P&Z Approves East Depot Subdivision
by Karen James
Nov 18, 2009 | 1148 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print

TELLURIDE – The Telluride Planning and Zoning Commission last week voted 4-0 to amend a Planned Unit Development agreement in the East Depot neighborhood that previously permitted 13 free-market, multi-family dwellings and required 18 condominium hotel rooms.

In exchange for permission to subdivide the single parcel bordered on the east by South Aspen Street and to the south by the extension of East Depot Avenue into five single family or duplex lots, applicant Todd Creel will deed-restrict one three-bedroom, two-bathroom Needle Rock Condominium unit in accordance with the town’s affordable housing guidelines and make it available for purchase to a qualified party.

Additionally the town will receive three $120,000 installments of cash into its Affordable Housing Fund within four years, and each of the five lots will be subject to the payment of the town’s new affordable housing mitigation for single-family homes that take effect after July 1, 2010, regardless of the date of any related development applications are submitted.

“We’re recommending approval based upon your going down the affordable housing path, not the master plan path,” Town Planning and Building Director Chris Hawkins told the commission, in a nod to a central issue of proposed amendment – namely whether the loss of bed base on the site as originally envisioned by the town’s Master Plan and required by the previous PUD would be offset by the new public benefit of affordable housing.

Gold Run Lots Conveyed

Although the Gold Run subdivision on the town’s east end that will provide 18 units of affordable housing in the form of one-, two- and three-bedroom units as 12 single-family homes and three duplex buildings has been the subject of much recent debate, the Telluride Town Council on Tuesday approved an ordinance conveying three town-owned lots and the portion it owns of a fourth lot contained within it to its not-for-profit development arm, the Block 23 Housing Corporation, in a 6-1 vote.

Councilmember Thom Carnevale, who has suggested lately that the town may be squandering an opportunity to house more people in a denser, multi-family development and has also questioned whether the units will be truly affordable for the town’s workers, cast the sole dissenting vote.

“I certainly don’t oppose the project, but I think the timing is wrong,” he said.

Noting that the town has yet to sell some of its most recent Entrada affordable housing units, attorney Jenny Russell, who has argued for higher density on the site, urged council to withhold its approval of the ordinance.

“Given the change in the economic and employment environment, I think you need to ask yourselves whether you can afford to absorb the costs,” she said.

Town Manager Frank Bell clarified however that failure of the ordinance to pass would not necessarily stop the project from being built.

The ordinance “does not convey a mechanism for you to stop actions taken by the previous council,” he said. “The Block 23 transfer only privatizes the construction manner; the town could do this project itself without transfer to Block 23.”

Representatives of San Miguel County, which owns 11 of the lots and shares ownership with the town on one more, attended the meeting and urged the council to proceed with the approval.

“My sense is that the [County] Commissioners are satisfied and look forward with proceeding with the process,” said County Planning Director Mike Rozycki.

In a separate meeting on Wednesday the San Miguel County Commissioners voted 2-0 to convey its Gold Run lots to the Block 23 Housing Corporation.

Commissioner Elaine Fischer was absent from that vote.
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