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Living Wisdom Village PUD Process

CPCH applied for Planned Unit Development (PUD) approval with the Town of Crestone in December 2019 to develop multi-unit housing. The CPCH Board reviewed the PUD application with the Town’s Planning Commission in January 2020, who then recommended approval of the application to the Board of Trustees.  CPCH reviewed the PUD application with Town Trustees in January, February and March 2020. The Town Board approved the preliminary PUD plan, with conditions, at its March 2020 meeting. CPCH has one year to present detailed plans, architectural renderings and engineering information to the Town to receive approval of the final PUD plan.

Living Wisdom Village PUD Application


Crestone Peak Community Housing (A Colorado Non-Profit Corporation)


Living Wisdom Village, Elders Creating Community -

Planned Unit Development Application to the Crestone Town Trustees




Saguache County needs housing options for seniors. There is a complete lack of senior independent-living facilities in Saguache County and this market is severely undersupplied in the surrounding Alamosa, Chaffee, Mineral, and Rio Grande counties (San Luis Valley). A Housing Market Study completed for Living Wisdom Village in 2016 reported a demand at that time for 93 additional units in Saguache County, and 422 additional units in surrounding counties. The Study also noted that Saguache County had a 39% increase of 65+ from 2000 to 2010 and has a projected 69% change in 65+ from 2010 to 2030. Analysis of census data for the seven-mile area around the town of Crestone indicates an increase in 65+ persons from 245 in 2010 to 360 in 2017, a 47% increase in seven years.

Many seniors are facing the need to down-size from their current homes and have no need or desire to move into assisted living developments or nursing homes. Others are living in undesirable and/or untenable rental situations, resulting in considerable strain on their financial resources and difficulty in getting their basic needs met. Few, if any, of these people want to leave their friends and community. Seniors can live longer and happier outside of institutions when getting support from the community and from each other. Many seniors don't have family to rely on.


"Aging in Place" is the ability to live in one’s own home safely, comfortably, and independently, irrespective of age, ability level or income. Living in community helps seniors remain independent; walking to the post office, shopping and coffee shops is good exercise and supports increased social interaction. Living close to community helps prevent isolation, which is a cause for anxiety and fear. The opportunity to engage in communal meals with peers supports eating more regularly with a varied diet. It is vitally important to us that our elders have the opportunity to live dignified and engaged lives, remaining physically and mentally active, ensuring they are visible and valued in society, and able to enjoy reciprocal relationships with peers, neighbors, and community members of all ages. It is necessary for elders to remain in community for as long as possible to maintain diversity.

Housing expense has risen drastically in Colorado and it is hard to find rental homes and apartments, especially with the popularity of Airbnb’s. A large portion of the Crestone/Baca community is within a Homeowner’s Association which does not encourage development of one-bedroom homes.

It is significantly more cost-effective for seniors to live independently for as long as possible:
• The average cost of residing in assisted living facilities in the SLV is >$4,000 per month.
• Medicare does not pay for assisted living facilities.
• Costs associated with long-term residence in assisted living are financially unsustainable for many seniors, resulting in total depletion of family assets and eventual dependence on Medicaid.

Crestone Peak Community Housing (CPCH) has been developing the Living Wisdom Village project for several years. This project aims to meet the housing needs of our aging population, where seniors can maximize the quality of their lives in an environment that offers both privacy and community. It is structured to include a balanced range of income and demographic segments of the county.

Living Wisdom Village – Elders Creating Community (LWV) Project Description

The LWV mission statement is: To develop housing for an economically diverse population, within walking distance of the Crestone commercial district, for people 55 and older who are able to live independently.

CPCH is a non-profit governed by local volunteers. Our Board is working to accomplish this housing project on behalf of our friends, neighbors and community members who are struggling to obtaining safe and affordable housing as they are aging. There are already five Crestone/Baca residents who have requested to be put on a waiting list, with completion of the project anticipated 1.5 years from now. CPCH believes that Living Wisdom Village will be fully rented from the day it officially ‘opens its doors’.

In support of this goal, the CPCH Board of Directors has been searching for land as near to the commercial district as possible for more than two years. Large parcels of land rarely go on the market; most of them are passed down to family members. CPCH has contacted every vacant landowner of at least one acre and none of them have been interested in selling their land. The Board has also contacted all landowners whose property abuts the town with the same results. Tract 3 is the first parcel of size that has come on the market, and CPCH has signed a contract to purchase this property.

