Colorado Avenue will be one way, eastbound this summer
Special Thanks to Suzanne Cheavens, Associate Editor & The Telluride Daily Planet
This summer, Colorado Avenue businesses can take it to the street. At its special meeting Tuesday, Telluride Town Council unanimously approved a measure that will allow restaurants and retailers on Colorado Avenue to use public right of ways to feed their customers and display their wares. The resolution is designed to “to encourage and permit outdoor dining, retail display and transactions, local art display and performance to assist local businesses in response to the town’s local disaster emergency regarding COVID-19.” The resolution goes into effect June 1.
Council, staff and members of the public undertook a lengthy discussion that also included consideration of restaurants and businesses located away from the town’s main drag. While side streets are not part of Tuesday’s resolution, council will revisit those businesses at it next meeting, June 2.
Driven by the economic implications of doing business under public health orders that include compliance with physical-distancing measures and limitations on group sizes, local officials have been examining how to support its business license holders in a way that would uphold those orders. Restaurants, for instance, will soon be permitted to seat customers, but at only half capacity and while keeping diners adequately separated. Having outdoor dining available will allow customers to pick up and consume to-go orders.
The plan will see eastbound traffic only, with the westbound lane closed and separated from vehicles. San Miguel County officials asked that the block between Aspen and Oak streets remain open to two-way traffic, citing the upcoming election in June and for ease of conducting county business at the courthouse and the Miramonte building.
As per local emergency services such as fire and medical, there is ample room for those vehicles, as well as the center lane for deliveries.
In the staff memo to council, town project manager Lance McDonald described the so-called communal dining areas as areas to be “open to the public for the consumption of takeout or delivered food and beverages from local restaurant establishments, and cannot be allocated or assigned for exclusive uses to specific businesses.”
Communal retail and arts spaces will also be designated along Colorado Avenue’s north side. Those areas “are available to retail businesses within the specific block to exhibit merchandise, etc., and cannot be allocated or assigned to specific businesses,” according to McDonald’s memo. Local artists and arts organizations can also avail themselves to those spaces, though retail businesses will have priority.
Rather than wait another week or more to make a decision, council pressed forward with a few changes to the draft resolution, saying that waiting was not in the public’s best interest.
“People are ready for us to take action,” said council member Adrienne Christy.
Tuesday’s resolution also included permitting “parklets” or portable units that can accommodate dining or merchandising on the south side of the street adjacent to businesses desiring to use them. Those units will be allowed from Aspen to Alder streets to included businesses outside of the one-way portion of Colorado Avenue. The resolution allows staff the flexibility to reach individual agreements with business license holders wishing to use parklets on public right of ways. Sanitation stations will be placed for ease of hand-washing.
Town will also purchase tables and crowd control fencing and create informational signage, an investment McDonald calculated would be approximately between $50,000 and $62,000. Tables, which comprise about $40,000 of total estimated costs, would be placed in the communal dining areas and in the nearby pocket parks. And he reminded council of the impacts on staff.
“There will be staff demands to implement this,” he said. “It is an undertaking.”
The resolution sunsets Oct. 30. Council will continue a discussion next week on how best to include similar considerations for off-Main Street businesses, allowing staff to compile more information on potential use of public right of ways in places such as Pine Street, Fir Street and Pacific Avenue near Siam and There.
Still left to establish is a management plan that will cover topics such as proper disinfecting of tables, keeping retail and dining areas cleaned, and enforcement of public health orders.
“This isn’t done by any means,” said Mayor DeLanie Young.
The town is a favorite for some owing to its world-class alpine skiing, while others are swayed by summers full of cultural events, including the iconic Telluride Bluegrass Festival and an endless variety of outdoor activities. What rings true to everyone, however, is the town’s authentic mountain character and unpretentious attitude. Standing tall with an elevation of 8,750 feet, Telluride is the highest mountain town on our list.
Thank you to Dr. Sharon Grundy of the Telluride Medical Center, for this timely and informational Medical Minute update:
Many part-time residents are also patients of the Telluride Regional Medical Center. These are people we see year after year. They are a part of the med center family.
Our community expands beyond who lives here year-round.
Telluride and the surrounding mountains live in the hearts of many people around the world — while only a relative few get to call this home year-round.
Many part-time residents are also patients of the Telluride Regional Medical Center. These are people we see year after year. They are a part of the med center family.
