City Council approves $500K from Community Housing Fund for Housing Authority’s next project
Next development will add up to 80 low income housing units
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Members of the Steamboat Springs City Council voted this week to award the Yampa Valley Housing Authority $500,000 for its next housing development in the city.
The approval Tuesday came with a stipulation that the Routt County Board of Commissioners also allocate funds toward the project. The funds would come from the existing Community Housing Fund, which currently has a balance of more than $660,000.
Council President Jason Lacy recused himself from discussion and subsequent vote on the matter as he explained his firm represents the owner of the parcel that the Housing Authority is hoping to develop. That property is located at 400 Anglers Drive, across from the Sundance at Fish Creek retail complex, in Steamboat.
Ahead of discussion on the matter, Kim Weber, city finance director, reviewed requests made by council at the March 10 meeting to explore other options for using the Community Housing Fund.
The first option was for the Housing Authority to partner with UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center to provide affordable housing.
“After a lot of discussion and a lot of work on both sides, Yampa Valley Medical Center declined the proposal,” Weber said.
The medical center cited the need for more flexible sizing of units, be it for one person or a family, but also the inability to reach a return on investment they had hoped for.
Staff then looked into partnering with specific business owners in the community, and “there was no luck on that as well,” Weber said.
Another option was to partner with the Steamboat Springs School District, to engage the district on potential use of its Whistler Park property. Weber said the district showed no interest.
Instead of funding the Housing Authority or its projects directly with cash, another option was to forgive the loan the authority has with the city for the Fish Creek Mobile Home Park.
“It’s important to note that that is enterprise funds, and by forgiving that loan, you would potentially help out the residents of the mobile home park, but it wouldn’t help create new affordable housing as I think is the goal of City Council and these funds,” Weber said.
In exploring those options, it was the staff’s direction that the city fund the Housing Authority’s most recent request to support its 2022 project.
“The need of this type of project is prevalent in our community,” Weber said.
That need was shown in the recent applications for the new Alpenglow development behind Walgreen’s off of U.S. Highway 40. Jason Peasley, executive director of the Yampa Valley Housing Authority, said for the 72 units available in that development — which is expected to be ready in July or August — 390 households have applied for the lottery to secure a unit.
“Seventy-two will get a new home there, and 318 won’t,” Peasley said. “Those 318 are still probably looking for an upgrade in their housing situation.”
It’s the mission of the Housing Authority to continue to build more projects in attempts to satisfy that need, he said.
The Housing Authority has committed to producing 600 affordable housing units over the next decade. It is Peasley’s goal to fill up the organization’s pipeline of projects and keep delivering supply.
The newest project on Anglers Drive will be funded through a mix of federal tax credits, state investment, debt/equity and local investment. The Routt County Board of Commissioners voted Thursday to approve an allocation of $94,000 to help fund the project.
A key to the Housing Authority’s success is its ability to leverage local funds to access state and funding sources, Peasley said.
It is another public-private partnership with Overland Property Group, which partnered with the Housing Authority on previous housing projects such as Alpenglow and The Reserves.
With roughly a $25 million price tag, the project will house 80 units targeted at households making 30% to 80% of the annual median income. Construction would begin in 2021 with expected unit delivery in 2022.
The property is already under contract by the Housing Authority, according to Peasley.
The $500,000 in funds granted by the city would be used to either offset water and sewer tap fees or to offset the cost of meeting the city’s multi-family design standards.
To reach Bryce Martin, call 970-871-4206 or email bmartin@SteamboatPilot.com.
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