Group eyes affordable housing project near Carbondale
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – A 9-acre mobile home park outside of Carbondale that is for sale may be the location of a new affordable housing project in the area. The concept received the preliminary support of the Garfield County commissioners on Monday, although they still had several questions about the project’s estimated cost to the county and whether county zoning regulations would even allow it.The Roaring Fork Community Development Corp. (RFCDC), which is a nonprofit subsidiary of Healthy Mountain Communities, is working to patch together different area governments and groups to purchase the Mountain Valley Mobile Home Park for its affordable housing project. Right now, the corporation has secured enough money to potentially put the property under contract, according to a memo by Colin Laird, who is director of both Healthy Mountain Communities and RFCDC. The goal is to purchase the property and convert it into permanent deed-restricted affordable housing for as many of the current residents of the mobile home park as possible and preserve the units for Garfield County residents making 80 percent or less of the area’s median income, the memo said. The project is looking to make it affordable by either subdivision and lot sales back to the current residents or in the form of long-term, appreciation-capped lot leases.The owners of the mobile home park have had an offer of $7 million on the property, but they are interested in selling it for $6.5 million to a “buyer committed to preserving the affordability of the current units of the park,” the memo said. The mobile home park is located in Garfield County behind the Red Rock Diner in Carbondale. It currently has 64 mobile homes, according to the memo.John Cooley, who manages the mobile home park and is a partial owner, said the offer for the mobile home park contained short terms for the mobile home residents to leave the park. He said he then felt that the ownership group of the mobile home park needed to do something so the residents wouldn’t be displaced.”We did have a contract we could have gone ahead with,” said Cooley, adding if those residents have to leave, they will not stay in Garfield County. “I am glad we didn’t. We had to come up with something to help the people.”Laird spoke before the Garfield County commissioners on Monday to see whether the county would be interested in the project and might be willing to conditionally invest in the affordable housing project.”I personally think this is a type of creative approach to sustaining (affordable housing) that is important for all of our communities and for the county to look at in the future,” Commissioner Trési Houpt said.Houpt added she would like to have clearer understanding of what level the county needs to support the proposed project through the Garfield County Housing Authority.Commissioner John Martin said there were “too many unanswered” questions about the project, like whether the county’s current zoning regulations would even allow it and about how the proposed units would be sold.Commissioner Larry McCown said he wanted to see some of the “logistics” of the project before he would be willing to commit to helping to fund it.”The concept, I support it,” McCown said. The Garfield County Housing Authority, the Colorado Department of Housing, private developers and local banks have expressed interest in the effort. The town of Carbondale has also “conceptually agreed to waive some fees and invest some cash into the affordability of the project,” according to Laird’s memo.”Given the property’s zoning (commercial limited) it is unlikely to remain as a mobile home park after sale to a private developer,” according to the memo. “With redevelopment, Garfield County and the town of Carbondale will lose 64 de facto affordable housing units.”Contact Phillip Yates: firstname.lastname@example.orgPost Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
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