Diane Brower: Brynn Grey project will not ease affordable housing crisis
January 30, 2019
I would like to challenge a misconception put forth in the Steamboat Pilot & Today editorial of Jan. 16: "…Brynn Grey has worked in tandem with city leaders to create a viable housing project that could help ease our community’s affordable housing crisis."
If you understand that the Brynn Grey/West Steamboat Neighborhoods will produce affordable housing, you are mistaken. Annexation of the Brynn Grey development will not ease our community’s affordable housing crisis.
The fantasy that Brynn Grey, by providing homes in the $332,000 to $749,000 range, will free up homes for lower income residents of Steamboat Springs has been repeated throughout the annexation process. It has rarely been the trajectory in Steamboat Springs that homes are sold for a price equal to their last purchase price. More likely any homes sold in Steamboat by potential residents of the West Steamboat Neighborhoods will be sold at an unaffordable price, for rental, vacation home rental or to be scraped off and redeveloped as large homes.
The Brynn Grey development’s proposed 158 units that are deed restricted to Routt County residents require no asset limits. This means that no matter a person’s income or assets, they will be able to purchase one of the 61 "attainable" condos, townhomes or duplexes.
There are 23 single-family homes in the hoped for $430,000 to $447,000 range. If you think that these homes will be affordable to most teachers, police officers and health care workers, I suggest you look a little more closely at the figures for what income is necessary to purchase a home at this price range in Steamboat Springs.
The developer acknowledges that this range of home prices is not assured and that the prices will increase as costs increase over the next 10 years of development. Fifty of the 158 units, may be generated by the Yampa Valley Housing Authority and may be affordable apartment units. YVHA hasn’t determined what it will do with the 2 acres given to them by Brynn Grey. Out of the total 450 units in the current Brynn Grey annexation, two-thirds will be market rate — Read: expensive.
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The truth is that without a source of funding to subsidize truly affordable, for-purchase homes in Steamboat Springs, no developer will be able to build these needed affordable homes. So pay attention in March or April when City Council is planning to repeal the inclusionary zoning ordinance, with no plans for a replacement to fund affordable, for-purchase homes.