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Housing group expected to reveal obstacles to creating new supply

Valley needs 300-plus new homes a year

Steamboat Springs City Council and the Routt County Board of Commissioners will hear the report of the Housing Steering Committee, which is seeking to stimulate the creation of new community housing, on Dec. 13.
file photo

If you go…

What: Housing steering committee presents its findings to Steamboat Springs City Council and the Routt County Board of Commissioners.

When: 5 p.m., Dec. 13

Where: Citizens’ Meeting Room, Centennial Hall, 124 Tenth St., Steamboat Springs

— Residents of Steamboat Springs and Routt County have an opportunity Dec. 13 to re-engage with the challenge of providing community housing stock, when Community Housing Steering Committee Chairman Dan Pirrallo presents the findings of his committee to the Steamboat Springs City Council and the Routt County Board of Commissioners in a public meeting.

It’s a problem that has confounded the communities of the upper Yampa Valley for 15 years.

On Tuesday, people can expect to hear that the goal of increasing housing supply and growth are inseparable. They’re also likely to hear that stimulating new housing construction will require institutions and governments to revisit their regulations to remove existing obstacles to stimulating the construction of new housing units.

If you go…

What: Housing steering committee presents its findings to Steamboat Springs City Council and the Routt County Board of Commissioners.

When: 5 p.m., Dec. 13

Where: Citizens’ Meeting Room, Centennial Hall, 124 Tenth St., Steamboat Springs

“The biggest thing we want to relay is that we are focusing on reducing the obstacles to development of housing in four distinct market segments (rentals for seasonal workers, housing for permanent workers below median income, and move-up buyers),” Yampa Valley Housing Authority Executive Director Jason Peasley said Dec. 9. “The goal is to create an environment where the private market and the housing authority produce the housing that is needed by the people that live here.”

The housing steering committee’s report is the first item on the Dec. 13 council agenda. Coincidentally, housing development company Brynn Grey is second on the agenda. Principles of Brynn Grey will present a revision of their memorandum of understanding for their proposed project in the “West Steamboat neighborhoods.”

What’s at stake with the release of the steering committee report, Peasley said, is Steamboat’s middle-class identity.

“One of the underlying themes that we’ve identified as an asset of Steamboat is that we have working families, and we don’t want to price them out,” he added.

The efforts of the steering committee have been underway for 10 months, but intensified in early July, when the public was invited to a meeting at the Steamboat Springs Community Center at which people could join one of four working groups (one for each market segment). Pirrallo committed at that meeting to have a final report to the city and county by early December.

Throughout “the process, 120 community members have spent 2,300 hours,” in aggregate on the report, Peasley said. “We have some (proposals) that we think can make a difference and create that environment where housing supply can match demand in the four market segments.”

People attending the Dec. 13 City Council meeting who haven’t been part of the process may be taken aback at the number of housing units that need to be built to both meet current shortfalls and continue to keep pace with demand into the future.

Building 300 new housing units per year, and hence, 3,000 in 10 years, is “probably on the low side,” Peasley said … “We’ve set out some number goals that are staggering, when you consider how much is required to close the gap and then maintain the supply that would meet the demands of a growing population.”

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1


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