Canyons Village workforce housing clears last major hurdle
A major workforce housing project in Canyons Village looks like it’s going to be a reality after a governmental approval Jan. 31, the last significant legislative hurdle in a process that has seen constantly shifting targets and timelines in the 20 years since an initial agreement was signed between the county and the area’s management.
The Canyons Village Management Association plans to build housing for 1,153 workers in 169 units over 7.5 acres of county-owned land where Lower Village Road intersects White Pine Canyon Road, just west of S.R. 224 near the main entrance to Canyons Village.
The developer said the aim is to start building as soon as possible after the snow melts and anticipates a 24- to 26-month construction window that might mean workers could move in during the summer of 2022. The construction is required to be completed by the end of 2023.
County Council Chair Doug Clyde said the deal is “very significant” and that it is consistent with the county’s goals regarding workforce housing and traffic reduction due to its proximity to major transit.
Developer Tony Tyler, a partner at Columbus Pacific, called it a “game changer” for the area and said it wouldn’t have been possible without using county-owned land.
“The most significant part for me is that this project would not happen without a partnership between Summit County, the CVMA and the private sector,” Tyler said. “It really is a true public-private partnership. I think Summit County recognized the benefit they could provide to the county’s employees — specifically seasonal, resort-based employees.”
That’s a sentiment echoed by County Manager Tom Fisher, who added that the money the county is using to purchase the land is coming from an assessment of the property owners in the Canyons development area and that the project is not going to be subsidized by the general taxpayer. The land would be leased to the association for 20 years, at which point the association would take ownership. CVMA is obligated to pay taxes on the improvements.
“I think it’s definitely innovative for this county,” Fisher said. “If you look at the three bases that we have in our county, even go to the other resort bases in the state, there’s nothing really like this right now. Not only is the private industry probably going to be looking at this to see how it works, but I think that there’s going to be some government entities that are going to look at this as well.”
Fisher approved the final site plan after a public hearing last Friday, and he noted that the plan includes an adjacent parcel of land that is contemplated to be used for future workforce housing.
“I think it’s a wonderful thing,” Fisher said. “They’re already planning out into the future that there might be a need for them for business purposes to provide more workforce housing and they’ll have the space to do that. That was an interesting component above the fact that they’re actually developing a few more beds than they were required to in this latest agreement amendment.”
The development has ancillary benefits of removing vehicle trips for workers who would not have to drive to work, and the hope is with transit close by, workers might not need to rely on a car. It also means fewer Canyons Village workers will be looking for housing in the outlying community, officials have said.
Parking requirements are based on the number of units, and plans call for 145 parking spots, or roughly one for every eight residents. There are 789 bedrooms, meaning many would be shared.
The units would be reserved for those making below 80% of the area’s annual median income. In 2017, the income cap for a single person was roughly $58,000, according to the housing agreement. First preference would be given to people who work in Canyons Village full-time, with part-time employees next in line and a system that steps down until other county residents are eligible.
The goal is for 50% occupancy in time for the 2022-2023 winter season.
Canyons Village Management Association has partnered with Columbus Pacific to develop the project. That’s the same firm that’s behind the Pendry Hotel and Apex Park City Residences at Canyons Village.
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It was an important decision since the rest of the talks will be heavily influenced by the processing option selected by the Planning Commission on Wednesday.