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City to hear study results

Christine Metz

— Steamboat Springs City Council members will hear the results of a second-home owner study conducted in four mountain resort counties.

The study shows part-time residents increase the demand for workers and the cost of housing.

The council invited Linda Venturoni of the Northwest Council of Governments to present the organization’s findings on the social and economic effects of second homes at Tuesday’s council meeting.

“There are many more similarities than differences between mountain communities,” Councilman Ken Brenner said. “This is an opportunity to share information that they have collected that is very likely pertinent to us as well.”

Collecting data from Eagle, Grand, Pitkin and Summit counties, the study showed 60 percent of the housing units were second-home owners. It also found that second homes accounted for 34 percent of the outside dollars coming into the four-county area and represented the largest economic driver.

Second homes are a larger economic driver than winter or summer tourism, and the demand is growing rapidly, Brenner said.

“It really made an impression on me,” he said.

On July 8, the organization presented its findings in an all-day conference. Brenner attended the meeting and suggested that the information be presented to Routt County elected officials. The city invited county commissioners and the Steamboat Springs School District to come to the presentation.

Information from the Routt County Assessor’s Office shows that second homes account for 52 percent of the housing units in Routt County.

The study found that second-home development creates a demand for workers above that of the traditional tourism industry, especially in construction but also in their maintenance, operation and use of the homes. As second-home owners increase, so does the demand for workers.

Second homes, because they take up large amounts of land, drive up property values.

“Second homes have generated the need for more workers, but the rise in property values and subsequent housing costs have made it difficult for the workers to live within a reasonable distance of their place of work,” the study reads.

Better understanding of the impacts of second homes will help establish better policy, the organization stated.

The city had discussed joining the Northwest Council of Governments, which would have allowed the city to become part of the study. Because of financial issues, the council decided not to join.

The council has expressed interest in joining for 2005.

— To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com


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