Our view: Get ‘er done Steamboat council | SteamboatToday.com

Our view: Get ‘er done Steamboat council

At issue: City Council and Brynn Grey are in the middle of a series of work sessions to finalize an annexation agreement. Our view: The city should do its due diligence but find a way to move the housing project toward the finish line. Editorial Board • Lisa Schlichtman, editor • Tom Ross, reporter • Alice Klauzer, community representative • Cameron Hawkins, community representative Contact the editorial board at 970-871-4221 or lschlichtman@SteamboatToday.com.

The Steamboat Springs City Council is currently in the process of hammering out an annexation agreement with Brynn Grey, the development company that is proposing to build 400 homes in the city over a 20-year period on a 150-acre tract of land on the city’s west side.

The project, which the city and Brynn Grey have been discussing for almost two years now, would go a long way toward easing the community’s affordable housing crisis, and we urge the council to move forward with the annexation agreement.

We aren’t suggesting the council rush through the process or skip any due diligence, but we do encourage council members to work with Brynn Grey to find a way to get the project across the finish line.

In the first of three work sessions the council held with Brynn Grey on May 22, council members were focused on ensuring the company paid its fair share of public works capital costs, like snow-plowing equipment, upfront as part of the annexation agreement. Other issues to be fine tuned include the amount of money that will be attached to the sale price of each home to cover the cost of providing water to the new development and a possible 1 percent real estate transfer tax, which would become part of the subdivision’s private covenant, to help offset the cost of city services.

Because Steamboat Springs is one of only a handful of cities in the state that does not collect a property tax, annexation comes at a cost without the benefit of increased tax revenue. The council is wise to make sure Brynn Grey helps shoulder its share of the expense of fire and police protection and road maintenance, which the city incurs when bringing new housing developments into the city limits, but we also believe the benefit of locals housing is worth some concessions on the city’s side.

Based on reactions from council members following the first work sessions with Brynn Grey, compromise appears to be taking place.

As the annexation process moves forward, it’s important for the community to understand that Brynn Grey is not proposing to build all 400 units and glut the market. Instead, they are proposing to bring units onto the market incrementally in three phases.

The annexation discussions are occurring at the same time Sunlight subdivision is beginning to market its homes, and Overlook subdivision is moving dirt with plans to break ground on homes there in 2019. Both of these projects will help increase the inventory of new homes by providing valuable “move-up” housing supply, but they won’t have the deed restrictions that Brynn Grey is proposing that will require some of the homes to be limited to buyers who work 30 hours a week in Routt County.

As we’ve stated in previous editorials, it’s vital the city seizes opportunity and figures out how to get this project done with Brynn Grey — a developer that’s proven it can deliver affordable community housing for locals in mountain resort towns and is ready and willing to invest in homes for the community’s workforce to keep them living and working here.

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