The Vail Town Council approved a resolution adopting a new housing strategic plan at its Tuesday, Sept. 6 meeting that fundamentally shifts the town’s emphasis from construction of new housing stock to obtaining deed restrictions on existing units. The plan is supported by an ongoing funding commitment and a new decision-making structure that enables the Vail Local Housing Authority to act on behalf of the town. The goal is to acquire 1,000 additional resident housing unit deed restrictions by the year 2027.
The agenda item, Resolution No. 29, adopting the “Vail Housing 2027, A Strategic Plan for Maintaining and Sustaining Community through the Creation and Support of Resident Housing in Vail,” appeared as action item 6.1 on Tuesday’s meeting agenda and included opportunities for public comment.
The Vail Housing 2027 Plan identifies deed restrictions as the most effective way to increase the supply of resident housing in the town due to its cost-effectiveness since a deed restriction can be acquired for 75 to 80 percent less than the cost of a home. For example, to date, the town has purchased several $400,000 homes. That same amount of money could have purchased several deed restrictions, thus increasing the supply of resident homes. According to town estimates, the pool of non deed restricted owner or renter occupied homes in Vail is 1,753.
The deed restriction approach is a one-time cost, according to the plan. The deed restriction then controls occupancy of the home. The deed restriction is an occupancy requirement rather than an ownership requirement. Anyone can own a deed restricted home; however, only residents may occupy it. When real estate sells, the deed restriction transfers with the title and therefore lives on in perpetuity or until all parties agree to release the restriction. No resale cap appreciation would apply.
According to the plan, these deed restrictions will be acquired from a wide range of sources, including existing homeowners, potential home buyers, business owners, large and small employers, real estate developers, existing and potential investment property owners and others.
To fund the deed restrictions, the town currently has nearly $3.2 million available in its housing fund to launch the new program. The plan recommends appropriating a minimum of $500,000 in 2017 and a minimum of $5 million in each of the future budget years extending to 2020 to support the program. Allocations beyond 2020 would be evaluated based upon results achieved, to date.
To make the deed restriction acquisition process more efficient, the five-member Vail Local Housing Authority will be appointed as the new decision-making body authorized as a special agent to act on behalf of the town, according to the plan. The VLHA is a statutory authority created under Colorado Revised Statues and granted powers of authority which include: to grant or lend moneys or otherwise provide financing to any person, firm, corporation for any project or any part thereof; to pledge or otherwise encumber any of its moneys in support of or in connection with a project; and to purchase, lease, obtain option upon, or acquire any property, real or personal, or any interest therein from any person, firm, corporation, the city, or a government.
Community Development Director George Ruther credits VLHA Chair Steve Lindstrom and the other authority members for their leadership in helping to direct a new approach in addressing the challenges of available housing in Vail. “I really think the Housing Authority is on to something here,” said Ruther. “While not fully tested, we all have housing challenges yet I am unaware of any program like this in our peer resort communities. Everybody is doing the same thing and still facing housing challenges. Talk about being bold. “
During a series of public meetings during the summer facilitated by the VLHA and Alan Nazzaro, the town’s housing manager, a series of themes emerged:
- The do-nothing option is not a viable alternative
- Need affordable housing for full-time residents
- Need to better regulate short-term rentals (i.e., VRBO, airbnb)
- A dedicated funding source for housing is needed
- Homes for family/full-time residents, and rentals for temporary workers are needed
- Density is an option as long as it is done correctly and in the appropriate locations, able to accommodate it, i.e., close to transit, amenities, shopping, etc.
Vail’s first strategic plan for housing was adopted in 2008. The need to update Vail’s housing plan has been triggered, in part, due to the increasing cost of housing and lack of availability of both affordable rental and for-sale homes. The updated plan will be used as a guiding document to make critical decisions during implementation over the next 10 years.
Review the plan in its entirety here. For additional information, contact Ruther at 970-479-2145 or email email@example.com.