The CPCH Board anticipates construction of 15 – 20 units, all rentals, with a mix of studios, 1 bedroom and 2-bedroom units. The size guideline CPCH has been working with is: studios ~400 sq. ft; 1 bedroom ~525 sq. ft; 2-bedroom ~ 700 sq. ft. Because the final building model has not yet been selected, a sample rendering of 20 units of 600 sq.ft. each is included in this application to give you a sense of what full build-out could look like. One unit will be used by CPCH as its office and board meeting space. It is crucial that rents be affordable to the local population, which means LWV must be built affordably. CPCH is committed to developing housing that is healthy, durable, sustainable and affordable. Various construction models are being explored, including upscaled shipping containers which meet the highest standards of social and environmental impact, modular construction including Structural Integrated Panels (SIP) and Energy Panel Structures (EPS), and custom building.

LWV will be powered primarily by solar energy. Depending on design options the project may also be able to utilize passive solar options. A small community center of ~800 – 1,000 sq. ft. is planned to provide residents with the opportunity to share meals, socialize, and enjoy enrichment activities; there will be a private room in this building for use by practitioners to assist with health and wellness activities. A small maintenance building will also be constructed.
All funds for this project will be raised through donations and grants. The Colorado Division of Housing, a division of DOLA, will be the largest contributor. Not all Front Range foundations support projects that improve the lives of seniors, but several are interested in helping to accomplish the LWV project. CPCH will possibly have to get a loan to complete construction. Living Wisdom Village will be owned and managed by CPCH.


A Dilemma CPCH is Working with
In order to qualify for grant funds to engage an architect and engineer to assist in planning this project, CPCH must own the land they intend to develop. Per the terms of the land purchase contract, CPCH has until April 30, 2020 to close on the land. The CPCH Board of Directors must be assured that they can develop Living Wisdom Village on Tract 3 before finalizing land purchase.

The Town’s PUD process seems to anticipate development of a city subdivision, surrounded by pavement and cement, funded by investors who have ample money to spend thousands of dollars prior to applying for PUD approval. If CPCH had been able to purchase a half block in the town’s High-Density District, the scope of the LWV project would be a permitted use and the only requirement would have been to apply for building permits.

In the DOLA Affordable Housing Guide for Local Officials there are many suggestions for local government to aid in the establishment of affordable housing in their communities. Some of these are:
• Allow “fast tracking” of planning and zoning approval for affordable housing projects.
• Reduce the impact of regulations on affordable housing.
• Reduce, defer, off-set, or waive development fees for affordable housing.

The Guide also notes:
• Local government’s greatest impact on housing cost is in regulating land use and building standards. It is when a local government includes affordable housing in its long-term development plans that the community achieves the greatest gains in keeping housing affordable to its residents.
• To reduce costs for affordable housing in your community, include the following in your expedited process: building permit, zoning permit, subdivision approval, rezoning, certification, special exception, variance, or any other official action of your jurisdiction having the effect of permitting the development of land.
• Ultimately, development costs are passed on to the consumer as a higher cost per square foot. The higher the cost per square foot, the less affordable the unit.


CPCH not only has to raise funds to pay for land purchase but must also obtain sufficient donations for the cash match required for all grant applications, usually 20 - 30% of the project cost. This is a large project for a local non-profit to complete, but our Board is confident that we can accomplish Living Wisdom Village. The CPCH Board of Directors requests that the Town reduce/eliminate costs, expedite the regulatory process and provide exemptions wherever possible for development of Living Wisdom Village.

Submittal Requirements:

1. Completed “Planned Unit Development (PUD) Application Form”
2. Application fee of $400.00 paid by check to the Town of Crestone. Please note that this fee is non-refundable
3. Application materials (see below). All materials must be submitted by the applicant(s) at least seven (7) days prior to a scheduled Planning Commission meeting

PUD Preliminary Submittal Requirements:

Submit six (6) paper copies and one (1) electronic copy in pdf format of the following at least seven (7) days before a scheduled Planning Commission meeting:
• Written project description that includes, but is not limited to, discussion of all uses within the PUD
• Site plan showing the location of the building(s)
• Existing and proposed topography
• Existing conditions map
• Parking and traffic circulation
• Any proposed landscaping
• Scaled drawings of all building(s) elevations, colored renderings and sketches are helpful for presentation

Submit the application, supporting documents and plans to the Town Clerk at least seven (7) days prior to a scheduled Planning Commission meeting. Confirmation by the Town Clerk that the application has been found to be complete in no way implies that the submitted materials meet the requirements of the ordinances of the Town of Crestone.

The supporting application materials for a PUD preliminary plan shall include the following:

One (1) copy (measuring 24” x 36”) of the preliminary plans for Planning Commission packets at least seven (7) days prior to a scheduled Planning Commission meeting

Existing site map indicating existing structures and their current uses

A site map is included with the application. Tract 3 is currently vacant land with no existing structures.

