City Council FYI: West Steamboat Neighborhoods annexation
While Steamboat Springs City Council has tackled many contentious and difficult issues over the past year, no item has taken as much time or is likely to generate as much debate as the proposed annexation of what is known as West Steamboat Neighborhoods.
Given that council is expected to hold the first reading of the ordinance regarding this annexation Jan. 8, followed by the second reading on Jan. 22, I thought it would be appropriate to highlight the basic facts of what this annexation proposes. With that said, here are the main pillars of the proposed annexation at the current time.
- Housing: Brynn Grey, the proposed developer of West Steamboat Neighborhoods, has outlined three different neighborhoods, totaling 450 homes, to be constructed over the course of the development. Of these homes, 108 would carry workforce deed-restrictions and would have a Routt County residency and work requirement to be eligible to buy. As a method to attempt to maintain longer-term affordability, these homes would have an appreciation cap of 3 percent or the increase in average median income, whichever is higher. In addition, Brynn Grey is proposing to give land to the Yampa Valley Housing Authority to construct up to 50 units for lower-income individuals.
- Water: In addition to paying customary water tap fees for each house, Brynn Grey is proposing to pay into a $4.6 million Water Firming Fund by providing $292,000 up front and an additional $15,000 paid as each house is sold over time. One item of concern that I have heard is that we may not have enough water resources to meet the need of this development. City staff has researched this issue and concluded that the city currently has enough water resources to meet full build out of the current city limits as well as this annexation. The Water Firming Fund dollars would be used to firm up additional supplies over and above the city’s current water portfolio.
- Sewer: Similar to water, all homes will be required to pay customary sewer tap fees to obtain a certificate of occupancy. Future plant build out for sewer needs is accounted for as part of these tap fees.
- Roads: It is obvious that adding up to 450 homes to the west end of Steamboat will have an impact on our road system which will require various upgrades to properly serve the community. However, it’s important to keep in mind that 450 homes will not come at once, but occur over 16 to 20 years. Therefore, we have negotiated a Transportation Firming Fund in the amount of $3.5 million which will be paid over the project timeframe with $292,000 upfront and $11,000 as each home is sold. These monies will assist the city in working with CDOT and other organizations to provide necessary road improvements over time.
- Parks, trails and open space: Brynn Grey is proposing to designate approximately 44 percent of the development as parks, open space and trails. In addition, the parks area will be open to the general public and not just to the residents of West Steamboat Neighborhoods.
- Sustainability: The annexation agreement specifically proposes to have all homes be Energy Star rated and there is a commitment to meet or exceed the city’s waterbody setback standards.
- Pioneer’s Club: The Pioneer’s Club is a developer generated program. Council’s goal is to ensure residents have equal access to the units so that the development is a benefit to the community. This topic will surely be addressed further during the upcoming readings.
- Size: The total West Steamboat Neighborhoods proposal encompasses 191 acres. For comparison, Steamboat 700 was 536 acres, Steamboat II was 110 acres; Silver Spur was 106 acres, Heritage Park was 45 acres, and Sunlight was 50 acres.
- City operating costs: A Real Estate Transfer Assessment is proposed to offset estimated ongoing city operating costs. Under the assessment, any time a property within the annexation boundary changes ownership — except for the initial sale from the developer — 1 percent of the purchase price will be paid to the city. This funding source is intended to pay for city services that the rest of the residents of the city receive with the exception of snow plowing services (see below).
For snowplowing, the developer must pay the city $610,000 for the purchase of snowplow equipment before issuance of the 199th building permit, which is anticipated around the eighth year. Until that payment is made, the developer will provide snowplowing services. After the additional equipment is purchased, the city will provide snowplow services to the development.
The above items represent the core details of the proposed annexation, though there are many other important issues that have been negotiated over the past 2 1/2 years. My fellow City Council members and I would love to hear your thoughts on whether this annexation proposal is appropriate or if it could be improved in some way.
Please feel free to reach out to me or any other member of City Council to let us know your thoughts about the proposed West Steamboat Neighborhoods annexation or other issues of concern to you. You can find our contact information at steamboatsprings.net/council. We look forward to hearing from you.
Jason Lacy is president of the Steamboat Springs City Council. The opinions expressed in this article are his own and may not be reflective of the opinions of other City Council members.
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