Trustees adjust resident owner occupied guidelines |

Trustees adjust resident owner occupied guidelines

Jeremy Heiman
Carbondale Correspondent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

CARBONDALE, Colorado ” Carbondale’s Board of Trustees on Tuesday made two significant changes to the town’s affordable housing guidelines. The changes affect only the RO (resident owner occupied) category of affordable units.

RO units are not price capped, and there is no restriction on the income of buyers. Under current code, in addition to a specified number of deed-restricted low income units, 20 percent of the remaining dwellings in any new development must be RO units.

Until Tuesday, RO dwellings had to be occupied by their owner, and that owner had to live there year-round, with absences of no more than three months total per year.

Conceding that current conditions in the market require that some adjustments be made, the board approved changes to both of those stipulations.

Now, developers can rent RO units until they can be sold, if they can’t be sold quickly, and reduces the residency requirement from nine months per year to six months.

In June, the board approved a change to the guidelines that reduced the residency requirement to six months for all RO units approved after that date. The more recent action broadens that ruling to affect all RO dwellings approved previous to that date.

The rental option was discussed after developers approached town officials saying they were not able to sell RO units they had built, because prospective buyers were not able to get financing. Relaxing of the residency requirement was considered because it was suggested that more retirees would find the six-month period more compatible with their lifestyles.

A third possible change was not approved. Trustees had tossed around the idea of allowing local employers to purchase RO housing and rent the dwellings to their employees, but trustees were not generally comfortable with the idea of corporations owning rental housing that had been built as part of the community’s stock of low-cost housing.

Trustee John Foulkrod suggested allowing employers to purchase RO units and rent them to their employees on a rent-to-own basis if each individual instance is reviewed by the Board of Trustees. But the board didn’t want to pursue that option, at least until it’s clear how the other two changes are working out.

Earlier this month the trustees made a guideline change specific to the 52-unit Keator Grove development that will allow the Aspen Skiing Company to rent out 30 dwellings there to its employees rather than selling them. The company assisted with the development of Keator Grove by purchasing the RO units for its employees to buy. Skico still has many employees who would like to purchase homes, but the tightening lending situation has reduced the number of potential homebuyers in the company’s ranks.

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