John Lanterman: Why we need to vote on the West Steamboat annexation
The role of the Steamboat Springs City Council in this annexation should have been to negotiate the best agreement it could, and then put it to a vote of the people. The City Council discussed this option and decided not to let the people vote. Council then voted 4-3 to annex. This is too large and complex a project with too many unanswered questions to have it move forward by one vote.
If this annexation really is in the best interest of the town and its residents, why is council unwilling to let the residents decide? The only way to know whether registered voters want this annexation is put it to a vote of the people.
Some will argue that two years was enough time spent on the annexation. Something this complex cannot have an arbitrary timeline. There are too many unknowns for council to have voted.
For example, target prices for deed-restricted homes are not yet defined. And do residents know the deed restrictions place no limit on assets or target family incomes that urgently need affordable housing?
Between new single family and attached residential units, there are 368 units of new construction recently available and coming online. That’s a lot of new construction approved and moving forward.
The city transportation capital improvements show a deficit of almost $30 million. This annexation is partially responsible. How does the City intend to pay these costs? Why the hurry to annex with many units available or becoming available?
A recent letter to the editor referenced article 725.C of our Community Development Code. Annexation approval criteria that must be met include:
• The advantages of the proposed annexation substantially outweigh the disadvantages to the community or neighborhood.
• The proposed annexation is consistent with any adopted guidelines or requirements for the inclusion of affordable housing in new development or annexation proposals.
These criteria are not met by the annexation. At the least, there are too many unknowns to determine if advantages substantially outweigh disadvantages.
Sign the petition to bring this annexation to a vote of the people. You can also volunteer to gather signatures. For information on the petition, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. This complex and large annexation must be decided by everyone.
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