David O’Neil and Melissa Sherburne: Brynn Grey offers compelling vision for locals neighborhood in Steamboat
Steamboat Springs has a critical housing need. In a normal housing market, local jobs and incomes establish housing prices, supply and demand. In Steamboat, however, second homeowners and Airbnb/VRBO short-term renters have distorted the market, increasing demand, drying up supply and driving up prices.
The result threatens to undermine Steamboat’s community character by pushing out the locals who create a vibrant and diverse community with their mixture of incomes, interests, young families and children.
Over the last two and half years, we have met with literally hundreds of local leaders and residents, as well as participated in 22 work sessions with the City Council covering all manner of topics, including: water; sewer; parks/open space/trails; sustainability; housing; roads and transit; and fiscal impacts. And, the process is not over.
There will be another four public Council hearings and two community forums. However, Tuesday is a major step — council is voting on a preliminary annexation agreement, which will establish a road map for the annexation process.
Throughout, we have offered a compelling vision — a real locals neighborhood with a sense of community and place. The homes will be built slowly over a period of approximately 15 years. In 2019, we hope to build eight homes and, depending upon market conditions, increase to 26 homes per year thereafter. The homes will be built in three distinct neighborhoods: the Gateway Neighborhood; the Slate Creek Neighborhood; and the Emerald Neighborhood.
Thirty-five percent of the homes will be subject to a local’s deed restriction and an appreciation cap insuring that 50 or 100 years from now the same people in the same type of jobs will be able to afford the home. And the homes will have a mixture of types and prices, including 50 homes built by the Yampa Valley Housing Authority serving “lower-income” households.
The rest will be market units, which will help subsidize the deed-restricted units and generate approximately $20,000,000 in total revenue to the city over the build-out period. As a result, the project pays its own way and is revenue neutral.
Our team has been building local neighborhoods in the high country for over 20 years; our neighborhoods have been called a “model for the entire state” by the Denver Post, have received the EPA’s highest award, the National Award for Smart Growth Achievement, and the Eagle Award from Housing Colorado. We are passionate about what we do, and West Steamboat Neighborhoods is no exception. We believe that the West Steamboat Neighborhoods will have a major positive impact to preserving community character and sustaining the local economy in Steamboat.
So, as we mentioned, we have a ways to go, and we still seek further community input. Beyond the meeting tonight, we will have two community forums. The first will be on Oct. 24 and have our whole team — including water and traffic engineers, economist, architects, planners, builders and marketing people — on hand to answer any and all questions and hear your suggestions. The second will be on Nov. 14 and will focus on the first phase with a more granular look at the first phase site plan, architecture, floor plans, amenities and pricing.
We appreciate the huge amount of time council members and the community have invested in West Steamboat Neighborhoods. We believe a consensus is emerging: If there is a better solution to the critical housing shortage, what is it? Who would do it? And how? If not West Steamboat Neighborhoods, when is the next opportunity? If not now? When?
Brynn Grey founder and CEO
West Steamboat Neighborhoods managing partner
P.S. If you are interested in more information, please check out our fact sheet at: weststeamboatneighborhoods.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/WSN_Fact_Sheet.pdf.
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Rather than protest at a rally to raise awareness of an alleged problem, Steamboat Springs High School students should file a formal complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.