Aspen City Council told staff on Monday to create a unique priority system to allow potential buyers, who do not meet the established guidelines, to purchase unsubsidized worker housing units on a first-come, first-serve basis at Burlingame II.
The current system for three-bedroom units gives priority to two people who have worked in Pitkin County for at least four years and have one dependent. Somebody who has worked in the area for less than one year and has no dependents is the least likely to win a unit.
The new priority system would only apply to the six resident-occupied (RO) units, which are the most expensive worker housing at Burlingame II. The affordable housing project will be developed over the next three years and consists of at least 48 new subsidized units and six single-family RO homes.
The RO units will start at 1,600 square feet and cost about $1 million. Most deed restrictions on RO units cap the assets of the property owners at $900,000, and they have no income restrictions. The buyers will still have to qualify through the Aspen/Pitkin County Housing Authority, which requires homeowners to work in Pitkin County for 1,500 hours a year and not own other property in the valley.
There should be some kind of hierarchy for selling the units so that the RO homes aren’t sold to people who just moved to the area, City Council members said.
Still, the bidding process should be lenient enough so that childless couples who are planning to have a family and can afford an RO home will be guaranteed a unit at Burlingame if they commit to it before other three-member families. That would lead to quicker sales, council members reasoned.
Construction on the six units will not begin until after at least two buyers commit to purchase them, according to Assistant City Manager Barry Crook.
City staff will work on the proposed system and present it to council in an upcoming meeting.