Letter: County, city are strong example of cooperative land use
Thank you to the anonymous donor who provided the donation to the Yampa Valley Housing Authority to enable them to purchase the land in our designated growth area in West Steamboat Springs. This has the potential to join the decision in 1900 for the city to be formally incorporated in the state of Colorado as a municipality and the opening of the Steamboat ski area in the mid-1960s as the most important events to happen in the history of Steamboat.
Routt County and Steamboat stand as a strong example of cooperative land-use planning. The foundation of that cooperation is based around Routt County approving only 35 acres or greater development in Routt County in order to preserve functioning agriculture, wildlife habitat and the open space character we value today. The city’s responsibility is to provide urban services only within their annexed boundary and promote density, infill and redevelopment to achieve a true urban feel and avoid sprawl. We need to reaffirm this important cooperative land-use philosophy with the pending Routt County Master Plan review and the Steamboat Springs Community Area Plan update.
The Brown Ranch west of Steamboat Springs will provide for smart future growth. The YVHA benefactor has now solved the greatest impediment to the goal of workforce housing in west Steamboat Springs. Now we need to be patient with the YVHA, steering committee and board while they redesign the land use proposal to achieve as close to 100% housing for full-time Steamboat residents and employees. Once designed, the cost of the designing and building of the Brown Ranch’s roads, water and sewer, utilities and community amenities must be determined. Then they will recommend a strategy for how and who will pay for that infrastructure. Once that has been achieved, an annexation proposal to the city for staff review and City Council consideration should proceed. Fortunately, we have a YVHA board and Executive Director Jason Peasley that understand that process and will not rush this opportunity until it has been fully vetted.
All of this is why this year’s City Council elections are so important and why we should be sure to elect council members that will not have an inherent conflict of interest when making these important land use decisions.
Board president, Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District
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