Opinion: Vote ‘yes’ on West Steamboat Neighborhoods annexation | SteamboatToday.com

Opinion: Vote ‘yes’ on West Steamboat Neighborhoods annexation

We are being asked to make a critical decision about our community’s future — do we commit to the vibrant community we all know and love or do we send a message to our local workforce that we are not willing to do what it takes to keep them here?

The answer is clear. We need to commit to the future of our community by approving the annexation.

We support the West Steamboat Neighborhoods annexation because the development:

  1. Provides a variety of housing for working people and their families
  2. Is consistent with the vision for our community’s future
  3. Pays its own way

We need a strong workforce, and in order to make that happen, we need housing that people across all income levels can afford. We have a void in our housing market, and if we don’t act now, Steamboat will continue to become more unaffordable for those of us who live and work here.

West Steamboat Neighborhoods complements the work of Yampa Valley Housing Authority with entry-level and move-up housing options. Having a variety of housing in Steamboat minimizes the impacts of commuting and helps people stay connected to this community. Per the annexation agreement, West Steamboat Neighborhoods will create much needed housing for working families, young professionals, local retirees, downsizers and more by providing a traditional neighborhood that includes:

  • 108 deed-restricted homes for sale only to locals with appreciation caps to ensure permanent affordability
  • 292 market rate, single-family homes
  • 85 acres of open space and parks

Steamboat is more than just a resort town. We have a thriving community, and we want to keep it that way. West Steamboat Neighborhoods is our community’s vision for the future.

This planned growth was outlined in the West Steamboat Springs Area Plan. Created in 1999 and renewed in 2006, the plan identified the west end of Steamboat for future growth and allows us to protect our open lands and agricultural uses in the county by concentrating development. The plan is not a regulatory framework; it is a vision document that describes what we want for the future of our community.

After nearly three years of negotiations, City Council approved an annexation agreement requiring West Steamboat Neighborhoods to pay what any developer would plus all of the following — with no additional cost to taxpayers:

  • Water: $4.6 million to a water firming fund to help support infrastructure and additional water rights
  • Transportation improvements: $3.5 million to a transportation firming fund to support future improvements to U.S. Highway 40
  • City service: Real estate transfer assessment equal to 1% of the sales price of each market rate home (for each sale after the initial sale) will be used to provide funding for city services
  • Snow removal: $610,000 for snow removal equipment
  • Low-income housing: Yampa Valley Housing Authority will receive a 2-acre land donation to build up to 50 units
  • School: Steamboat Springs School District will receive a 12-acre land donation

It is time for us to commit to the future of our community. The West Steamboat Neighborhoods annexation is an opportunity that won’t come around again anytime soon. This annexation will give us a chance to keep our working families here and maintain the character of our community in line with our long-term vision with a smart development that pays its own way.

The West Steamboat Neighborhoods annexation is the right plan for the future of our community. Please join us in voting “yes” to locals’ housing.

For more information, please visit yestolocalshousing.com.

This op-ed was written by the Yes to Locals Housing Committee.

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