With a growing need for affordable housing for middle class Coloradans, Congressman Jared Polis offered legislation this week to help expand the stock of affordable homes and support tourism businesses and their workers. The Affordable Housing Regulation Simplification Act would ease regulations that prevent families from financing affordable homes in high-tourism areas. The Lake Hill Affordable Housing and Forest Service Support Act would convey a 40-acre parcel of the U.S. Forest Service Lake Hill site to Summit County for the construction of affordable housing. The site will also host a new Dillon Ranger District administrative compound.
"Affordable housing is essential for working families who call Colorado home and for the businesses that need to attract a talented and capable workforce to create jobs and grow," said Polis. "These two bills are examples of the kinds of common-sense, locally driven solutions that we need right now to support the middle class and get our economy moving again."
The Affordable Housing Regulation Simplification Act would:
Create a new category of "affordable workforce housing mortgage" that applies only to middle class buyers in tourism-related jobs; and,
Ease the overly burdensome financing restrictions imposed by Fannie, Freddie and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) that make lending unworkable for affordable housing units.
"Congressman Polis has been one of the few legislators who understands the difficult regulatory environment associated with mortgage lending on condominiums in resort areas," said Jackie McPheeters, chair of the Summit Association of Realtors. "The congressman spent a lot of time here in Summit County working to find a solution. I appreciate his willingness to take a stand to help the local economy and kickstart the resort housing market again."
"Easing Federal regulations and increasing access to mortgage financing for multi-family housing in our resort areas is essential to sustaining a strong condominium market in the greater Vail area and throughout the Western Slope," Matt Blake, Chair of the Vail Board of Realtors remarked. "This bill takes a solid first step at fixing the myriad of issues by easing the currently strict financing requirements for local workers in Resort areas."
The Lake Hill Affordable Housing and Forest Service Support Act would:
Convey a 40-acre parcel of the 386-acre Lake Hill site, which sits between I-70 and Dillon Dam Road to Summit County for the purpose of developing affordable housing; and,
Support a sustainable, energy-efficient administrative compound for the Dillon Ranger District on 10-acres of the Lake Hill site.
"Located in the middle of the county and adjacent to the Town of Frisco, the Lake Hill parcel is a perfect site for the development of workforce housing and large enough to address housing needs now and in the future," said chair of the Summit County Board of Commissioners Dan Gibbs.
"Providing housing and protecting open space may seem mutually exclusive, but not in Summit County," Summit County commissioner Thomas Davidson offered. "We aggressively peruse both and our voters approved funding for both. Lake Hill is a key parcel identified for workforce housing by both our planning commission and open space council."
"Summit County has invested millions of dollars protecting high value backcountry in holdings in the National Forest," added Summit County commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier. "The Lake Hill parcel is lacking conservation values and is a great location for Dillon Ranger District and Summit County workforce housing."
Additional information and fact sheets on these and Polis' other introduced bills are available at: http://polis.house.gov/legislation/.