On Sept. 8, at the monthly Norwood Town Board of Trustees meeting, Henry Hemphill, the town’s planner, and also David Bruce, architect from the Telluride Foundation, spoke to trustees and town staff about the proposed affordable housing project. 

The Telluride Foundation has been working on affordable housing developments in local communities, and Norwood’s appears to be moving right along. 

The Town of Norwood recently adopted a sketch plan process, to make development projects easier to manage and permit by local officials. With that plan in place, Planning & Zoning (P&Z) recently sent their recommendation for the Telluride Foundation’s new housing proposal. 

P&Z looked at three different configurations that Bruce came up with. Of those, P&Z liked the second option best. In their review, P&Z took feedback from San Miguel County, the Norwood Fire Protection District, Norwood Water Commission and also the Norwood Sanitation District. Those agencies provided comments to the sketch plan.

The fire district gave feedback that no fire hydrants were present. Hemphill said such feedback is normal during the review process, and comments help shape the preliminary plat that will later be filed with the town. 

Bruce said the new housing project will serve Norwood well. He said with the low-interest loans the foundation is getting, those will be quickly paid off when the homes sell. 

He reiterated that the development is for workforce housing, and it’s deed-restricted. Those interested must live and work in the community to be able to purchase homes. 

A lottery process would take place. Bruce said applicants to the lottery get additional tokens and receive higher chances of winning the option to purchase if they work for the local school district, government or medical center. 

Bruce said the salaries of future homeowners could be spent directly on local businesses. 

“Twenty-four units occupied by residents that make between 60-120 percent of Area Median Income would add about $900,000 of household spending to the region,” he said. “Secondly, property tax revenue from 24 new units would contribute close to $25,000 across all of Norwood’s taxing districts. Finally, there is direct economic stimulus from the impact of the construction itself, as the project will hire many local subcontractors.”

Bruce said that most people involved in the sketch plan process were choosing the second option because it used less density and kept more of Norwood’s traditional feel. Still, Bruce said even Option Two does upzone the area of development, increasing density from R1 to medium density. 

Nina Kothe, P&Z board member, spoke at the meeting. She said it was important to note that P&Z’s consensus for the project was the second option. She said any higher density would be inconsistent with Norwood’s character. 

Trustee Shawn Fallon said he wanted to see the proposed houses more spread out though. He felt they were too close together. 

“I was hoping they’d go to Lone Cone Street — not just to Paradox,” he said. “I’m sure that would raise the cost.”

He added that the comments from the fire department concerned him. He said fire danger was a major concern. 

Trustee Candy Meehan said after thoroughly looking through the options, she wanted to approve the second option for the sketch plan. Still, she said she wanted consideration given to the fire chief for the concerns he presented in the comments. 

Hemphill said all comments, like the fire chief’s, could be addressed in the next step of the project. 

Trustee Jaime Schultz made a motion to approve scenario 2, which was approved by the board. The sketch plan now returns to P&Z.