Some part-time residents or second homeowners are asking when they can come back — and how can they do so safely and respectfully.
After all, for many, Telluride is not only their second home, or home away from home, it’s also the place they feel the safest, their happy place. We get it!
So here’s where Colorado and San Miguel County stand today: Both our county and state have issued “Safer at Home” orders that limit travel into and around San Miguel County to Local Residents only.
Side note: I love this info-graphic that can help people answer, wherever you are, the question: Am I safer at home?
The current San Miguel County Public Health Order states “visitors to San Miguel County are still not allowed and are directed to return home immediately by the fastest and safest available means.”
Why? We have very limited community resources.
So far — and thanks to an abundance of caution, planning and community wide strategic efforts — our healthcare system has not been overwhelmed and we’ve been successful at keeping our staff and non-COVID-19 patients healthy.
However, if you get coronavirus here, or bring it here with you, please understand: there are remarkably few Intensive Care Units and ventilators in the region.
In fact, our community is 65 miles away from the nearest hospital. If you were to become severely ill, you’ll find access to care limited.
The main hospital that serves our community is Montrose Memorial Hospital and beyond that, St. Mary’s Medical Center in Grand Junction (2.5 hours from Telluride). Additional surrounding counties rely on those two medical facilities.
For that reason, at this time, non-resident homeowners are only strongly encouraged to not travel to San Miguel County.
If you decide against the urging of Public Health officials, the Public Health Order instructs non-resident homeowners, and residents who have spent extensive time away, to quarantine at home for 14 days.
The quarantine or self-isolation period is meant to prevent the possible spread of COVID-19.
The local order is explicit in detailing that those individuals who are coming to or returning to the area are not permitted to break quarantine for “Necessary Activities” or to access “Critical Businesses.” Not even a trip to the Post Office is permitted.
You will need to be self-sufficient during this time. Meaning you’ll need groceries and to arrange for deliveries to that end.
For definitions and the full public order, see here.
And finally, if you’re determined to enter San Miguel County, be sure to read the Colorado State Safer at Home Order, review the San Miguel County Public Health website; and the individual ordinances of the township where your home is located. Links are provided below.
Note: Counties can be stricter, but not looser than State orders. Townships may be stricter, but not looser than counties.
As State and County orders are likely to change again in June, be sure to check these resources frequently:
Leading New York City real estate brokers Brian Meier and Catherine Juracich provide insight on how to move in the current climate
Many families, their housing needs altered by the pandemic caused by Covid-19, may be now considering moving out of high-density urban areas. Brian Meier, a principal of the Meier Estates & Ventures Team at Christie’s International Real Estate’s New York City brokerage, and his colleague Catherine Juracich suggest how it might be done.
Catherine Juracich says she is seeing New York City families with school-age children express a desire to move away. Many of these families send their children to private schools, so they are currently remote learning and feel some uncertainty about whether their children will return to the classroom in the fall. Should they return their children to that distance learning-private school model? That is especially the question in New York City, which has some of the most expensive private schools in the United States.
“Many New York City-based families I know have been living in their second homes or rental properties in areas such as the Hamptons; Martha’s Vineyard; and Palm Beach, Florida, since March,” says Juracich. “For the first time, many have had an opportunity to live outside the city for an extended period. They are seeing the benefits of a family-oriented lifestyle in the suburbs. Some have gone south and have come to appreciate the warmer weather. Others have discovered the wide-open spaces and large estates available in the New York tri-state area and are now looking to relocate to primary markets such as Westchester and Nassau Counties in New York; Northern New Jersey; and Connecticut.”
There’s also the financial component of big city living: “The economic impact of the pandemic has many people concerned financially, and one of easiest ways to cut down on costs as a family is to leave New York City,” Juracich adds.
Brian Meier is talking to brokers outside the city, who say that many families from New York City are leaving in a rush so that they can buy a home now, move in over the summer, and be situated before the new school term begins in September. Meier says, “The issue is how to plan their exit. Should they rent or sell their current property—because we’re in an unprecedented economic environment.”
Do I Have Enough Time to Move and Settle in Before My Child Starts a New School in September?
In most cases, it’s entirely possible to move before the new school term. Applications to most private schools had deadlines on March 31, but many of them are extending deadlines due to the current situation. If you’re looking to make a move and buy a property in your new location, it could take anywhere from 60 to 120 days to close on a single-family home, which should give you more than enough time to make that move. If you’ve decided to rent a home outside New York City, then this will take even less time. Right now, you do have enough time to move, but come June or July the schools could be full, the real estate inventory in those places may become limited, and you might not have enough time to be settled in that new location.