A written statement of intent containing the following information:

A statement of the present and future ownership and tenancy, and a legal description of the land included in the PUD, including identification of all mortgages, liens and judgments that may affect the site, and easement or covenant restrictions on land use.

The property is identified as Tract 3, Robert S. Philleo Annexation to the Town of Crestone. The land is currently owned by South Crestone Creek, LLC. Crestone Peak Community Housing (CPCH) is under contract to purchase this parcel, with a closing date of April 30, 2020. A title search conducted in November 2019 shows no evidence of mortgages, liens, judgments, easements or covenant restrictions on the parcel. Purchase of this parcel by CPCH is contingent upon obtaining PUD approval from the Town.

A development schedule indicating the dates when construction of the PUD, or stages of development, will begin and be completed.

As soon as CPCH owns Tract 3, grant applications will begin to be submitted to Front Range foundations and DOLA for funding to engage an architect and engineer, both of which will be chosen through an open bidding process. Grant applications will also be submitted for construction, is anticipated to begin and be completed in 2021.

Copies of any special agreements, conveyances, restrictions or covenants which will govern the use, maintenance and/or continued protection of the PUD and any of its common areas

When CPCH has obtained ownership of Tract 3 the Board will discuss the needs for any agreements, restrictions, etc. with its attorney, Thomas Hall, and take recommended actions in this matter.

Written consent from all owners within the PUD, unless an amendment to an existing PUD is sought, in which case proof of written notification to all owners is required

The only owners of Tract 3 are South Crestone Creek, LLC, who have signed a contract to sell the land to CPCH through their agent Stephen Philleo. The CPCH Board of Directors has indicated their consent through a unanimous motion to purchase this property and pursue PUD approval for their project.

An explanation of the objectives to be achieved by the development, including building descriptions, variations in building setbacks, height, parking or other characteristics that are sought, sketches of elevation or other information as may be required by the Planning Commission or the ordinances of the Town of Crestone

The CPCH Board has been aligning with the requirements for High-Density District zoning while considering development of LWV. Parking for both residents, staff and guests will be on-site; setbacks will be a minimum of 24 feet and building height will not exceed 30 feet. Access into the property will be from Lime Avenue. A rendering of a possible development is included with this application. Cluster housing will be most cost-effective and will depend on the housing model chosen by the Board of Directors.

Other information, justification or exhibits deemed by the Planning Commission to be pertinent in evaluating the PUD application.

It would be beneficial to this project if Lime Avenue were paved, a project that has been considered by the Town, County and Charter School for several years. Our understanding is that none of these parties have enough funds to pay for the paving. CPCH proposes a 4-way partnership to accomplish this goal, making it affordable for all parties involved. A paved Lime Avenue would be much safer for the kids, staff and visitors at the Charter School, would decrease maintenance costs for the Town and increase HUTF funds for the Town and County. It would also encourage traffic flow to LWV via Lime Avenue. CPCH has talked with County Commissioner Jason Anderson about this possibility; Commissioner Anderson made no promises on behalf of the County but believes this project could be completed if all parties participated.


Documentation by a licensed engineer(s) describing and/or providing any information on the following:

Soil, geological and groundwater conditions

CPCH requests an exemption to this item.

Commitment from public utility and service agencies, municipal or otherwise, that adequate and dependable water, sewer and fire protection will be available prior to completion of construction.


SLVREC will provide electrical service to the property. Town water and sewer mains are located at the corner of Lime Avenue and Hemlock Street. The property is located within the town of Crestone so will be charged annual fire protection fees.

Traffic analysis indicating anticipated average daily traffic volumes.

CPCH requests an exemption from having to conduct a traffic analysis. The residents of LWV will be all seniors; this population tends not to leave their property daily but instead groups errands and appointments for one or two weekly trips, often car-pooling with friends. Access to LWV via car is anticipated to be the same route as to Crestone Charter School, from Alder to Lime. Many residents will choose to walk into town to conduct business and socialize. The CPCH Board is sensitive to the fact that this land is zoned rural residential and that property owners along Hemlock do not desire an increase in traffic. Residents will be educated on the need to keep traffic on Hemlock to a minimum.

Declaration of nightly rentals, time-sharing units or similar uses.

There will be no nightly rentals, time-shared units or similar uses at Living Wisdom Village.

Basic project data including:

1. Parcel size in gross acres and square feet

Tract 3 is 4.617 acres, ~201,192 sq. ft.

2. Total number, type and density per type of dwelling units and gross residential density

LWV desires to have a mix of housing sizes to include studios, 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom units. The current vision is for 15 – 20 units housing 15 – 25 people.

