Diane Brower: Vote ‘no’ on 700
February 24, 2010
Steamboat Springs — How do the citizens of our community deal with the myths, assumptions and half-truths that confuse and cloud the Steamboat 700 annexation question on the mail-in ballot vote to be returned by March 9? Although the Steamboat 700 annexation agreement document is confusing, complicated and incomplete, it contains the only commitments that the developer will have to abide by.
If the voters assume the developers are going to build affordable or truly attainable housing, improve the traffic situation, provide water, build a new school, build a commercial center, prevent sprawl, protect our sense of community and small-town feeling, and build the perfect planned community … think again. These are false assumptions.
The developer's verbal promises, their advertisements, the newspaper's stories and editorials and the local investors' support are not worth a thing if they are not backed up in the annexation agreement. We are hearing hollow assurances similar to "the check is in the mail" or "don't worry about the small print." The capital for the development's projects will depend on higher taxes and long-term transfer fees (a financial tool of questionable legality) from future homeowners in Steamboat 700. Until large numbers of homes are sold, there will be no funds for affordable housing or the school district. Considering that the condition of the housing market and the economy are dramatically different from when the Steamboat 700 project began, can we realistically expect to see these promises fulfilled?
Would you buy a house if the mortgage agreement did not specify the price of the house, the interest rate or the time period of the loan? Many Americans did, and they were lured into the sub-prime loan dream based on faulty assumptions. I don't believe the citizens of this community want to be lured into a project that is too big to fail because of false assumptions. I don't believe the citizens want to end up bailing out Steamboat 700 like the nation has already done for the big banks and Wall Street. We do not need an annexation of this size, with so much uncertainty and so little assurance of public benefit. Let's vote 'no' on Steamboat 700!