Northwest Colorado

Council of Governments


August 2022

From the Director's Desk -

Resort Communities new Crush on Mobile Homes only Goes So Far

Mountain resort communities have had a love/hate relationship with Mobile Home Parks (MHP). For years, the “hate” part derived from two factors. 

One, as a “cash cow” for mom-and-pop owners, and to the consternation of leaders and planners, MHPs rarely “redeveloped,” nor are MHP improved despite communities growing around them.   A misnomer, the units aren’t really mobile, nor are common spaces tended like parks. As for the “home” part, they are pure utility.  Unlike a typical home ownership property, a mobile home is not generating wealth for the tenant, yet often, a MHP is the “highest and best use” of a property for the owner. 

Two, the “look” of mobile home parks is incongruent with expectations for the built environment: OK some would call them ugly when contrasted with nearby Second Home PUDs and in the view corridors of resort guests. Yet the two have a symbiotic relationship. Resorts require armies of cheap labor to operate and MHPs quietly house many more people than most single family homes. The Edwards Mobile Home Park, seen from I-70 over the tops of the red roofs of Lake Creek Apartments, and below the second homes of Cordillera on the ridge above has more residents than the Town of Vail. Throughout 2019, news organizations across Colorado collaborated on a series of articles titled “Parked: Half the American Dream” raising awareness of the issue.  The series is still very much worth the read three strange years later because actions have been taken.

The “love” part is new. I’d like to report that the love has come through a newfound appreciation for racial and socio-economic equity coupled with a warm embrace of the marginal, largely Hispanic populations within many MHPs. Readers of Richard Rothstein’s The Color of Lawwould chastise my wistfulness. And so, it took an economic crisis—for a business owners and community leaders to be so alarmed about the lack of workers and places for them to live--to transcend our snobbery. At all levels, local, state and national leaders are now acutely aware of the lack of workforce housing and are coming around to the utility of MPHs, recognizing some of the unfairness baked into the tenant-investor/owner structures, and making an effort to counter that imbalance. 

At the State, NWCCOG has been following the Colorado Department of Housing’s Rulemaking to solidify the details of HB22-1287 which modifies a bill from the prior session. If you still wish to comment, the deadline for comment is August 23, (subject line Fall 2022 Rulemaking). The Rulemaking Hearing is Sept 30 from 1-4 pm. The Bill takes effect October 1, which is the reason for the accelerated process. Christina Postolowski is the point person at DOH. That state agency is taking a more robust ongoing stance in seeking and addressing tenant complaints at 1-833-924-1147.

At the federal level, on August 11, in a letter urging FHFA to increase tenant protections, two Colorado Senators noted that “manufactured housing communities are one of the last bastions of naturally-occurring affordable housing,” noting that federally backed lending agencies are “failing them.” The letter acknowledges how the federal government has financed owners while neglecting tenant’s rights. 

Mobile home parks punch far above their weight in housing the number of workers as cheaply as they do. 

The parks (not the units) are indeed revenue generators, with ground leases, garnering the attention and often cash offers from Private Equity groups and impact investors. Local leaders have sought additional tools to give tenants and tenant groups a chance to counter those offers. The Colorado Legislature for the past two terms has passed legislation aimed to gather data and leverage from owners through a registration program, better inform and bestow more rights on tenants, and to give tenants more rights in purchasing parks before they fall into the hands of investors. The state also has established a new $150 million revolving fund from which mobile home residents, and recently empowered local housing agencies can purchase MHPs on behalf of tenants.

A January Summit Daily Article explained the plight of 15 families (68 people) living in the D & D MHP in Silverthorne, when developers purchased that land and displaced residents, without compensation, to build a high-density residential project.

In recent years, Pitkin County has purchased trailer parks to preserve the housing stock according to the “Parked” series “435 mobile homes in Pitkin County provide housing for over 1,000 employees and their families” (quote from Patti Clapper, Pitkin County Commissioner and NWCCOG vice-chair). The county continues to work to connect owners of the units with ownership of the ground under them. In other places, the search for profits from institutional investors is taking a toll on local workers, and the business that employ them.

