City Council discusses potential impact of large housing proposal in west Steamboat Springs
Steamboat Springs — The Steamboat Springs City Council on Tuesday expressed concern about the impact a major development proposal for up to 1,600 new housing units on the west end of town would have on a city staff that is already struggling to keep up with the developments they already have on their plate.
“Our resources are already stretched as it is,” Councilman Jason Lacy said.
The council had just heard about complaints that centered on how long some development review processes were taking, including on the new Sunlight Subdivision on the west end of town.
But after a lengthy discussion about the toll a new large development could take on city resources, the council made it clear it doesn’t want to shut the door on such a big housing opportunity.
They directed city staff to investigate how much it will likely cost for city staff to put in the research time for such a large development.
Council members appeared open to taking on the extra effort if the developer would split the cost of staff time.
Brynn Grey, the real estate development company that is pursuing the development of several neighborhoods on the former Steamboat 700 parcel, had offered to reimburse the city $50 per hour of staff time upon approval of an annexation agreement.
Several council members said they would want the reimbursement for staff time to happen regardless of whether an annexation agreement was reached.
Council President Walter Magill suggested the city be reimbursed monthly. He also expressed strong support for the developers continuing to pursue the housing project.
“You can’t close the door on opportunity,” he said.
The council will consider approving a memorandum of understanding with the developers at a Sept. 6 meeting.
Magill predicted the planning process would take 14 months and end with a public vote on the annexation of the new housing developments.
Representatives from Brynn Grey also floated the idea of proactively taking the housing proposal to voters instead of waiting for citizens to pursue a ballot initiative.
Steamboat voters rejected the annexation of a development on the Steamboat 700 site in 2010.
David O’Neil, of Brynn Grey, said he senses the community’s appetite for a development like the one his company is proposing is stronger than the previous proposal.
“I think a lot has changed in the last eight years,” he said.
The developers envision their housing plan will take 30 years to fully realize, with an estimated 25 to 40 homes going up each year.
If the council is agreeable to a pre-annexation agreement, Bryn Grey plans to hold monthly work sessions to address a wide range of issues surrounding the potential annexation.
The work sessions would kick off Sept. 20, with a discussion about water impacts, and end in March, with a discussion about financing mechanisms.
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