At the January monthly meeting, Norwood trustees discussed an affordable housing development in Norwood that could possibly break ground in April 2022. Last week, coordinator David Bruce, who is a recent Yale graduate and Rose Fellow working toward his architecture licensure, spoke to The Norwood Post to discuss the details of the upcoming neighborhood, as well as similar projects planned for Nucla and Ridgway.

Bruce, hired by the Telluride Foundation to oversee the housing developments, said there is “a ton” that must be put into place before next spring’s groundbreaking. Nucla’s development is set to go first, at the corner of 7th and Grape streets. There’ll be 15 homes priced according to the average median income (AMI) for the area. Bruce said the houses will go for between 60 percent and 120 percent of the AMI.

The West End Public Schools District signed a memorandum of understanding with the Telluride Foundation to develop the parcel, which also contains the former Nucla school. Bruce said he can’t say yet whether the old school house will come down or not. The current site plan works around it and establishes a cul-de-sac neighborhood. Bruce said it’s possible the old building could be adapted or repurposed — something the next generation, the new homeowners, will have to determine. 

Bruce, on behalf of the foundation, is working with a consulting firm called Economic Planning Systems to help derive the home values. He said it’s difficult to build homes in such a rural and remote place, because of labor, shipping costs and the lack of housing credits.

The foundation is getting low-cost capital from national foundations and establishing a revolving construction fund. Once the Nucla project is complete, the funds will be replenished, and the Norwood project will begin, followed by Ridgway.

Bruce said in the meantime, there is much municipal work and permitting to be done. He wants the projects to be a community process, too, so he expects delays.

Norwood’s development will possibly include 20 homes, south of the library, on a parcel of county land. Town planner Henry Hemphill has been working on density, and it looks like the lot sizes will be 3,500 square feet, rather than 7,500.

Bruce said that will make for a tight-knit neighborhood, ideal for teachers, U.S. Forest Service employees and others who are critical to the Norwood area. They’ll be able to walk to the town’s core, library and more.

The single-family homes will have detached two-car garages. They’ll utilize “innovative building methods” — prefabricated, panelized construction built off site that is trucked in and can be framed in 24 hours.

The deed-restricted homes will range in price from $170,000 to $260,000, and income requirements will ensure the rules are followed.

“You can’t be married to a trust-funder and rent it out,” Bruce said.

When questioned about water, Bruce added town trustees and representatives from Planning & Zoning say there is enough water for new homes in Norwood. Still, he said there must be “feasibility” on every single site.

“We won’t do anything that can’t be maintained and succeed,” he said.

The plan for Ridgway is in the preliminary stages. Bruce and the Telluride Foundation are in conversations with the Ridgway Town Council, the school district and Ouray County about a parcel of land.