Important items on the agenda at City Council on June 21.
There are several important items on the agenda for Tuesday's Council meeting. I am using my 3 minutes to speak on behalf of moving forward with the Vandaveer land swap deal. I don't have any remaining minutes to talk about how much I support the proposed moratorium on short term rentals. If any brave soul would like to speak up about that matter, I would be happy to share what I know with you. I have done lots of research and obviously I am passionate about the topic. (Note - Denver just passed an ordinance that says ONLY primary residences can be used for short term rentals. That is huge!) I am crafting my pro-Vandaveer development 3 minute talk and will post it here before the meeting Tuesday. If anyone else wants to chime in, I would be happy to share what I have learned from attending a bunch of NRCDC meetings over the years.
I think that our Council has a HUGE opportunity to use Vandaveer for creating LOTS of affordable housing. You can put up to 18 homes on an acre of land. Vandaveer is 200 acres. Think of what could be done if Council sets aside 20 acres for this kind of development. That could be up to 360 homes! What if they set aside 40 or 50 acres! HUGE!
For those of you who haven't been following this discussion, here are the facts as I know them in a nutshell.
The City bought 200 acres of land called the Vandaveer Ranch about 10 years ago. The City works with a non profit entity called the NRCDC, who they tasked with the job of figuring out the best use of this land. The NRCDC built the Natural Resource building on Highway 50 (which turns a profit) and they sold some land to Pinto Barn. The Vandaveer land on the south side of the highway (where Gentleman of the Road was held last year) is ripe for development except for the fact that there are few to no utilities or roads available on site. A local company called LCI has offered to provide the required utilities (water, gas, sewer, electric and a road through the property) in exchange for 40 acres of land. It is hard to sell undeveloped land, but once the infrastructure is in place, the City/NRCDC can sell the remaining land for lots of money. There are several local folks who build houses (myself included) who have expressed interest in building on Vandaveer. This means local jobs in the construction industry and lots of sales tax to collect. And more homes to live in. They City/NRCDC can choose to put a big chunk of land under a Housing Authority that will make sure that the land is used to build affordable/attainable housing that will be deed restricted so that it will remain attainable forever. (This is what I am going to advocate for on Tuesday.) There is a group called the Belmont Corporation that want to build 60 apartments at Vandaveer. 48 of these units will be set aside for people who don't earn much money. These people are some of the nice folks in town who sell you groceries, cook your burgers, run your ski lifts, and make $8.00 an hour. Imagine living on $8.00 an hour. That is $16,000 a year if you work full time year round, which most people in this range are not able to do. The Council is going to vote on the land swap deal on Tuesday. LCI has said that they will withdraw their offer if Council doesn't move ahead soon. Without the LCI infrastructure, Belmont cannot move forward with their project.
There is a lot of discussion about how we got here, but here we are. We can either complain about what has happened before and point fingers at previous Councils, or we can move forward. I want us to move forward and build some homes for our folks. This is a huge opportunity for the Council to leave a lasting POSITIVE legacy.
Please, if you comment, don't say mean things about individuals on the City Council or the NRCDC board members or bring up arcane minutiae that no one understands. If any of the above is factually incorrect, please chime in.
And if you want some help crafting a nifty 3 minute presentation about the LCI land swap or moratorium on Short Term Rentals, let me know.