How Can I Know If I Should Sell or Lease My Home?
Individual circumstances differ. If you don’t need to sell right now, perhaps leasing is a better option. You should consider the type of property. If your decision is purely economic, there are some markets that will fare better than others in the next one to three months. Right now a three-bedroom apartment on the Upper East Side could be very difficult to lease. There are not many people moving into those types of properties, whereas a two-bedroom in Tribeca would be much more desirable. If you are going to lease, you might be looking at a two- to three-year horizon before the property price returns to where you might want to sell . You also have to be able to carry an additional mortgage if you’re financing a new home outside the city. Many lending institutions have put restrictions on mortgages on multiple homes. You have to speak with your financial advisor to understand the cost of those situations so that you can make a decision that is best for you. There are at least two things that will hold people back from selling:
1. If they want to keep a foothold in Manhattan.
2. That they won’t get the sale price they want today.
On this latter point, there is a very good chance that you will sell for more in the next two to four months than you will in the next one to two years if we go into a recession. Based on 9/11 and the financial crisis of 2008, selling a home three months after a crisis was better than nine months after, because the market tails down after a recession.
If I Want to Move in September, When Should I Put My House on the Market?
If you’re thinking of selling, you should put your property on the market a good 60 days before you vacate. It could take three to six months to find a buyer and another three months (between the co-op or condo board and the banks) to schedule a closing. It’s best to have it on the market as soon as possible. Your New York City property may sit vacant for some time, which will bring in costs and upkeep. So for that reason, I would aim to have it on the market sooner rather than later.
“Of course, the realtor has to time the sale with both the current restrictions (not many buyers are in the market now due to the stay-at-home order) and for when those buyers come back to the market, which I project to be in June,” says Meier. Buyers should spend this time talking to their broker, adds Juracich. In a down market, buyers are more particular about any issues with regard to valuations. Ask questions. Is there anything you will need to do to your residence to prepare it for sale?
Another factor to consider is that real estate marketing has changed. Additional steps that need to be taken in the selling process include mapping out a home for a 3D virtual tour and virtual floor plans to complete the marketing. There may be an initial push in the market, with buyers sitting on the sidelines for two to three months anxious to purchase something, and that may cause a fair amount of traffic to sign contracts in the early summer months.
Online traffic at Christie’s International Real Estate’s website is greater now than before the broad stay-at-home orders hit. Many buyers are window shopping, which in any normal year would generally occur in November and December. “Buyers are engaging with us. It’s important to note that the properties on the market that are being browsed today will be the ones that are sold tomorrow,” Meier says.
It is important for sellers to go with a firm that values technology, such as 3D virtual tours. It’s important that realtors are transparent when it comes to projecting valuations, and acknowledge that the art of it remains uncertain.
“I would advise you to put your property on the market by mid-May,” Meier says, “so potential buyers can start seeing the property in June, many of which will have seen the property in a virtual tour. It’s achievable —if you start now.”
When Should I Start Looking for a New Property to Buy or Rent?
Don’t make a move under pressure. Engage now. The busiest buying market in the suburbs is in the summer.
There is a line of communication between realtors that has never been seen before. The community of New York City brokers has come together to promote their properties. There are more realtors and buyers learning about what’s going on in the market. There are panels and news discussions. We are using that world of information to communicate to the real estate and home-buyer community. Realtors are also using grassroots platforms such as real estate vlogs. In fact, we have a Chelsea penthouse listing at the Fitzroy, which we are showcasing on a widely viewed real estate vlog.
What Should I Look Out for When Selling My Property? What Are the Difficulties? How Can I Show My Home in the Best Light?
Currently, it is difficult for sellers in New York City to show their property, and sales transacted virtually have their limitations. While the New York statewide stay-at-home order expires May 15, this may still present challenges for cautious buyers and those traveling from overseas, and this date likely will not apply to New York City. “I don’t see an open house happening in New York City this year. I don’t see an owner wanting 20, 40, 60 buyers walking into their apartment,” notes Meier. We are going to have to work in a “slightly” virtual world, which is good, but it may slow down the process. Going virtual helps buyers to see more properties, and rule out those they are not interested in before having to travel to view them. But it does slow the selling process, and buyers have to be prepared for that.
