Our view: Closing the housing gap | SteamboatToday.com
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Our view: Closing the housing gap

At issue

Preserving Steamboat’s strong sense of community with attainable housing stock

Our view

City, county leaders must summon the resolve to act on the housing committee’s plan







Housing Steering Committee chairman Dan Pirrallo promised the Routt County community July 18 that his team of volunteers would deliver an actionable report on the state of its housing supply by early December. He said the report would include refined estimates of demand and supply, as well as opportunities and obstacles associated with meeting the need for community housing. And Pirrallo said he would deliver it by early December.

At issue

Preserving Steamboat’s strong sense of community with attainable housing stock

Our view

City, county leaders must summon the resolve to act on the housing committee’s plan

On Dec. 13, Pirrallo and the steering committee delivered on that commitment. Their work was concise and exemplary. Pirrallo has demonstrated how far strong leadership can takes us. We owe him and the committee, as well as the many people who took part in its working groups, a debt of gratitude. It’s up to the rest of us to follow through on the work they’ve done.

The 18-page report written by the steering committee studied four distinct housing markets that span the housing needs of seasonal workers, low-income households, those seeking entry-level homes and people ready to move up. Routt County’s population could grow from a little more than 20,000 today to 30,000 by 2030 with modest annual population growth of 1.5 percent.

We all know that demand for housing here is outpacing supply. What that means is that we are in the midst of a housing crisis that threatens to undermine every sector of our economy. To fail to act could mean stagnation and the loss of the middle class that defines Steamboat’s character.

Failing to deliver on the promise of more housing stock could mean our future will be to live in a graying community of wealthy people, when it is the next generation of young adults and their children who represent the future of one of the most desirable small towns in American.

The steering community has prevailed upon the city of Steamboat Springs and Routt County to implement five action plans to move our community housing efforts forward by making our planning, zoning and building permit system more supportive of housing development. And it calls upon local government to participate in a new funding committee to identify a dedicated revenue stream to allow the Yampa Valley Housing Authority to build on the recent success it has had in leveraging public/private partnerships to provide more community housing.

We understand this will require substantial political will to follow through. But we would urge elected government officials to respond to the will of the community. There are few things before us that are as important as preserving Steamboat’s middle-class family character.


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