The guidelines have been under Telluride Housing Authority review for almost two years at the request of the Telluride Town Council. They have gone through an intensive public process, legal review, HARC and Planning and Zoning Review and final adoption at the September council meeting based upon recommendations from the THA subcommittee and public input.
We thought we should discuss the one example that was given in that commentary:
“You could own a $700,000 house in Ophir, work in Mountain Village, and you could qualify for a Telluride taxpayer-funded affordable housing unit in Telluride. (No need to sell that weekend house in Ophir).”
1. Under the new guidelines, if you own a house in Ophir or anywhere in the county, you would have to sell it within one year if you acquire a Telluride subsidized Affordable Housing Unit (AHU). If you want to keep the house, you can request an exception by the Telluride Housing Authority Subcommittee. The ability to seek an exception existed in the old and new guidelines. The exception for dual ownership is not automatically granted nor has one ever been granted for this specific situation that we are aware of. If the exception is not granted, the $700,000 home in Ophir must be sold within 12 months. If the exception is granted, it must be rented to a qualified household that meets the guidelines for an affordable housing rental unit. The ability to rent the free market unit to a qualified household is a change in the new guidelines. The THA Subcommittee felt that this option would in fact provide more rental housing options to qualified households. With the old guidelines, if you lived in Norwood or anyplace outside of the R1 School District, you could own a free market residential unit in that area and not have to sell it in order to qualify to purchase an AHU in Telluride. But if you owned a free market unit within the R1 School District, you could not apply to purchase an AHU in Telluride. The changes in the new guidelines now treat the entire county the same way in terms of ownership of a free market residential unit. This change was the result of comments received during the last two lotteries. There were owners of Eider Creek and Viking units, in particular, who meet all the qualifications for the AHU units being sold except for the ownership of their free market units within the R1 School District. These owners expressed regret to THA and RHA that they could not even get into the lottery and have the ability to “move up” to a larger housing unit due to the ownership of their free market unit, and that they would be happy to sell their free market unit if they were successful in the lottery. We made the changes to the guidelines due to these responses from the last two lotteries as well as from additional personal interviews.
2. The previous and recently adopted guidelines state that if your net worth exceeds twice the purchase price of the (AHU) you are attempting to purchase, you will not qualify for an AHU in Telluride. This asset limitation is the same as the one adopted in 1994. What is new in the guidelines is the required submittal information which has become much clearer and stronger. The calculation of net worth is also much clearer than before.
3. AH Units built recently by the Town and those units required through developer mitigation have sales prices generally targeted for affordability to the 80 percent to 120 percent Average Median Income (AMI) groups, basically those households with middle incomes for the county. This targeting of sales prices is consistent with the most recent affordable housing study. An example of this range is the recent Mendota project, which had sales prices ranging from $128,000 for a studio to $303,000 for the largest three bedroom unit.
4. The purchaser has to work in the region and these standards have not changed. The employment requirements have not changed. One individual out of the household must have worked 1,400 hours in the previous year or 1,400 hours in five out of the last seven years.
5. Finally, the new guidelines also have lower upper income limits for qualifying household for purchasing AHUs. This mean very high wage earners will not qualify to own deed-restricted price-capped units in Telluride. The old guidelines had higher income limits.
As for the remainder of the issues:
The commentary mentioned a $500,000 deed-restricted AHU in Telluride. This example is substantially incorrect. The example given of a $500,000 AHU would be nearly two times the maximum allowable sales price for an Affordable Housing Mitigation Unit and what is recommended under the 2004 Affordable Housing Study for new units to be built at this time.
The remainder of the article points out items that actually existed in the previous guidelines and are still present in the new guidelines.
Although the final statement given in the commentary is that the new guidelines have been gutted, they are in fact generally more restrictive than before.