoning the property to the highest urban density allowed. County commissioners can either approve or deny the planning commission’s recommendation.
The property was proposed for a variety of other development over the past decade, including the highly controversial Sanders Ranch proposal which had a larger commercial component, and the more recent Bair Chase golf course development proposal, which would have included between 200 and 300 homes. Financing for the latter proposal fell through, and the property fell into foreclosure, eventually landing in the hands of Related WestPac.
Other components of the Cattle Creek Crossing sketch plan include about 25,000 square feet of “neighborhood commercial,” including local retail and office spaces; dedication of a 14-acre site to the Roaring Fork School District for a possible future elementary school; ball fields; RFTA trail improvements; and improvements to the Highway 82/Cattle Creek intersection, including a traffic signal.
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