“Make sure your realtor provides virtual tours. If they can’t give you a virtual tour, it’s a red flag that signals they are not moving with the market. Have your realtor give you a virtual tour, so you can see how they sell in a virtual environment, which they can use as a currency going forward,” Juracich advises. “We’ve seen good virtual tours and bad virtual tours. Not everyone is hiring experts in this field. Many of the free options available are of a low standard,” adds Meier.
Brokers should go with the client on the virtual tour in real time. You can’t forward clients a virtual tour of a 6,000-square-foot townhouse and expect them to figure it out for themselves. You have to walk them through the tour and narrate it for them just as you would in a real-world showing to tell a client in real time about the quality of the finishes, the height of the ceiling, or what the views are like.
The realtor needs to recreate the experience of an actual showing.
What Are the Challenges When Leasing a Home?
Just as with selling, it’s important to choose the right leasing agent. The agent you choose to lease your home will most likely be the one who will sell it. Be as serious about your rental agent as your sales agent: They will oversee the management of your rental property. An experienced team handles around 100 rental properties a year and oversees each rental unit. “We work with buyers, sellers, and homeowners who lease their properties. We help homeowners market their property, run background checks on tenants, manage the rental during the duration of the lease, write leases and renewals, and assist with move-ins and move-outs,” says Meier. A good broker will provide a road map for each avenue, whether leasing or selling, including the tax benefits and ramifications, and all the factors that help them make the decision that is right for them. A good broker will focus on what their client is looking for and help them to understand the full horizon.
How Can I Show My Home at All Given That In-Person Showings Are Not Allowed? Is There a Way Someone Can See it Without Coming to the Building?
In New York City, showings will most likely commence in June. Meanwhile, we are increasingly reliant on new technology, especially the agent-guided virtual tour.
What’s Different About the Virtual Tour and How Are You Using It?
You don’t have direct eye contact, you’re sharing a screen. It’s a new forum. It’s not something you may have talked to a realtor about before. And some realtors may not be comfortable using the technology. For the immediate future, we are going to be living in a partial virtual tour reality of real estate showings. Some buyers enjoy virtual tours; for example, they like the measuring tool, being able to go back to view the tour privately, or seeing five properties in an hour. It’s a particularly strong benefit for overseas clients. We also do about five Zoom calls a day with our clients and our brokerage team. Virtual tours also work well for rentals; many will be rented sight unseen, because it’s less of a commitment.
How Is the Market Looking Now for Buyers and Sellers? Do You Foresee Any Market Correction in the Near Term?
Things are uncertain. No one knows for sure what the market will do, but if you look at the circumstances from previous downturns there are suggestions. Based on previous downturns, such as the financial crisis of 2008, we can speculate that there could be a price correction of between 1 percent or 30 percent. Both buyers and sellers want to wait to see what it will be before they make their move. Sellers don’t want to sell at a 20 percent discount if the discount is only going to be 5 percent; buyers don’t want to buy at a 5 percent discount if it’s going to be 20 percent. The factors that are causing that have yet to be fulfilled. These are unprecedented times and we are still in the midst of it. If the stay-at-home order continues and unemployment grows, then that reduction in value is going to keep growing. If we’re back in our offices in June, and the economy gets rolling, then the recovery could be a V rather than a U-shaped curve. However, one thing we do know is that during uncertain times, it is a great time to buy. This summer market will be better than six months from now.
It’s a good time to rent or buy in New York City. If you’re liquidating, and you’re buying something for a lower value outside the city, it’s a great time to use that money to buy something smaller to keep a foothold in the city. Meier says, “One of my clients is currently looking to buy an apartment for his son who wants to go to New York University—in six years’ time (his son is 12 years old). The market will rebound, and in six years that apartment will be 50 percent more expensive than it is now.”
Have You Closed Any Sales in the Last 30 Days?
Our team has had three listings close in the last 30 days. There have been a few New York City homes that closed in the last month. Most, however, were in contract before New York’s statewide stay-at-home order went into effect on March 22. Since then, we have had three to four signed contracts.
Can the Selling Process Be Completed Going Forward?
Every week the process gets easier. While we can’t guarantee it, by the time you want to sell your property, we should be closer to normal.
