Nancy R. Harris: Disadvantages of annexation outweigh advantages |

Nancy R. Harris: Disadvantages of annexation outweigh advantages

I am a concerned citizen who has been a Steamboat resident for 49 years, I must ask why the City Council did not follow the Community Development Code when it voted to annex land west of town?

A Community Development Code standard to approve a potential annexation is: “The advantages of the proposed annexation substantially outweigh the disadvantages to the community or neighborhood.” Based on my research, the West of Steamboat annexation proposal does not meet this standard. 

The annexation will not provide entry level homes for local families who want to move out of rentals and into their own house. The Steamboat Pilot & Today May 2 article states, “The Housing Authority also ‘could’ develop about 50 units targeted to four-person households earning less than $69,360.” Great news, but does the Yampa Valley Housing Authority have the money to build a condo complex on 2 acres? Will they? Where is the guarantee?

Annexation supporters say that West Steamboat Neighborhoods will provide homes for young professionals, retirees and down-sizers. This annexation includes 400 units, plus the 50 units mentioned above, 100 of which are supposed to be deed restricted units, according to the May 2 article. The same article states, “While these income targets are written into the annexation agreement, income limits are not included in the deed restrictions.” 

To me, this means there are no real guidelines, requirements for the developer to provide entry level housing. Deed-restricted homes may only increase 3% in value a year, but the same article states, “If area median income grows at a rate greater than 3% this maximum sale price also will be greater.” This means the prices can very quickly increase and become out of the reach of future Steamboat working class families. 

The 300 homes sold at market-rate will not meet our community’s actual housing needs. In my opinion, these homes do not justify the cost of annexing 190 acres. This annexation does not follow the community vision set forth in the West of Steamboat Springs Area Plan — to provide a substantial number sof entry-level homes for our working families.

This annexation’s disadvantages outweigh its advantages. Will the city’s annexation costs justify the very small number of attainable, affordable houses that will really available for retirees, down-sizers and young professionals, not to mention the families of police, teachers or service workers earning less than $69,360? I don’t think it will. 

Nancy R. Harris

Steamboat Springs

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