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Building more affordable housing

Town of Telluride purchases Norwood parcel with plans to create deed-restricted units

Special Thanks Justin Criado

Norwood parcel

A map of the Norwood parcel Mountain Village recently purchased for an affordable-housing project. (Courtesy image)

The Town of Mountain Village finalized Friday the purchase of a 37.6-acre property in Norwood for affordable housing, town officials explained this week.

“We were very fortunate to be able to work with a flexible seller (HSW Investments LLC) who allowed the town time to work through our due diligence period in one of the hottest real estate markets in recent history,” said John Miller, the town’s community housing program director. “We ultimately were able to come to an agreement to purchase and close on the property, and are overwhelmingly excited to continue to master plan the site and future possibilities.

The town purchased the property at 1545 Spruce St. for $880,000. Mountain Village Town Council unanimously approved the pending purchase during its regular council meeting Thursday. The towns of Mountain Village and Norwood now must work together on annexation and rezoning.

Miller explained that Mountain Village plans to submit applications in January for them to be considered by the Norwood Planning and Zoning Commission and Board of Trustees in February.

“We have been communicating with Town of Norwood staff leading up to the closing on the property and preliminary discussions related to annexation and subdivision into the Town of Norwood via town processes outlined in the Land Use Code. Both the Norwood planning commission and the trustees were made aware of the Mountain Village Council item via email from Norwood staff,” said Michelle Haynes, the town’s planning, development services and housing director. She is also a former Norwood resident and trustee.

While there is still many details to iron out, Miller explained the property could be the future home of between 70 to 100 affordable housing units, which would benefit both towns.

“We anticipate creating a subdivision of deed-restricted, single-family lots with a typical development pattern as seen in adjacent neighborhoods, including streets and alleyways as required by the Norwood Land Use Code,” he said. “We expect future residents would include a mix of people living and working in the R-1 school district boundary, along with Norwood and Mountain Village employees. We recognize that with possible increases in density through the annexation and subdivision process with the Town of Norwood, that there could also be additional needs expressed by the existing Norwood residents, which we look forward to discussing during the subdivision process. We strongly feel that this project presents opportunities not just for additional housing, but also amenities that would assist current residents in a way that is currently lacking.”

The planning process will also include any input from the Norwood community, he added.

“It is really important that both communities understand that our primary driver is to develop housing opportunities, not through the lens of being a developer but through the lens of being a partner with the Town of Norwood,” Miller said. “With this in mind, our aim is largely mission driven, with the hope of making a regional contribution. We look forward to a process with the Town of Norwood, and fully understand it’s a process.”

In creating its own housing authority, Mountain Village is open to exploring opportunities outside of the immediate area, he added, which ultimately led to the Norwood property.

“Town staff and the housing division, in particular, has been very fortunate to have supportive members on Town Council who felt it was very important to not only be searching here in the Telluride region for housing and land banking opportunities, but also Down Valley,” he said. “Given that land and construction costs have exponentially risen in the Telluride area, we felt that this large parcel offered a unique opportunity to provide truly affordable single family homes.”

The Norwood property has two existing, income-generating rentals on the property in an 1,800-square-foor, three-bedroom house 3 and 880-square-foot apartment with a garage.

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