Telluride high school seniors will take the gondola for graduation Thursday
Thanks to The Daily Planet and Leslie Vreeland, Contributing Editor
The pandemic has stolen many things, beginning with 81,000 U.S. lives and counting.
One thing it will not get the better of in Telluride — not this year — is anybody’s graduation memories. Telluride Middle/High School Principal Sara Kimble and school district superintendent Mike Gass have seen to that.
Kimble and Gass and a few colleagues were determined to make this year’s graduation ceremony not only a happy one for seniors — something it routinely is, anyway — but memorable in a good way. This was a big ask in this unprecedented time, and accordingly, Gass and Kimble’s ambitions were sky high. They were also cognizant of social distancing restrictions.
“We knew groups of no more than 10 people could gather,” Kimble said. “At first, we thought that the ski area’s chairlift” might somehow be involved.
“But we couldn’t really wrap our minds around how that would work. Then someone mentioned the gondola. And we realized, wait a minute: That’s an enclosed space! We reached out to Jim Loebe (Transit & Recreation Director for the Town of Mountain Village), and it all came together.”
In perhaps another example of this singular time, Loebe was in Zoom meetings all day Thursday and could not comment for this story.
But others praised his work turning a pipe dream into reality.
On Thursday, the Telluride High School Class of 2020’s graduation ceremony will take place. “It’s actually like 66 separate ceremonies,” Kimble said — one for each member of the graduating class. Each grad will be accompanied by members of their immediate family in a separate gondola car, which will travel from Mountain Village to the San Sophia Station. Once there, the group will disembark, and the graduate will be awarded their diploma and congratulated by Gass and Kimble.
The gondola car will be disinfected, the group will climb back in, and (five minutes or so later) another group will arrive in a separate car at San Sophia station, for a whole new ceremony.
Kimble estimates the entire event will take about six hours, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“Hopefully the town will pipe in (the celebratory musical selection) ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ the whole time,” she said. “We’re working on that.”
It will be a most unusual day — Megan Murphy will make and donate “Miner Masks” for all to wear — with the vehicle of choice Telluride’s most iconic conveyance, offering views of jagged 14ers and the Town of Telluride, far below (try taking all that in in a car).
“It’s a cool idea, and kind of outside the norm,” said Mountain Village Deputy Chief of Police Joel “BB” Burk, who is coordinating security for the event.
“Our current pandemic situation,” as Burk put it, “made for a very challenging graduation ceremony, so somebody was really thinking out of the box to come up with this scenic spot.”
San Miguel County Health Department Director, Grace Franklin, who approved the safety protocols to be put in place next week but does not plan to attend any of the 60-or-so individual ceremonies or, for that matter, even to be around at all (hovering “is not my style,” she said) called her role “straightforward.”
“We have to adhere to state as well as county orders for social distancing, which are really strict,” she said. “It’s hard, because you have to balance all these pieces: these students were (potentially) missing out on a huge milestone, but you have to protect them from this virus. It’s been amazing to see the community come together in such a great way.”
Telski CEO Bill Jensen put it down to the ultimate executional prowess of one man.
“Jim was the driver and creator of this,” Jensen said. “Telski is fully supportive, and thinks it’s a wonderful idea. I commend him, and the Town of Mountain Village. Ten or 40 years from now, these grads can talk about a very unique ceremony” that took place in a uniquely unhappy time.
“In this day and age,” Jensen said, “that’s something special.”
Telluride, Colorado acted quickly to test the community and get coronavirus under control, but bringing back tourism dollars is a long-term challenge with no easy solutions. Thank you #washingtonpost and #robertray for coverage. Although the news might not be the best, take a virtual and aerial tour of our beloved #Telluride until we can welcome you back to our streets and trails again soon. #wewillovercome
These are uncertain times, yet the real estate market’s high points during the past three months are positive indicators that Telluride, Mountain Village and San Miguel County will still be a good place to buy and sell throughout 2020 and beyond.
Broadly speaking, invest in the west is good advice. In particular, people who live in and near the San Juan Mountains area are blessed that their property is surrounded by acres of national parks, national forests and other public lands. In this area there is a shared spirit of community, gratitude and respect by the people for the abundant wildlife and wilderness areas where we are but visitors.
Landowners in the San Miguel County region have a special opportunity and responsibility, enhancing the spiritual and physical health of the people who visit or are blessed to live in the area. Check out the offerings on our website and let your mind dream about what one day could be your own little corner of the west. We love to get creative with our clients!