3. Total bedrooms per dwelling unit type, and total number of parking spaces

Studio units would not have enclosed bedrooms. All units excepting 2-bedroom would be one-bedroom; CPCH anticipates a maximum of four 2-bedroom units, but more likely only 2 of them will be included in the final plan. There will be one parking space per dwelling, with employee and visitor parking accommodated with parking at the community center.

4. Estimated total floor area and breakdown by land use

This question is unclear; we believe it is answered below.

5. Preliminary location and percentage, as well as square footage of building coverage, parking, streets and drives, and open space and landscape area

Based on a preliminary concept of four (4) studios at ~400 sq. ft, fourteen (14) 1-bedroom at ~525 sq. ft, and two (2) 2-bedroom at ~700 sq. ft, total housing buildout would be less than 10,000 sq. ft. The community center will be ~1,000 sq. ft. There is not a plan currently for development of the remainder of the land. During strategic planning and visioning meetings, the Board has discussed to opportunity to develop a fitness path, install benches along walkways, and the provision of a hot tub. All walkways will be finished surfaces, constructed to be safe, easily maintained and sustainable. If the selected housing model does not include washers/dryers for each unit, a small laundry facility may be added to the community center.

6. Preliminary grading and drainage plan prepared and stamped by an engineer licensed in Colorado, which may include:

•Contour map prepared by a land surveyor licensed in Colorado

Contours are included on the Existing Conditions map included with this application.

• Preliminary location of all existing and proposed watercourses, drainage ways, the one-hundred-year floodplain and floodway location and elevation as delineated by the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) Flood Boundary and Floodway Maps

There is a large arroyo running through the property which has been culverted under the existing interior road, shown on the Existing Conditions map. The County Land Use Administrator states that FEMA has not conducted floodplain mapping in Saguache county, so it is not possible to supply this requested information.

• Preliminary location of all proposed streets, drives, parking, buildings and other site improvements

A sample plan of site improvements is provided. When CPCH has chosen its housing model and has ownership of the land, it can engage an architect and engineer to identify and map site improvements. LWV will not require development of any new streets.

• Preliminary location of all on-site retention/detention basins, including volumes of each basin and storm water infiltration system

CPCH requests an exemption to this item.

• If located in a flood hazard area as defined by FEMA, include the preliminary location of all ground-floor, basement and garage elevations of all structures in accordance with the standards set forth by the United States Geological Survey (USGS). USGS data shall be the same as that used for FEMA flood hazard elevations
FEMA has not conducted flood hazard or floodplain mapping in Saguache county.


CPCH requests an exemption to this item.

7. Preliminary architectural elevations and floor plans of all buildings sufficient to convey the basic architectural intent of the proposed development, including the maximum building height of all buildings and architectural overlay including bulk plane, if applicable

The sample renderings provided convey the intent of LWV. The CPCH Board has been referencing High-Density regulations in its planning. Architectural renderings and engineered building plans will be provided when CPCH applies for building permits.

8. Preliminary landscaping plan showing areas, if landscaped, and type and general size of landscaping proposed. Include the location of existing trees with a diameter of six inches (6”) or more for coniferous trees, and three inches (3”) or more for deciduous trees, as measured one foot (1’) above grade. Or if the site is heavily wooded, a photograph or graphic indication on the site plan illustrating the density of the trees will suffice

A plan for landscaping, if any, will be developed when CPCH is working with its architect and engineer. Once of the maps included with this application shows an overhead photo of trees and the existing road.

PUD Final Plan Submittal Requirements

Seven (7) copies of the final site plans printed on paper measuring 24” x 36”, at a scale no less than one inch (1”) equaling thirty feet (30’)
These plans must show the following: the exact locations of lot lines, easements, public rights-of-way, executed easements on dedicated rights-of-way, property or facilities proposed for public ownership or maintenance, and the exact locations of all buildings and structures

CPCH requests a modification to this item. The Existing Conditions Map, included with this application, includes the exact location of lot lines and public rights-of-way; there are no easements to show and no facilities are proposed for public ownership or maintenance. The CPCH Board of Directors proposes that once they have concluded the architectural and engineering phase of this project, that these plans be submitted to the Town for final approval.

Final architectural drawings of all buildings and structures are required in accordance with any architectural overlay, if applicable, or at minimum showing all four elevations and floor plans with gross square footage indicated

The developer shall execute an agreement with the Town of Crestone, in recordable form, providing for the installation, construction and/or completion of site improvements in accordance with the approved plans prior to the issuance of any building permit or certificate of occupancy

If a parcel re-subdivision is proposed with the final PUD plan, a final plat shall be submitted to the town administration that meets the requirements of the Crestone Zoning Code Regulation IX.

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