Yampa Valley Housing Authority’s Mid Valley development gets initial planning commission approval
Steamboat City Council to consider the housing project next week
The Mid Valley housing development along U.S. Highway 40 in Steamboat Springs was given an OK by the planning commission last week, in the first of what will likely be several planning applications for the Yampa Valley Housing Authority project.
The planning commission approved the preliminary plat for the project, which — if given approval by City Council next week — would allow the project to start moving dirt this year. The land was purchased with an anonymous donation to the housing authority in 2021.
“This was another one of those miracle donations to the housing authority of land to deliver on our mission,” said Jason Peasley, executive director of the housing authority. “We’re looking at deed-restricted for sale and for rent housing there.”
The planning commission approved a preliminary plat for the project on a 3-1 vote, which Peasley said would be the first of multiple steps for the project. This first step will fix some zoning discrepancies on the pair of parcels and allow earthwork to start on the project this year.
Eventually, Peasley said the housing authority would submit another round of applications for the actual construction of the four buildings currently planned, which will contain 234 units.
Like the housing authority’s Sunlight Crossing project on the west side of Steamboat, Mid Valley aims to meet incomes between 80% and 150% of the local area median income. Unlike at Sunlight Crossing, the housing authority intends to offer more income levels at Mid Valley.
“For us, from a timing standpoint of being able to deliver housing, it allows us to get into the site as soon as we can this year and start working on some soil remediation,” Peasley said. “Then you’ll see another development plan, another plat, and your typical cadence of civil, final plat, improvement agreements, building permits, all of that.”
The planning commission recommended approval to council for two variances, with the first allowing the access road for the development to be longer than 100 feet. Based on current planning, it will be nearly 1,000 feet, but extending Mid Valley Drive to connect to Mount Werner Road has long been part of city planning.
The second variance allows a small section of wetlands on the property behind Young Tracks to be filled in. Part of what is referred to as building four on documents presented to the commission will eventually be where the wetlands are now.
The larger section of wetlands on the property would be designated unbuildable, essentially protecting it from further development, other than addition of the road to connect it with Mount Werner Road before it crosses over the Yampa River on its way toward the Tree Haus neighborhood.
That parcel, on the south side of the property, will have what is called a blanket easement on it so that if and when the road is extended, it can be situated the best way.
“Staff finds that the proposed easements, although a little longer than standard would call for, it facilitates long-term achievement of the access control plan while also balancing the needs of the community,” said Kelly Douglas, a senior planner with the city, explaining that staff supported the variances being requested.
“We’re talking about something that definitely could happen,” Peasley said in regard to the road eventually being extended. “There certainly are a lot of steps that are going to have to take place before it’s a reality.”
Peasley said the reason for filling in the smaller section of wetlands was to get a good pad ready for development. He referred to this section of wetlands as lesser quality than the other section, as a road, railroad tracks, Young Tracks and an area that had already been filled in, surround it.
“We’re trying to protect that sort of larger, what I would say, more critical wetland to the south on the property,” Peasley said. “We’re balancing community interests here. … Wetlands are a valued item to our community, we’re also trying to provide affordable housing, and so that’s the sort of give and take we have to deal with in this scenario.”
City Council is set to consider the preliminary plat for the project at its April 4 meeting.
To reach Dylan Anderson, call 970-871-4247 or email danderson@SteamboatPilot.com.
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