Officials continue review of affordable housing guidelines in Telluride
Telluride Assistant Attorney Allie Slaten talks about the potential Telluride Affordable Housing Guidelines changes during a Telluride Housing Authority Subcommittee meeting Wednesday morning in Rebekah Hall. (Screenshot by Justin Criado/Telluride Daily Planet)
The Telluride Housing Authority Subcommittee continued discussions Wednesday morning related to updating the Telluride Affordable Housing Guidelines, which is part of the current ongoing biennial review period process.
The most recent work session item was not as meaty or lengthy as previous ones, but subcommittee members and town staff in attendance took time to address some potential concerns from the public regarding the proposed guideline changes up until this point and the tentative timeline for such amendments to be considered and eventually voted on.
“I think there was concern that some decisions were actually being made today, and that is not the case,” said DeLanie Young, subcommittee chair and Telluride mayor. “Because, ultimately, full Town Council and the full THA (Telluride Housing Authority) board is who makes the decisions. We, as the subcommittee, are a recommending body to the full council and THA board. So that being said, today is our regular meeting discussion following the public forum (held on March 21).”
She added that the guidelines and the potential changes will next be considered by Telluride Town Council at its April 18 meeting during a two-hour work session. There is also a Telluride Housing Authority regular meeting April 25. After council and the THA board, as well as the public, have an opportunity to provide feedback and comment, the subcommittee will again consider the latest incarnation of the guidelines May 3 and possibly make a recommendation to council and THA board. Depending on the subcommittee’s recommendation, council and THA board members will consider taking action on the latest Telluride Affordable Housing Guidelines May 9. Young stressed that all meetings are open to the public.
“And that would be the day that action would be occurring, if it's recommended,” she explained. “ … So I don't want people to think we're pulling it right now, if that makes sense.”
In a Town of Telluride news release Tuesday, four key changes were highlighted:
Given the new continuing household size requirement, “households will be required to maintain a household size equivalent to the number of bedrooms in the unit,” according to the news release, but “limited exceptions may be considered.”
Similarly, under the revised property ownership standard, “applicants will be prohibited from owning developed residential property in Ouray, Dolores, and Montrose counties, in addition to the current prohibition against owning developed residential property in San Miguel County.” Again, limited exceptions may be considered.
Also, “the revised earned income standard will prohibit exceptions from being granted to households earning more than 40% of their income from outside the R1 School District,” as outlined in the news release, and, “new mitigation units must be sold through a lottery run by the San Miguel Regional Housing Authority. Existing mitigation units must be sold through a lottery after their next sale.”
Subcommittee members, which included Young and Adrienne Christy, as well as Geneva Shaunette via Zoom, addressed public concerns, particularly about the potential household size requirement, Wednesday. Town assistant attorney Allie Slaten, who has been overseeing the process, provided some clarification, including debunking the idea that any guideline changes will be applied retroactively, as some community members believed, and the option of an “administrative exemption.”
“The term ‘retroactive,’ nothing is being applied retroactive. All these changes will only be applied moving forward. So the action only is a violation of the guidelines for what happens on day one, after these changes are enacted, if they are enacted,” she said, adding deed-restriction elements vary. “ … Not every deed restriction will be subject to all of these changes. It really depends on the language of each individual deed restriction. Now, the idea, and especially moving forward staff is very aware of this, in the future, hopefully, we get to a point where every deed restriction is subject to the guidelines ‘as amended.’
“And I want to make it very clear that these units are subject to an affordable housing program. The needs of that program will change. The goals of that program are to house as many local employees that are in need of housing as possible, which is, I think, where the subcommittee was getting at when they were talking about this change of the idea is to have at least one person per bedroom or the equivalent of a household. We're not going to go in and open doors. If you have two people who are in one bedroom and one is empty, that's perfectly fine. Just the number of people living in the unit, it will, ideally, be equivalent to the number of bedrooms that are in that unit.”
She added that the exemption process, if applicable, is “intended to be very simple, very quick.”
“Our executive director or manager of (San Miguel Regional Housing Authority), we would apply to her, and so long as there is a good reason for you to not have three people in this three-person unit, she could grant that exception. Administratively, you do not have to come for a hearing. She will give us an update, just letting us know that she did grant an administrative exemption at the next subcommittee meeting, but then it ends there. She can put conditions on that exception. So she could only grant it for a period of five years or one year; any other reasonable condition that needed to be added to make sure that our program goals are still being met,” Slaten explained. “Now, if she is uncomfortable making that decision, she can always refer it to the subcommittee. And let's say your two-person household now went down to a one-person household and you are still in a three-unit or a three-bedroom unit. At that point, you can still seek an exemption and it would come up to the subcommittee, but there is still a process to allow you to remain in that unit without roommates. So there are still processes for all of these requests.”
At its Jan. 19, 2022, meeting, the THA Subcommittee directed staff to initiate the review of the guidelines, which are to be reviewed every two years. Public input is encouraged.
To review the recorded Telluride Housing Authority Subcommittee meeting from March 21, visit the Town of Telluride’s YouTube channel. Meeting details, agendas and packets can be found on the Town’s website at bit.ly/telluridecalendar. To submit public comment regarding the proposed changes to the guidelines during any of the public meetings, email [email protected].
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