Trustees decline to modify deed restrictions for Carbondale’s Keator Grove |

Trustees decline to modify deed restrictions for Carbondale’s Keator Grove

John Colson
Post Independent staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

CARBONDALE, Colorado – The Board of Trustees on Tuesday declined to modify the deed restrictions on homes in the Keator Grove subdivision, despite claims by homeowners that the modification was needed to counteract certain uneven effects of the recession on home prices.

But the matter will be reintroduced during a broader discussion about the town’s affordable housing program in March, at the request of Mayor Stacey Bernot.

The Keator Grove subdivision, located off Highway 133 in the southwestern part of town, is made up of 52 units in varying configurations and sizes – from condominiumized townhomes to flats and free-standing homes – each of which carries a deed restriction of one kind or another.

Some of the homes were sold to local working-class residents in 2008, shortly before a massive recession crippled the national and international economy.

The value of homes sold in 2008 immediately plummeted, as did the asking prices of homes sold since the recession hit, but the deed restrictions, including one that imposes appreciation caps of 6 percent, remained in place.

The upshot was that buyers of the homes at postrecession prices could resell them at prices far lower than those who bought homes before the recession, meaning homes bought at prerecession prices would be at a built-in disadvantage in the resale competition.

A group of buyers who purchased at both prerecession and postrecession prices, in concert with the owner of a number of remaining unsold units, the Aspen Skiing Co., asked the Board of Trustees to lift that appreciation-cap restriction on the deeds and allow their homes to essentially become free-market.

The hope, according to homeowner John Stroud (a reporter working for this newspaper), was that the removal of the deed restriction would serve to equalize the pricing of the homes over time.

The current developer, Keator Grove LLC, in the meantime, asked the trustees to lift the resident-occupied restriction on a different portion of the project, to jump-start sales that have been virtually nonexistent since the recession hit.

Some of those on the board were in favor of the changes, but not enough.

Trustee John Foulkrod noted that many of the homes that have been built are vacant, and declared, “I would rather see people living in these homes than not.”

But the mayor disagreed with Foulkrod’s position, saying, “The conflict I see … is we have a community housing program that’s not just a short-term fix, but a long-term goal.”

She and other trustees feared that lifting the deed restrictions would set a precedent for future developers of affordable housing projects, who would want to cut deals with the town if their own projects got into trouble.

Although three motions were offered by trustees, accepting differing aspects of the modification request, none of them passed and discussion of the subject was put on hold until March.

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