Vail Housing Director to Present in Truckee Oct. 18

When it comes to local achievable housing, new ideas are welcome, but time-tested housing practices that have delivered proven results are equally valued.

Why reinvent the wheel — or, in this case, why reinvent housing policies and practices that have served other communities well?

With that in mind, the Mountain Housing Council of Tahoe Truckee has invited Vail Housing Director George Ruther to Truckee to speak on housing. Ruther is the Town of Vail’s newly appointed housing director and long-time community development director.

His appointment to a position solely focused on housing represents a new commitment by the Town of Vail to tackle the issue of housing affordability in the Colorado mountain town. That commitment is already paying off, with 183 deed-restricted local housing units on the books in 2017.

Ruther will share what has worked in Vail, which could be a blueprint for certain Truckee and Tahoe housing policies and programs. To learn more about housing programs in Vail and George go to:

The event will be held  11 a.m. on Oct. 18 at 11012 Donner Pass Road in Truckee. Learn more and register for the event here.

Housing Costs 101

Ask 10 people what drives housing costs out of reach of many families and you will likely get 10 different answers.

KQUED recently published a more in-depth look at what is driving California’s housing prices, highlighting five main drivers of the Golden State’s sky-high real estate valuations.

The article is enlightening because it shows the complex array of issues housing advocates face as they work to make more of the state’s housing stock attainable to local families.

The Mountain Housing Council is deeply involved in confronting these challenges. From advocating for more streamlined permit processes to encouraging secondary units as a way to bolster housing supply, we know that many simultaneous efforts, not one single solution, is the key to addressing the housing crisis we face.

Read the KQUED article here, and stay tuned for Mountain Housing Council’s policy recommendations and other innovative solutions to make housing accessible to local families and workers.


How Modular Construction Can Unlock More Achievable Local Housing

Until recently,  homes had traditionally  been constructed one way — stick built from the ground up.

This tried-and-true building method has its benefits like complete customization, but it also has several drawbacks. Construction is often halted by weather, especially in a wildly variable environment like North Tahoe-Truckee where construction can drag on for several building seasons as crews wait for each stage of the building to be completed before the next stage can begin.

Each delay or complication adds cost to an already expensive process, increasing the final home or apartment’s price tag and making it difficult for local families to afford a new home.

That entire building process is being re-imagined. Builders can now construct parts of a project in a factory and assemble them on-site to shorten the building process and reduce costs, sometimes dramatically.

This new building method is called modular construction and its popularity is growing rapidly.

Modular housing should not be confused with manufactured housing. Manufactured housing is subject to federal guidelines while modular housing has to comply with state and local housing requirements such as snowload building standards.

In modular construction the pieces of the building are constructed in a controlled factory environment, reducing construction costs by as much as 15-20 percent or more. While there is still site work to be done to combine the modular pieces into a completed project — set them on the foundation and complete finish work — this construction method streamlines the process significantly.

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North Tahoe-Truckee has seen a number of modular housing projects including the Hopkins Village project in the Martis Valley. Hopkins Village was built by Craftsman Homes based in Sparks, Nevada. The pieces of the project were trucked in during the winter, dropped onto the foundations, and then the roofs were craned into place.

That process took weeks instead of months, especially in the middle of winter,” said Lori Young, sales manager for the homebuilder.

The handsome townhomes now sit occupied in the Martis Valley, an example of how the construction phase of a project can move swiftly even during difficult building conditions.

“The affordability and the build time — those are the two [advantages to modular housing]. People can’t wait for two years for a contractor to build them a home,” said Young.

As North Tahoe-Truckee seeks more ways to expedite achievable local housing solutions, we will continue to see modular housing methods become key to getting more of our local families in homes they can afford.