SOUTH FORK — The South Fork Town Board hosted an informational meeting for the public to introduce a conceptual proposal for a small home development project.
Travis Steffens, owner of R Investments, was the keynote speaker during the presentation and gave a brief background to begin the informational meeting.
Steffens has spent the past several years developing a real estate company known as R Investments that works in what is considered dilapidated communities to revive and strengthen the homes there. R Investment helps fund the projects in these “Opportunity Zones” and works with local homeless populations to help provide education in trade employment.
In recent years, Steffens and his team changed directions and began to focus on rural areas that were in need of workforce affordable housing. Having grown up on a ranch outside of Monte Vista, Steffens felt a personal need to bring this to South Fork.
“In the last 10 years or so this community as well as others began to decline and as I look around and talk with business owners, one solution we can see is to fix the need for workforce and affordable housing,” he said.
Steffens explained that their initial goal was to use property that they purchased on the east side of town where the old sawmill was to build a small home community or village, as he referred to it, called Timbermill Crossing.
Steffens began conversations with members of the town council and other key players in February of this year and had only now gone public with his intentions.
The community would consist of several small homes, similar to tiny homes in a way, on separate lots that would be about 600 square feet with the ability to expand if needed. Though most of the details on the project were still underway, Steffens wanted to inform the community of their thoughts and the direction the project may go.
Several community members and business owners voiced concerns about the proposal including whether or not the homes would bring in funding sources for the town, provide a tax base for emergency services and allow for more use of Airbnbs in the area, which has already become an issue for several lodging businesses and homeowners.
Steffens stated this project would help limit Airbnbs but that he would not request a moratorium of Airbnbs from the homeowners. Steffens said they would begin with an initial 100 homes built on trailers that would meet state building codes, fire codes on commercially zoned land. The homes are built as 100-year homes, if well cared for, and will be built to the highest standards while keeping the cultural, historical and small-town value of South Fork in mind.
Steffens will bring more definitive plans back to the community and the board.