Mountain housing

Dear Editor,

Caribou Ridge was to be a For Sale luxury housing development of 10,000 square ft. houses with up to 3,000 square ft. guest houses on 10 acres.  That wasn’t lucrative, and it was sold to Marketwise LLC.

Fast forward after investing millions of dollars, the attorney for Marketwise LLC stated ‘We want to come to you (the Board of Trustees) with a plan and bring back the interest to see if there is a way for more affordable homes on smaller lots.’  That is commendable. This area isn’t Breckenridge or Telluride.  Now, back to 2014 for a refresher to those who are ‘relatively new’ to Nederland and the surrounding area which may save Marketwise LLC and possibly the Board of Trustees some time, and money.

I have lived on the mountain for decades, and started in 2008 working to bring the issue of affordable housing into public view. Thus, the establishment of the Nederland Housing Task Force, now a subcommittee of the Nederland Human Services Task force. Its accomplishments included:

​1.  Began conversations between the town and county about the affordable housing crisis

​2. ​ Brokered a housing partnership between the Town and the County

3.  Designed ‘universal’ mountain appropriate (rental) housing with resident input, making appropriate housing

4.  Type, and design recommendations to the Town Planning Commission and County

In 2014 the housing partnership resulted in a comprehensive housing needs assessment survey completed by Bowen and Associates of Ohio. Among the survey results to fill the demand for For Sale housing was the recommendation in the $250,000 to $350,000 price range (1200 sf – 2400 sf).  That is what is considered affordable for Nederland, and where the demand is.  These facts should be taken into consideration as the starting place in making a determination.

‘..Coming back to the BOT with a plan, and bring back interest to see if there is a way for more affordable homes on smaller lots.’  Paraphrasing the words of Bowen Associates from their experience ‘success is determined by filling the need, not the attitude of if you build it they will come.’

Atashnaa Werner (Medicine Shield)
Former Nederland Housing Task Force