Our view: Listen, challenge, engage
Steamboat Springs residents will now have the opportunity to vote June 18 on the annexation of 190 acres of land on the west side of town, which if approved will become home to West Steamboat Neighborhoods, a group of three neighborhoods that would be built out over the next 20 years.
In all, 450 housing units, ranging from duplexes to single-family homes, would be built. Development plans also call for parks and open space, a dedicated site for a new school and an area where commercial businesses could be located, including a possible grocery store.
City Council voted in favor of the annexation plan Feb. 5 after three years of study and public discussion. Then, last month, a group of residents, known as the Let’s Vote Committee, gathered enough signatures to take the issue to a public vote.
The petition process to get the issue on the ballot proved divisive, and opposing views were voiced in a string of letters to the editor that have been published on the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s Viewpoints pages over the past month, along with robust online comments. People are passionate on both sides of the issue.
In an effort to inform the public, the Pilot & Today has created a West Steamboat Annexation Explained page on its website, and newspaper staff will be updating and expanding the page to include all the information residents need to know to make an educated voting decision.
We encourage readers to email the news staff — news@SteamboatPilot.com — with questions they have about the proposed annexation and the upcoming vote. Reporters, in news stories between now and the beginning of the ballot process, will work to answer those questions so that people are relying on facts when they vote rather than unsubstantiated claims or sheer emotion.
At issue: The Let’s Vote Committee successfully petitioned the City Council to reconsider the ordinance to annex property on the west side of Steamboat, known as West Steamboat Neighborhoods, and city voters will now be voting on the annexation proposal in June.
Our view: Now is the time for proponents of the annexation to address concerns and for voters to make every effort to get informed so they can make a fair and educated voting decision.
- Logan Molen, publisher
- Lisa Schlichtman, editor
- Robin Stone, community representative
- Steve Hofman, community representative
Regardless of the amount of work City Council and city staff have invested in finalizing the annexation agreement with West Steamboat Neighborhoods, there appears to be lingering questions about the project itself. The concerns of those opposing the project must be addressed by proponents, and all of us should use this time to think, listen, challenge, engage and ask the important questions that will inform a good decision.
We also remind readers that only city residents will be able to vote, and many of those who would benefit from the housing development currently live outside the city limits. Voters are encouraged to consider the community as a whole when deciding how to vote on the issue.
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