Woody Creek mobile home park owners begin to buy their lots
ASPEN, Colo. After years of politicking, residents of the Woody Creek subdivision finally can buy the dirt beneath their double-wides.”I’m a landowner,” said an elated Hilary Burgess, secretary of the Woody Creek homeowners’ association and one of the many residents who’ve signed on the dotted line for their land in Woody Creek.The area just behind the Woody Creek Tavern and the Woody Creek Store on Upper River Road has been home to more than 50 trailers since the mid-1960s. And for nearly as long, residents have been bucking to buy their own individual plots in the park.”We first started talking about it in the early ’80s,” said Lanny Curtis, president of the homeowners’ association. The idea finally came to fruition in October 2005, when the homeowners’ association was secured a $1.85 million loan to buy the land. Residents then worked to gain approval for a subdivision that would allow individual owners to buy their land.The result is 3,500-square-foot lots for sale at roughly $81,500 through the local housing authority; $30,000 of that cost is for lot upgrades, and residents also must comply with strict fire codes and bring the sewer up to snuff. The subdivision itself paid to install a 200,000-gallon water storage tank on land owned by Elam Construction Inc., on a mesa just to the north of the park.Landowners can stick build, use modulars or place a mobile home on their lots; homeowners who do major work or rebuild also have to comply with new fire codes and install a sprinkler system at a cost of about $10,000.Land in the subdivision is deemed “resident occupied,” or RO, by the local housing authority, which means owners must spend at least nine months per year living in the residence; those who lived there before August 2000 were grandfathered into a six-month residency requirement. Owners cannot own land in other parts of Pitkin, Garfield or Gunnison counties and must comply with other housing regulations, including an asset cap when qualifying to buy and a cap on resale prices (currently set at Category 6 prices, or a deed-restricted value of $441,000).”Financially we’re looking really good. By the time we get all the lots sold, it will pay for the entire property and improvements,” Curtis said, adding that 20 lots have sold and three others are under contract.Designers of the subdivision eliminated seven spaces where trailers were too close together and combined those spaces with additional acreage to create 14 lots for new trailers or freestanding homes. A lottery was held for the new lots; all have been reserved by people already living in the park, Curtis said. When the subdivision is complete, there will be 58 lots.There are concerns that some residents of the subdivision cannot afford to buy their lots or do not qualify under housing authority guidelines, Burgess said. The homeowners’ association could hold the deed on those lots, but it would have to carry a loan on that land. Burgess said the association ultimately would like to sell all of the lots.
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