Jim Engelken: Council ‘blew it’ on Brynn Grey agreement
The annexation of west Steamboat is headed for a vote. Sadly, many members of our community don’t understand that the annexation agreement doesn’t guarantee any affordable homes beyond what the Yampa Valley Housing Authority will build. The details in the Annexation Agreement are important.
Here’s the problem: the City Council blew it. Badly. They didn’t negotiate an agreement that guarantees any affordable homes will be built by Brynn Grey. The only guaranteed affordable housing in the agreement is what will be built on 2 acres of land donated to the Yampa Valley Housing Authority. The Housing Authority will likely do what they have done recently, and with success, which is rental apartments.
While the agreement requires that some homes house people who work in Routt County, there is no requirement that those homes will meet any affordable price point or even that they be built at all. Forget the unit mix proposal touted by the developer; they can choose to only develop higher-end housing. This annexation may not do anything to provide home ownership opportunities for the teachers, nurses and working families looking to make Steamboat Springs their home.
There have been a number of comments by proponents of the annexation accusing those of us who oppose the agreement, because it does not provide a meaningful amount of affordable housing, of being dishonest. They charge our opposition as really no growth. They couldn’t be more wrong.
I have been advocating for affordable housing for 25 years. I served on City Council. I am qualified to say that the City Council blew it. The annexation agreement with Brynn Grey fails to provide what we need the most.
Make no mistake, Brynn Grey is not here to solve our housing problem; they are here to make money. They are good at it and have successfully created the perception of affordable housing that won’t exist. The City Council needed to require it, and they failed.
This community started planning for new annexed neighborhoods in West Steamboat 25 years ago. We have been adamant that any annexation fulfill two requirements: one, it pays its own way; and two, it provides affordable housing.
The annexation agreement with Brynn Grey doesn’t come close. If anyone is being dishonest, it is those who are promoting this annexation as good for Steamboat Springs because it provides affordable housing.
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