Local Governments Put the Brakes on Affordable Housing 

In August 2018, the Board of County Commissioners conditionally approved the sketch plan for The Corner at Brush Creek. One of the conditions required that three of the four property owners’ consent to the submittal of the preliminary plan application. Last winter, the Towns of Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte provided their consent to submittal of a preliminary plan application, but it was subject to three additional three conditions: (1) the project cannot exceed 156 units; (2) five acres of land included in the RFP must be set-aside for unspecified future uses; and (3) two parking spaces must be provided for every residential unit constructed.  

The Gatesco team did not see how it could obtain approval of, and develop, a project that complied with the County Sketch Plan conditions (including affordability deed restrictions, open space and snow storage requirements, setbacks, building height limitations, and other constraints), and the Towns’ additional 3 conditions. Equally important, the Gatesco team questioned whether these conditions, even if feasible, will result in a better project for the people who would be living there.

In the summer and fall of 2019, the Gatesco team agreed to pursue a 156-unit project, if the Towns would consider minor modifications that would preserve project feasibility.  Jim Starr cautioned the Towns against destroying a good project by looking for the perfect project, but this in fact appears to have happened. A recent deadline of October 31, 2019 to reach an agreement to allow a feasible project to move into preliminary plan has passed without agreement.

Several town councilors have expressed a desire to start the planning process over. Gary and the entire Gatesco team remain truly interested in providing a Brush Creek project that meaningfully addresses the workforce housing shortage. 


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