Unlike historic brick buildings or weathered wood, mobile homes don’t weather into a nostalgic patina. In fact, separated from land ownership, the units rarely appreciate. Mobile home parks are only increasing in value for MHP owners according to RMPBS.  With expertise, such as NWCCOG’s Energy Program, Mobile Homes can be made safer and more comfortable when insulated, weather sealed and supplied with an upgraded HVAC system. We meet a lot of extended families with children in that work.

After months of a tenant group working to purchase their park in Dotsero, the Vail Daily reported June 30th that their $5.8 million offer had been rejected. The non-profit Thistle had been assisting the residents in the process. The park is the very same one where NWCCOG Energy Program has been upgrading units this past year in cooperation with Eagle County through the BEECH program and is positioned to improve many more. 

The Vail Daily article notes that the new owner of the Dotsero Mobile Home Park will be required to keep the park “as is” for one year after the purchase per state law and will be required to notify residents of their plans. They will not be responsible for those displaced if it comes to that. For now, intentions of the incoming owners remain unknown, though the representative from Thistle was quoted as saying that “the owner likely intends to build townhouses on the property.” If that is what occurs, neither the state, nor Congress, will be able to do much for the displaced tenants who will own homes that would again need to be mobile, if they are actually mobile still, and if they had a place to move them.  

Turns out it is extraordinarily difficult to get a new mobile home park approved these days.

Jon Stavney

Executive Director - NWCCOG

Community Collaboration to Connect

Rural Colorado

In an August 9, Government Technology Webinar sponsored by Ciena, moderated by Bob Wooley, Senior Fellow for the Center of Digital Government, a panel discussion was presented with Daniele Loffreda, Senior advisor, SLED & Healthcare with Ciena Solutions Development, Nate Walowitz, Regional Broadband Program Director NWCCOG, and Jon Stavney, Executive Director NWCCOC to describe their quest to provide broadband solutions in Rural Colorado.

Project THOR, managed by Walowitz was born out of the need to provide reliable, affordable, available, redundant internet services to rural communities in the NWCCOG region. The driving force for each community was different – whether it was to provide services to essential entities – like hospitals, police, fire departments and governments, to retail and restaurants to provide reliable access to credit card services, to educational entities to connect curricula from outside the community, and finally to homes providing connectivity to watch favorite streaming programs or to facilitate remote work. The primary reasons for each rural area were often different, but the result was the same – they all needed reliable, affordable, redundant technology to improve economic development, government communication and quality of life.

Additionally, each location – either county-wide or town, that is served by the project, had different infrastructure, different priorities, and different levels of financial commitment. The number of partners that ended up being involved to solve these problems were numerous and communications were complex. Walowitz remarked “Each solution is as unique as each community. Project THOR supports each unique plan.”

Because each community had a different level of infrastructure and sometimes turf issues to protect, some even viewed project THOR as direct competition – all of which made the relationship-building necessary to the success of the project, that much more delicate and important. Stavney went on to explain, “Portability and quality of service was spotty in the same community. A single point of failure could keep them from participating in the modern world. Economics ,education, government can be taken out for a long time – so we needed a way to make it resilient – more sophisticated. The main thing we tried to solve was to give them reliable, robust, affordable, internet throughout their rural communities.”

The Department of Local Affairs DOLA provided the bulk of the funding for the project on a 50/50 match, Walowitz, was responsible for bringing all the parties to the table at the right time to develop the right solutions for each individual entity. Along with leadership from the NWCCOG, Ciena Solutions Development helped to engineer the designs of the network taking into consideration the differences in each area.

The result is that there is now a 400+ mile fiber ring in the NWCCOG Region that ensures the customers will have the reliability, availability, and redundancy at affordable prices, and with a high enough bandwidth to ensure business, government, healthcare providers, merchants, students, and residents have the capabilities to satisfy their need for highspeed internet.

