A month in, Brown Ranch focus teams have several key meetings ahead | SteamboatToday.com
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A month in, Brown Ranch focus teams have several key meetings ahead

The Brown Ranch is a 536-acre property to the west of Steamboat Springs purchased by the Yampa Valley Housing Authority with a $24 million anonymous donation.
Yampa Valley Housing Authority/Screenshot

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify that Yampa Valley Electric Association has capacity for more homes in its coverage area, but the area near the Brown Ranch is limited and would need more infrastructure to accommodate the development.

Five focus teams for the Yampa Valley Housing Authority’s Brown Ranch project have been wading into key issues about the development for about a month now with some interesting revelations.

One of those is that getting water to the 536-acre property doesn’t seem to be as big of an issue as once believed it would be. Instead, figuring out electricity for the development may be trickier, said Shelia Henderson, community engagement lead on the Brown Ranch project.



“Yampa Valley Electric only has the capacity for 15 more homes outside the city limits so what are we going to do with that?” Henderson asked, referring to the limited capacity in that area YVEA serves and options to expand electrical infrastructure. “Are we going to do our own micro grid inside the property? … There’s a lot of different energy ideas on the table.”

Note: Each meeting has both in person and virtual options. To find Zoom links to meetings, visit BrownRanchSteamboat.org

Infrastructure:

– Noon to1:30 p.m., March 3, 443 Oak Nonprofit Center

– Noon to1:30 p.m., March 17, 443 Oak Nonprofit Center

– Noon to1:30 p.m., March 30, 443 Oak Nonprofit Center

Urban Design:

– 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., March 9, Steamboat Springs Community Center

– 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., March 23, Steamboat Springs Community Center

– 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., March 30, Steamboat Springs Community Center

Natural and Built Sustainability:

– 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., March 15, Steamboat Springs Community Center

– 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., March 29, Steamboat Springs Community Center

Housing and Nonresidential Demand:

5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., March 7, Steamboat Springs Community Center with Stewardship and Project Economics team

– 5:30 to 7 p.m., March 21, Steamboat Springs Community Center with Stewardship and Project Economics team

– 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., March 28, Steamboat Springs Community Center with Stewardship and Project Economics team

Stewardship and Project Economics:

– 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., March 2, Steamboat Springs Community Center

– 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., March 7, Steamboat Springs Community Center with Housing and Nonresidential Demand team

– 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., March 16, Steamboat Springs Community Center

– 5:30 to 7 p.m., March 21, Steamboat Springs Community Center with Housing and Nonresidential Demand team

– 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., March 28, Steamboat Springs Community Center with Housing and Nonresidential Demand team

This is one of the issues the Brown Ranch’s Infrastructure focus group will delve into on Thursday, March 3, Henderson said. By the end of this week, each of the five groups will have met at least three times and will be getting to the center of some of the most important issues.



In mid-April, Henderson said consultants working with these groups would come back with “very big-picture choices” to discuss. These choices would include the numbers of units, various affordability levels, what types of housing will be built as well as non-residential land uses for things like grocery stores and open space.

This would likely lead to another significant community presentation similar to a series of events held at the end of January, she said.

But between now and then, Henderson said, the focus groups still have a lot to do, and that there are several key meetings coming up.

On Wednesday, March 2, the Stewardship and Project Economics group will meet with one of the project consultants, Willa Williford, to discuss potential ideas to keep things affordable, like deed restrictions or a community land trust.

Locally the housing authority manages about 100 deed-restricted properties — which have occasionally been controversial — but Henderson said similar models have also been really effective at keeping housing affordable in other communities.

Starting on Monday, March 7, the stewardship group will hold a series of its meetings with the Housing and Nonresidential Demand team, where they will advance discussions of what the make-up of housing will look like at the Brown Ranch.

Henderson said many of the consultants have suggested a plethora of rental units but they have also consistently heard from the community that they want units to be available for purchase, with multiple levels of housing that allow people to move up.

The Brown Ranch Steering Committee is also weighing what the definition of workforce would be for the project. This is important because many see Brown Ranch as a solution to local workforce housing issues.

“Does that include location-neutral, does that include people with corporations here but that don’t work for community organizations?” Henderson asked. “It’s up to the steering committee to try and define that.”


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