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During the Sept. 10 Buena Vista Trustees meeting, Mayor Duff Lacy facilitated a discussion regarding municipal-owned real estate, as a potential avenue for adding workforce housing within town limits. An appointed committee of staff and subject-matter experts reviewed more than 80 acres in eight parcels of land owned by the Town of Buena Vista.

Recently the board showed interest in understanding what lots were owned by the town and the potential opportunities for those lots. Chaffee County Director of Housing Becky Gray participated in the review and presented an update on that request.

Gray outlined an agenda regarding the town’s real estate holdings:

  1. Identify the opportunity
  2. Review the Community Plan to make sure it aligns with what’s been adopted in terms of the community vision.
  3. Review data and needs for the town
  4. Review the parcels themselves
  5. Determine next steps

A steering committee was convened and met three times between April and September. In addition to site review of the parcels, the committee also reviewed housing data and requested information on economic, market and population data.  In addition, data from the community vision was sought to create actions more likely to be embraced by the town.

The parcels were all reviewed and placed in one of two categories. A “Tier 1” category indicates where the infrastructure is immediately adjacent or “on deck” and the lots are actionable. A “Tier 2” category designation indicates where significant infrastructure activities are needed before any action can be taken.

Three lots were identified in the Tier 1 category. Gray then reviewed specific information on each of those lots, including the size, location, zoning, infrastructure, assessed value and market value.

The committee then suggested possible scenarios for the parcels:

  1. Sell all lots, cash out and reinvest money somewhere else
  2. Sell smaller lot(s) and use the revenue to invest in infrastructure for other lots
  3. Donate to an entity for their needs
  4. Define desired outcomes and issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) to developers (for housing, childcare, co-housing for seasonal help, or other essential needs)

The committee suggested to the board that the next steps should include speaking to constituents while considering the town’s future needs and long term financial commitments. Once that is complete, the committee recommends convening another work session with more data, offering additional use scenarios.

Lacy kicked off the meeting with a proclamation, recognizing Annie Davis, for five years of faithful years of service as an active member of the Buena Vista Planning and Zoning Commission. During her just-completed service, she helped the town adopt unified development codes to replace outdated and inconsistent regulations for land use matters.  Davis is now stepping down to begin a new adventure.