Letter: City Council needs to follow area plan to preserve Steamboat’s character
The following is an overview of the potential development and annexation of an area within the urban growth boundary west of the city being proposed by the developer, Brynn Grey.
In the 1990s, the area west of Steamboat Springs was seen as the place for potential growth in the future of the city and the county. A plan was developed so such expansion was well planned, fiscally responsible, preserved the character of the valley and met the needs of the community as we grew.
As a result of these concerns, the West of Steamboat Springs Area Plan was developed through a cooperative endeavor between the city of Steamboat Springs and Routt County. The plan was discussed during multiple public sessions and extensive reviews by the residents who attended the numerous neighborhood meetings that preceded its 1999 adoption by the county and the city.
Below are quotes from the updated 2006 West of Steamboat Springs Area Plan that are relevant to the current annexation discussion.
“One of the fundamental objectives of the West Steamboat Springs Area Plan (WSSAP) is the provision of attainable and affordable housing. Affordable housing is housing that is accessible over the longterm to the working people of Steamboat Springs and Routt County. Housing is defined as ‘affordable’ if a household pays no more than 30% of its gross income for rent and utilities or mortgage payment and utilities.”
To fulfill this affordable housing outcome, the city must be willing to annex new residential development, despite the negative fiscal impact — police, fire, plowing etc. — in order to maintain a healthy and diverse community that provides housing opportunities for its workers. It is incumbent on the city to ensure that new affordable housing, which is required under this plan, remains affordable in the future using deed restrictions. Otherwise, the existing supply will have to be continually replaced in order to meet the increased needs of the future.
“As part of any annexation submittal, each new development within the West Steamboat area shall provide a detailed affordable housing plan. The plan must provide a minimum of 20 percent permanent affordable housing for ownership and occupancy by eligible households with an average of the Community Housing Units being permanently deed restricted to rental or ownership and occupancy by eligible households with incomes at 80 percent of AMI — annual median income. In addition to income ranges, affordable housing needs to cover a broad spectrum of home types, sizes, and prices.”
“For those developments that propose to achieve more than 20 percent permanently affordable dwelling units, the city will consider providing incentives and assistance, in the form of grants, low or zero interest financing, cost sharing of installation of public utilities, additional density or increased building height, etc.”
As the City Council considers this annexation agreement, they should be aware of the community’s affordable housing requirements and goals as stated in the West of Steamboat Springs Area Plan. It is incumbent on City Council to implement the plan to the fullest extent in order to maximize the affordable housing return on their investment in the newly annexed West of Steamboat Springs Area Plan area.
The current Brynn Grey annexation proposal of 438 units would need the equivalent of 87 units at 80 percent or less of the AMI, which is $69,360, to be able to purchase a unit costing $310,000, not including any home owner association fees and other monthly expenses. At this point, there are no deed-restricted units in that price range in the Brynn Grey proposal.
Aug. 21 at the City Council chambers is your next chance to make comments, or email City Council prior to that date at steamboatsprings.net/formcenter/city-council-19/city-council-contact-form-103.
Community Alliance of the Yampa Valley board of directors
Rich Levy, John Spezia, Rodger Steen, Jack White, Diane Brower, Paul Stettner, Paul Herbert and Steve Aigner
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