The entire webinar can be viewed here.


City of Aspen

City of Glenwood Springs

Clear Creek County in two locations

Town of Eagle

Town of Breckenridge (host Summit County)

Summit County (Frisco campus)

Town of Vail

Northwest Colorado Broadband (Routt County)

Middle Park Health (Granby and Kremmling)

Rio Blanco County in Meeker

Yampa Valley Electric Association in Craig 


•Over 233,191 residents in service area

•23% of the non-front range (rural) population

•4% of the total state population

•2019 DOLA Grant $1 million from the state (startup), and $260,000 for IRU

•2022 DOLA Grant enhancements grant $2.18 M

•Local matching investment startup $1.5M

•I-70 Fiber, 170 miles

•Other Circuits leased, over 450 miles of fiber

Energy Team Tech Training Update

Almost the entire staff of the NWCCOG Energy Program attended the Energy OutWest (EOW) conference in the beginning of August. This year the conference was held at the Gaylord Rockies Resort Hotel and Convention Center in Aurora. EOW is an independent, nonprofit charitable organization devoted to the promotion and advancement of the technical capacity of the region’s energy and environmental services network through education and training in energy conservation, renewable practices, and technologies. Every other year Energy OutWest organizes and delivers a regional conference that features the latest technical and organizational advances in the weatherization profession.

The 5-day conference had 7 different tracks that staff could choose from. There were courses for field staff providing guidance and technical assistance on topics like duct sealing or dense-packing wall insulation. Other courses focused on proper use of diagnostic tools like blower doors and infrared cameras. There was a track for financial management, budgeting, and procurement. Another track focused on new technologies and innovations that may improve the efficacy of the program. The Department of Energy also provided updates and guidance on changes to policy along with forecasting

what the future might look like in weatherization.

Justin Wiseman, from our Energy Program, presented on cold climate air sourced heat pumps. This technology is new to Colorado’s weatherization program and thanks to Justin and his crew, the NWCCOG Energy Program has installed more of these units than the rest of the state combined.

There was also a session called “Stranger than Fiction: Stories from the Field”. Attendees were encouraged to recount strange experiences they have had on the job. Our Energy Program staff told 3 stories. One of our staff talked about getting viciously attacked by a dog. In another story, one of our clients offered to make lunch for the staff and still served up the casserole after the Pyrex lid exploded in the oven forcing our overly polite staff to chew carefully and spit out shards of glass. Finally, there was the time a client was cleaning his shotgun at the kitchen table and blasted a hole in his ceiling while our crew was up in the attic.

It’s a testament to the challenges weatherization employees face that almost getting shot in a guy’s attic didn’t win the best story award.

Vintage Community Conversations

Vintage, your local Area Agency on Aging, and our partners are bringing residents and stakeholders together to discuss how to better support active and healthy aging for all in our communities. Join us for both virtual and in-person Community Conversations to share your thoughts on what works well for older adults and what service and resource gaps need to be addressed. Along with geographically and subpopulation-based conversations for older adults, we want to hear from informal and family caregiver of older adults.

More information may be found at the Vintage website:

Local Climate Action Plans get Serious in Crested Butte

Allen Best’s publication Big Pivots is reporting that the Town of Crested Butte has just voted to ban natural gas in new construction, making it the first municipality in Colorado to do so. The ban is part of The Colorado Greenhouse Gas Pollution Roadmap adopted in January 2021. The article notes that Berkeley CA was the first municipality to do so in November of 2019 since which time 80 other towns, cities and jurisdictions have followed. Predictably, 23 states, including 5 bordering Colorado have banned such bans on natural gas.  

Next Council Meeting - AUGUST 25, 2022
Full Council Meeting, EDD Board Meeting
Location: Zoom Conference Call, On-site location TBD
Time: Council 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM - EDD 12:30 PM - 2:30 PM
Primary Agenda Items: Strategic planning for 2023; approve 2nd Quarter Financials; approve July minutes