Diane Brower: Annexation shouldn’t proceed without community vote
Two-thirds of the homes in West Steamboat Neighborhoods will be market rate — definitely not under $600,000. What will be available in the range of $333,000 to $420,000? Condos and townhomes. There may be 24 duplexes in the $350,000 to $400,000 range over 10 years and 24 single-family homes in the $450,000 to $500,000 range over 10 years. But, remember there is no guarantee that the home prices won’t be considerably higher.
The developer has admitted this. A segment of our community can afford these prices, but many hardworking people can’t. Again, two-thirds of the homes will be market rate.
The basic problem is that Steamboat Springs does not have a comprehensive affordable housing policy, nor has it established sufficient sources of funding to help build affordable housing. Compare Steamboat Springs to any other ski town or Colorado mountain community, and you’ll find that we are decades behind in promoting real affordable housing.
If our city had been accumulating affordable housing funds over the last decade through the inclusionary zoning fee, which has been in moratorium status during that time, it could have purchased land for affordable housing or brought down the prices of homes in the West Steamboat Neighborhood and other developments. But that hasn’t happened.
I guess you can attack the Let’s Vote group as out of touch, or you can consider that we’ve seen the affordable housing problem develop over the 20 and more years we’ve lived here. We know only too well that affordable housing needs aren’t going to be addressed by this annexation.
It may provide homes to a few dozen people who can afford the so-called attainable homes. But it isn’t going to help a large section of the community which can’t. This is just one reason to ask for a vote. Disagree with us if you choose, but don’t challenge our commitment to an annexation that actually provides affordable housing in keeping with the original West of Steamboat Springs Area Plan.
I would like to see Brynn Grey build affordable neighborhoods in the West Steamboat area, but they can’t do it. And the city can’t help them do it due to lack of funding or land for affordable housing.
We’re not against annexation or growth, but we can’t in good conscience let this annexation proceed without broader community discussion and a vote. Contact LetsVoteSteamboat@gmail.com for information or if you’d like to circulate a petition until the March 7 deadline.
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