Coffey Place lottery to offer deed-restricted housing in Snowmass |

Coffey Place lottery to offer deed-restricted housing in Snowmass

Sixty-nine applicants will vie for 15 units in Wednesday lottery

Construction continues on Coffey Place in Snowmass Village on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

Wednesday is the day nearly six dozen local families have been awaiting for weeks: at 3 p.m., the Coffey Place Housing lottery will determine the 15 winners who will get to purchase a deed-restricted (and brand-spanking-new) home in the Coffey Place housing development near Town Park in Snowmass Village.

With 69 applications in the mix, there are a lot of eager eyes that will watch a gold raffle drum as it shuffles film canisters filled with families’ names for the drawing. (Due to COVID-19 precautions and restrictions, the lottery will be shared over Zoom.)

Housing lotteries involving this many new units don’t come around often in Snowmass Village, according to Housing Director Betsy Crum. And applicants responded in droves: Crum said she initially expected 35 or so applicants and got nearly double that.

“It shocks me how much interest (we got) really,” Crum said. “I was surprised.”

Prices range from $495,000 for a two-bedroom townhouse to $835,000 for a three-bedroom, single-family home with a finished basement. The seven single-family homes with midrange pricing between $635,000 and $695,000 garnered the most interest from applicants, according to data Crum provided to all the lottery entrants; pricier single-family homes and lower-cost townhouses were slightly less popular.

The buildings are still under construction, with the first units slated for completion in the spring.

Applications closed Dec. 8, but it took nearly a month and more than 400 hours of work in the Housing Department to ensure applicants met all the town’s regulations to purchase a deed-restricted unit in Snowmass Village.

Those regulations include a minimum employment requirement: applicants must work a minimum of 1,400 hours over a period of at least eight months every year in Snowmass Village or Pitkin County. Village workers need to meet that requirement for one year before they can apply; folks who work in Pitkin County need to clock three years. Buyers also are subject to income limits and caps on net worth.

Assistant Housing Director Terri Everest worked full time — plus overtime — to review the applications, and the process became its own part-time job for Crum. The two laugh about it now that the lottery is on the calendar, but it’s been “nothing but this (review) for weeks and weeks,” Crum said.

All told, 45 Snowmass Village and 24 Pitkin County applicants got the green light. But that doesn’t exactly equate to 69 names in one big hat (or film canisters in a raffle basket, as the case may be).

For one, the lottery is weighted: the longer an applicant’s local employment history, the more entries they get, as many as eight chances for anyone who has worked in the town or county for more than 15 years.

For another, the drawing happens in tiers.

In most Snowmass housing lotteries, the top tier is for residents who already live within the complex and want to move to a different unit. That won’t apply this time around because no one lives in Coffey Place yet.

But there is an applicant for the second tier: folks who want to downsize from one deed-restricted unit to another in Snowmass Village. With just a single contender in this “superpriority” round, there’s no need to spin the wheel to grant them a spot in Coffey Place, Crum said.

Next up: Snowmass Village employees with more than three years of work history in the town. Thirty-seven applicants (totaling 174 entries using the weighted system) will vie for the remaining 14 units, according to a table Crum distributed to all lottery applicants Jan. 11. Town officials will draw all the names in the raffle, and winners will get their highest choice of unit subject to availability; those who don’t score a chance to buy will end up on a waiting list if one of the winners changes their mind.

Two other lottery tiers will follow. Seven Snowmass Village employees with one to three years of employment in the town will each get one entry in their tier, which will determine their place on the waiting list; the final round places 24 applicants who work in Pitkin County (totaling 136 entries) on that list, too.

The Von Ohlen family is among those awaiting the results come Wednesday afternoon. Kevin and Briana Von Ohlen and their two young children (ages 4 and 1-and-a-half) are feeling the close quarters in their two-bedroom condo in Burlingame Ranch and hope for a place with room to grow.

“We’ve really been looking forward to these places being built, because we’re out of room,” Briana said. Moving to Snowmass also would reduce Kevin’s commute to Snowmass, where he owns a landscaping business. Briana works at Aspen Valley Hospital as a chart auditor.

The couple has deep roots in Snowmass: both had met former Snowmass Village Housing Director Joe Coffey, the namesake of the new development, a couple of times before he died in 2018. And Kevin has banked more years working in Snowmass Village than any other applicant in the lottery — he’s spent the past 21-and-a-half years offering landscaping services to the community, securing him eight entries in the lottery.

For Kevin and Briana, the new development — and this lottery — are a long time coming.

“Snowmass is a budding community. … I know all the longtime locals there,” Kevin said. “I know my friends are competing with me on the places, and it is what it is. We just hope to move up in the world.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the price range for Coffey Place homes for sale. Prices start at $495,000, not $435,000.

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