Community weighs in on affordable housing rules in survey |

Community weighs in on affordable housing rules in survey

Construction crews in 2008 work on the First Tracks project at the Wildhorse Meadows resort development. The Steamboat Springs City Council in 2013 suspended an ordinance that required developments like First Tracks to offer affordable units in their projects or pay a fee toward their creation.
Matt Stensland

Most Steamboat Springs residents support the city requiring developers to provide affordable housing units or pay a fee to ensure their creation, according to the results of a recent community survey.

The survey showed 36 percent of respondents strongly supported this requirement, while another 36 percent somewhat supported it.

Only 15 percent strongly opposed the requirement, and another 14 percent somewhat opposed it.

The fresh data from the community comes just weeks before the Steamboat Springs City Council is set to decide whether to bring back the affordable housing requirement for developers in some form, or enact new policies.

In July 2013, the City Council voted to suspend its ordinance that for years required developers to create affordable units, or pay a fee to support their creation.

The council wanted to take some time to allow city staff to study the issue and come up with a revision or a replacement.

Some council members suggested that instead of placing the responsibility of affordable housing on developers, a tax to support workforce housing should be put to voters.

The suspension of the affordable housing rules came after several developers and some city council members criticized the ordinance.

Developers complained they were finding it difficult or impossible to sell the affordable units they were creating.

The suspension of the ordinance expires in August, and the council must decide whether to re-enact it or remove it permanently.

At a meeting in January, a majority of the council agreed that access to affordable housing in the city was an issue that they needed to address.

The results of the community survey show the public also feels it is an issue.

Only 8 percent of survey respondents were positive about the availability of quality affordable housing here.

When that response rate was compared with response rates in 15 other resort communities around the country, Steamboat’s response rate on the issue ranked second to last.

Survey respondents here also expressed general support for changing the community development code to allow for more housing density.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

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