Woody Creek tenants get some assistance | AspenTimes.com

Woody Creek tenants get some assistance

Naomi Havlen
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Local housing authority board members are attempting to preserve housing in the Woody Creek Mobile Home Park, and they may keep at least one trailer owner from suffering serious financial loss.

Going into Wednesday night’s meeting of the housing authority, board members planned to remove eight lots from the park to prepare for residents to buy the land beneath their homes from the county.

The switch will convert the park into a subdivision, but since county commissioners ruled lots should not be smaller than 3,000 square feet, a reconfiguration added 14 new lots, but also eliminated eight others.

But housing authority board members may have found a way to shoehorn in an additional lot or two, causing less of a headache for one trailer owner. Aspen-based photographer Alan Becker owns two trailers in the park but resides in Aspen. He has argued with the housing authority since they told him he would have to remove one trailer.

But Becker may have a buyer for the home in the works, and housing authority officials will ask the commissioners to either keep the lot at its slightly smaller size, or create a new lot at the other end of the park. The housing staff did not recommend that trailer owners be compensated for those homes that must be removed.

Victoria Giannola, assistant director of the housing authority, said since the prices of the units are figured to include their location, buying the units from owners would not be a sound use of public funds.

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“Other units have deteriorated, and that means they have depreciated in value,” Giannola added. The authority’s attorney has also said the issue does not constitute a “takings,” since the housing authority owns the land and has the authority to eliminate or include more lots.

For five of the lots that are being eliminated, the trailers are being relocated to new lots created by the reconfiguration. For some trailers that cannot be moved because of their deteriorating condition, the authority has offered to purchase deed-restricted modular units to be placed on the new lots.

Homeowners that qualify to live in the subdivision can move to the modular units and pay rent to the county.

Another trailer resident who was informed his lot would be eliminated has not lived in the park for over a year due to illness and hospital stays. Edward Brennan’s daughter and son-in-law, Noah and Mary Harvey, told the board Brennan had planned on renting the trailer out to pay for his debts and medical bills.

“This trailer [is too old to] be moved to a new lot, even if a remodel has been put in, and [Brennan] will have to pay for it to be destroyed,” said Noah Harvey. “At the very least, the demolition should be taken care of by someone else. His assets were few, and we were clinging to this one.”

The board agreed to pay for demolition of Brennan’s trailer and provide him with two years worth of rent in compensation.

A meeting for Woody Creek Mobile Home Park residents is scheduled for Monday at 5:30 in the Pitkin County Library meeting room. A more detailed application of the lot line plan will be presented to the Woody Creek Caucus and Planning Commission.

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