YES housing

The Boulders in Mountain Village is part of that town’s deed restricted housing pool. (Courtesy photo)

Mountain Village is saying YES to creating additional housing opportunities. The new program, Your Equity Support Deed Restricted Program offers qualifying property owners up to $200,000 in exchange for placing a deed restriction on the property. The payment would be for a portion of a property's value —15 to 20 percent of the appraised value of the property, not to exceed $200,000. Applications are now open.

The YES program falls under the umbrella of the recently announced Community Housing Initiative. Mountain Village, like numerous other municipalities in Colorado, is grappling with a shortage of worker housing. The domino effect is that businesses are facing staffing challenges.

Mountain Village’s Business Development and Sustainability Director, Zoe Dohnal, said she hopes YES and other programs can be of assistance.

“Our businesses are currently having to be creative given nationwide employee shortages and the local housing shortage,” she said. “While all are striving to meet the needs of the community and their patrons, lack of staffing is causing some to close certain days of the week, reduce hours, and change their operations. Businesses are trying to be flexible and adapt quickly to the rising demand in Mountain Village, but this is proving challenging with the lack of help.” 

In seeking to add inventory to its pool of deed restricted housing, the town touts the benefits of deed restriction for interested property owner — no appreciation cap, no income cap and no household size requirement. Not only will expanding the deed restricted market be a boon in keeping and retaining full-time employees, but officials say it will make for better purchase options for workers by creating more affordable housing.

Incentivizing exchanges such as YES is offering is a tried and true type of program, explained Michelle Haynes, director of planning, development services and housing.

“Both Vail and Avon have implemented similar programs,” Haynes said. “Vail has been able to place deed restrictions on approximately 150 units, and Avon started the program last year (with notable success).”

Any condo or single family home in Mountain Village not already deed restricted qualifies.

“This is a voluntary program, so we feel the target market would likely be a resident who meets the qualifications who owns their property and may be looking for an influx of cash to improve the property and is alighted with the housing mission, or invest the funds in something meaningful,” Haynes said. “We also feel that this program could be a good fit for a business owner looking to purchase a property to rent out to their qualified employees.”

Haynes said there is no one, single type of housing the town and the region needs.

“Regionally we need to fill in all rungs of the housing ladder right now,” she said. “Entry level seasonal and long term rental housing and mid-priced ownership can be addressed. It’s important we diversify the deed restricted housing inventory for all locals to meet locals at their budget and price point.”

With the wait list at Village Court Apartments closed and capped at 150 people, the town’s new Community Housing Initiative, of which YES is a piece, comes with some urgency, as businesses struggle to become fully staffed. A property owner with an eye for the greater good can reap a number of benefits by converting to a deed restricted status. Through YES, the town is offering benefits such as design, development and building permit fee waivers for the construction or conversion of accessory dwelling units. And in what Haynes calls a “long-standing regional tradition,” a deed restricted unit can become a revenue stream for the property owner.

If a homeowner owns a single family home or a detached condominium, a homeowner can build an accessory dwelling unit, use it for a long-term rental and utilize the passive income stream to help offset expenses or the existing mortgage,” she said.

A payment of between 15-20 percent of a homeowner’s home value in exchange for a deed-restriction up to $200,000 also sweetens the exchange.

“These monies can be used for a down payment, to improve the property or any other use,” Haynes explained.

Additionally, building and designing with increased density in mind can also pay off.

An architect or local builder could construct a duplex rather than a single family home on a singular lot and double the density, create a desirable price point for the inventory due to the small square footage of the unit, and an owner could either rent or sell the second duplex unit,” Haynes said. “Our overall Community Housing Initiative aims to benefit property owners in a variety of ways if they want to be a part of our solution to address the housing crisis.”

Haynes said YES is just one part of a multi-pronged effort to address the housing crisis. Fee waivers for deed restricted development, encouraging duplex development, and allowing accessory dwelling units in detached condominiums are a few strategies under the Community Housing Initiative. Also streamlining the design review process and prioritizing those projects on design review board agendas are being offering in the initiative.

“Finally, we plan to implement a community housing mitigation methodology so that community housing impacts and expectations can be more clearly outlined for any upcoming new large scale development in Mountain Village,” Haynes said.

Mayor Laila Benitez, who along with Mountain Village Town Council launched the housing initiative in May, made clear that her council’s priority is creating community housing.

“The ongoing, regional housing shortage has profound impacts on our local businesses’ ability to hire and retain staff, as well as the quality of life of our residents,” Benitez said. “In light of this continuing challenge and our ongoing commitment to effectively and consistently address it, Town Council and staff have crafted a comprehensive vision and plan to support, create, and pave the way for community housing.”

Council gave notice to SMRHA that the town would not be renewing its contract for their services with the San Miguel Regional Housing Authority, beginning in 2022. 

“Our housing management needs have traditionally been on the less intensive side for SMRHA, and council decided we could bring this in-house with the formation of our housing department and new community housing program director,” Haynes said.

For complete information on YES and other Community Housing Initiative programs, visit townofmountainvillage.com/community/housing/community-housing/.