The creation of affordable housing is arguably one of the region’s most pressing issues, but building it is far from straightforward. At Wednesday’s Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) meeting, commissioners Lance Waring, Kris Holstrom and Hilary Cooper met with officials from the Telluride Foundation. The nonprofit has a new housing development in the works that is specifically for those living and working in Norwood. The discussion focused on the wording of the deed restrictions on the project called Piñon Park.
The project, explained the foundation’s vice president of programs April Montgomery, will ideally break ground next year, but getting the deed restriction hammered out is an important next step before shovel meets dirt.
“We’ve been working on this deed restriction for most of this year and having a restriction to maintain affordability is a key requirement of DOLA (Colorado Department of Local Affairs), which is providing gap funding for this project,” Montgomery said in her introduction. “We’ve had multiple conversations with DOLA and they’ve indicated their support for this deed restriction. And we’ve also talked to many communities all over the Western Slope to create the best deed restriction that we believe will work for Norwood. This deed restriction, which is formatted similarly to the county’s, has some aspects that make it appropriate, we believe, for a community like Norwood, as well as fit into the goal of rural homes. And that goal isn’t just to provide affordable housing, but it’s to energize rural communities. We want this to be first and foremost for the people that want to live and work in Norwood. Our goal isn’t to solve the affordable housing problem for the region.”
Legal counsel for the housing project, Lois Major, explained that one of the key components will be housing residents that qualify based on area median income (AMI).
“The key parts of the deed restriction are the household income,” she said. “So it’s going to be restricted by the AMI and that’s important because it gives the people with low-medium income to access clean, new and affordable housing and all these housing things are going to be in it. It’s going to create a whole new neighborhood. So it’s going to be really nice. It’s not like you’re going to be off in the boondocks in a really nice home isolated from everybody, so the AMI is critical.
“And then once you’re in your house if you qualified, you’re not going to be restricted to the AMI so that you can economically improve yourself. You don’t have to stick in a low wage job so that you don’t become disqualified. So once you own the home, you can get a better job … you …….