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Town of Estes Park introduces new housing option for seasonal workers this summer

Estes Park sign
Posted at 3:50 PM, May 13, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-13 17:50:20-04

LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. — Estes Park has approved a new housing option for seasonal workers this summer, the town announced on its Facebook page.

For one year, Estes Park will test out letting some people use RVs or other similar vehicles as temporary lodging on their employer's property. The pilot program is being called the "Vehicle-Based Accommodation for Seasonal Employees (VBASE).

Businesses that participate must obtain a permit. Interested businesses can apply for one at here.

"Permit requirements include a limit of one VBASE unit per business," the Town of Estes Park said in its announcement. Each unit can house no more than three adults and no more than six people total — to accommodate workers with children.

Units must have access to water, electricity and restrooms, the Town of Estes Park said. However, the rules for the program state, "no generator or other mechanized unit will be used between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m."

The units can't be within 10 feet of a primary business entrance, within a crosswalk or required parking spots. And they can't obstruct pedestrian or vehicular traffic, parking lot traffic, access to public streets, alleys or sidewalks. The RVs or other similar vehicles being used as housing also can't block fire lanes.

"Housing related costs in the Town of Estes Park have escalated rapidly in recent years, as evidenced by median home sales prices rising from $392,000 in March 2020 to $585,000 in September 2022 — a 50% increase in two and a half years," the town explains in town ordinance as basis for the pilot program's necessity. "Whereas, affordability has declined in the rental market as rent hikes outpaced income growth and levels of cost burdens for renters rose from 41% in 2010 to 63% in 2020 in Estes Park according to the 2023 Estes Valley Housing Needs Assessment & Strategic Plan(Assessment)."

The program will last from May 1 to October 31.

Anyone with questions can reach out to planning@estes.org.

This is part of a larger trend among Colorado's mountain cities and towns.

Keystone Ski Patrol moves to unionize

"Keystone ski patrollers face a lack of affordable housing, stagnated wages, and limited resources,” Keystone Ski Patrol Union told our Denver partners in March, pushing employees to try and unionize.

Over the last couple of years, the number of Colorado ski resort workers in a union has almost doubled. Seven resorts across the state — Aspen-Snowmass, Breckenridge, Crested Butte, Loveland, Purgatory, Steamboat Springs and Telluride — are already unionized, mostly through the United Professional Ski Patrols of America union.

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In February, Eldora Ski Patrol joined Colorado’s growing movement.

Ski patrollers aren’t getting compensated enough to stick around from season to season in mountain areas where the cost of living is rising, Nick Lansing, an Eldora ski patroller helping lead the union efforts, told our Denver partners.

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Eldora Ski Patrol joins push to unionize Colorado ski resorts

Angelika Albaladejo
5:45 PM, Feb 05, 2024

Estes Park's approach is unique.

But other towns are trying different ideas to bring more affordable housing to the area — like Vail.

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