Energy-saving improvements can be recovered in resale

Jill Beathard

SNOWMASS VILLAGE — Owners of employee-housing units in Snowmass Village can now make capital improvements and include the value in the resale price of their home if the improvements provide energy efficiency or water conservation.

The Snowmass Village Town Council voted unanimously on April 22 to amend the housing guidelines to allow for an energy-efficiency capital-improvements allowance of as much as 10 percent of a home’s current resale price. The changes should help reduce Snowmass Village’s carbon footprint, although it might affect the affordability of units.

Currently the housing guidelines do not allow for capital improvements in order to keep the resale prices of units affordable, said Housing Director Joe Coffey.

“With the council’s renewed focus on reducing the (town’s) total carbon footprint, the housing director recommends the council to consider a modification of the guidelines,” Coffey’s memo to the council stated.

When Councilwoman Markey Butler asked if there was any downside to the amendment, Town Attorney John Dresser said that the price of units would go up. However, the homes would still be deed-restricted, so a serious seller might still have to lower a unit’s price to meet demand, Councilman Jason Haber pointed out.

“The owner basically assumes the risk,” he said.

“(The change) makes no guarantee that they will receive the max resale credit,” Dresser said.

Replacement or maintenance of fixtures or decorative items would not apply for the allowance. A new boiler, thermostat or windows that have a high grade from Energy Star were examples Coffey gave of improvements that would be approved.

Another change was made in the guidelines for units constructed before 1991 to allow the depreciated cost of capital improvements performed by a condo association on a unit to be included up to 10 percent of the current resale price. Before, the actual cost of an improvement was included but only up to 10 percent of the owner’s purchase price. Because the calculation would be based on current prices, Coffey said the change should work out in favor of the owners of the older units.

“This was very appropriate for Earth Day,” Coffey joked after the amendment passed.