The planning around the relocation of riverside trailer homes and construction of new affordable housing units on the hillside at Phillips Trailer Park continues for Pitkin County commissioners and staff with a work session set for Tuesday afternoon.
Private consultants contracted by the county, along with the county’s community development department, would like direction from commissioners on options that pinpoint “landing sites” for riverside mobile home tenants. They also are seeking answers as to where to put new affordable housing units that would be built along the hillside above existing hillside dwellings, according to a memorandum from Deputy County Manager Phylis Mattice.
Currently at the trailer park community, about 30 units are located on the hillside, above Lower River Road, and 10 are situated on the riverside off Highway 82. The county has deemed that the riverside units must be removed because they are located within a floodplain, and the idea is to give the residents there the option to move their homes to the hillside, if the homes are movable. Or, riverside residents whose homes are too old or incapable of being moved may be able to purchase new or used trailer homes and gain a new spot on the hillside, according to numerous discussions that have been occurring for nearly two years.
Once the question of locations are decided for the mobile home relocations and new housing units, the county will look to start the process of applying for state and federal funding that can offset part of the overall project’s cost. The county purchased the 65-acre trailer park for $6.5 million in early 2018 from the family that owned it for generations to preserve it as affordable housing, with the understanding that it would need considerable redevelopment due to infrastructure issues on both sides of the river.
“The intention is for commissioners to resolve site planning in order to allow pursuit of grant funding for infrastructure and initiation of land use processing. Specifically, the BOCC will be asked to select from three site plans and to approve a parcel layout for the property so that those may be presented to community development staff at a pre-application [grant funding discussion] in August,” the memo says.
In addition at Tuesday’s meeting, which starts at 1 p.m., commissioners will be presented with information about the results of the debris flow study at the site and the mitigation proposed to deal with that flow, the memo says.
Consultants involved in the project include DHM Design and planner Robert Schultz, both of Carbondale. Their presentation will also include input from Habitat for Humanity, a potential partner for development of new units, the memo states.
The first option, one that has already gained preference among some commissioners and labeled the “approved plan” (although final approval has yet to occur), keeps 29 existing units on the hillside intact. Ten units would be relocated and 18 new units would be constructed for a total of 57 total units. The plan involves constructing and improving 2,806 feet of roads.
All of the housing would be on the hillside, but on both sides of Lower River Road. Riverside homeowners would get options to move their trailers closer to the river, within the middle of a small agricultural field and existing ranch house, than they would with the other two options. In addition, this option builds units into a steeper slope area on the hillside than the other options.
The second option, or the “triplex plan,” provides for all of the new construction and new mobile homes spaces to be located above Lower River Road (on its eastern side) with minimized impacts to the larger agricultural field upvalley of the new housing, the memo says. Multifamily buildings would be constructed further upvalley in an area that is less steep than the downvalley area of the park. Like the first option, the plan calls for keeping 29 hillside units intact, relocating 10 units and constructing 18 new units for a total of 57.
The third option, the “quadplex plan,” seeks to optimize constructability at the site and includes a fourplex building configuration that was suggested by Habitat for Humanity, the memo states. While 29 units would be kept intact and 10 homeowners would be relocated, as with the other two options, the plan allows for 20 new units for a total of 59.
The memo adds that six mobile units in the riverview have been identified as being a priority to be relocated or removed. The number of 10 units to be relocated was explained as those aforementioned six units, plus an opportunity for one cabin on the riverside and two units found to be at risk on the hillside debris-flow area to be relocated.
“If one of the proposed site and parcel plans is acceptable to the BOCC, staff would direct the DHM planning team to initiate a pre-application conference with community development staff and Project Moxie [a grant funding consultant] to pursue funding based on the chosen plan,” the memo adds.
An approved site plan and known land use process is needed in order to advance the project initiatives. “Resident communication has been ongoing and special consideration is always being given to the residents in areas imminent for relocation,” the memo concludes, adding that another work session will be held in August “to advance policy questions about relocation issues.”