Eagle County Schools takes first look at tiny house proposal in Minturn | PostIndependent.com
Randy Wyrick
Vail Daily

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Eagle County Schools takes first look at tiny house proposal in Minturn

Inside the red circle is 1.3 acres, and if the school district and Minturn decide to move ahead with tiny houses in Maloit Park, that's most likely where they would go.

MINTURN — Tiny houses are among the big ideas for workforce housing in Maloit Park.

Part of the land the school district owns in Maloit Park is about four dozen acres on the south side of Minturn. A few months ago, the school board wondered about putting some tiny houses there, and what that might look like.

Local planner Tom Braun gave the board its first look during a Wednesday afternoon work session, with the admonition that tiny houses would be just one of many housing options on the site.

"It has to fit into the Maloit Park plan," Braun said. "We'll need to define the most appropriate location for a tiny home community and understand how a tiny home community will affect Eagle County Schools' long-term use of Maloit Park."

A tiny home is generally 400 square feet or less, and they're a big deal in the housing world. The Aspen ski company just purchased six tiny houses; Salida approved a 200-unit tiny home project.

Maloit master plan

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The school district owns most of Maloit Park, and Minturn annexed it a few years back. Under that agreement, all residential development will have to occur in a 46.9-acre area. The agreement allows up to 120 units.

Any residential development would have to be worked around several things. The Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy school is there. So is one of two FIS certified Nordic tracks in North America.

That leaves about 13.5 acres for housing, Braun explained. Between natural and man-made restrictions, about 15-18 tiny houses could go on about 1.3 acres of that.

Because the plan is in its infancy, details like price and who would get to buy them would still have to be hammered out, Braun said.

"Of all the property the school district owns, the beauty of this area is second to none. If this is developed, I want to make sure this is developed the right way," said school board member Kevin Kottenstette.

Making Minturn home

Willy Powell, Minturn town manager, said tiny homes are popular right now, but urged caution.

"Is it a craze, or is it part of a long-term solution?" Powell asked.

Townhomes and condominiums are a more efficient use of that land, since you can house more people on the same space, Powell said.

Minturn is also anxious to preserve its working class character, Powell said.

"Very slowly it is ebbing away through short-term rentals and the price of real estate," Powell told the school board.

Minturn wants to be part of Eagle County's workforce housing solution, Powell said.

"Our council is anxious to have more employee housing, both here and other locations," Powell said

The U.S. Forest Service has broached the idea of consolidating its facilities in Eagle. That could make a few spots in Minturn available — the Forest Service building in Dowd Junction and two properties at the other end of town.

There is also water to consider, Powell said.

Minturn has some water treatment capacity left to accommodate things like a Maloit Park proposal, but Battle Mountain is also courting the town and wants to build 200 units. The town is studying how to accommodate those and other proposals.

Minturn will build a new water treatment plant, but that probably won't happen prior to projects like Maloit Park or Battle Mountain.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

Annexation agreement requires:

• 120 dwelling units

• Maintain minimum 3 acres of park/fields

• Provide future utility easements from water plant to Battle Mountain development

• Water rights, tap fees

• Access road

Next steps for Eagle County schools

• Employee survey

• Define goals for project

• Site evaluation

• Introductory meeting with Minturn

• Outreach to Maloit Park residents/Community Fund

• Engage civil engineer

• Define options for implementation