Steamboat council solidifies goals for city |

Steamboat council solidifies goals for city

A proposed location for a new fire station would include city hall and an adjacent parking lot. The new fire station and the city offices would be combined into a new city-owned facility. (Photo by John F. Russell)

Housing, short-term rentals, transportation and mobility, long-term and short-term water planning, and other ongoing efforts top the list for Steamboat Springs City Council’s goals for the 2022-23 year.

Council discussed the goals at its December retreat after deciding to look at which issues are most heavily impacting the city.

Housing rose to the top because so many in the city have struggled to find a place to live, which has forced businesses to close early and operate with limited staff.

One specific initiative outlined under the broader goal of solving the housing crisis includes coordinating with the Yampa Valley Housing Authority, Routt County and the Brown Ranch Steering Committee to help move the Brown Ranch project forward as quickly as possible.

Others call for evaluating and adopting policies and legislation from other communities that have resulted in workforce housing; and designing, developing and constructing city employee housing projects, including Barn Village and Steamboat Springs Transit seasonal housing.

Apart from the affordable housing discussion, council members also want to focus on short-term rentals.

Specifically, members said they would like to address the city’s short-term rental issues through the adoption of regulatory policies like overlay zones, enforcement rules, licensing procedures, establishing a fee structure and evaluating the possibility of a November 2022 ballot question for a short-term rental excise tax or a vacancy tax.

The city has a moratorium on applying for vacation home rental permits that’s set to expire June 30. The planning commission is also deep into a discussion about how zoning could allow, restrict or prohibit short-term rentals.

Members also want to focus on transportation and mobility.

More specifically, they hope to pursue a Regional Transit Authority in partnership with other local governments in the Yampa Valley, ensure alignment of goals with the Innovative Transportation Task Force and implement the recently adopted Transportation and Mobility Master Plan.

Other efforts would investigate and pursue transportation related funding sources for future development in west Steamboat, partner with Routt County to extend the Yampa River Core Trail and provide background information and evaluate options for paid parking around the city.

As part of Steamboat’s commitment to climate action with the county itself and other municipalities in the area, city council also hopes to revise its water planning.

Members hope to plan for a secure water future for the city by reviewing and updating the city’s water agreements, implementing effective water conservation policies, planning for expansion of the wastewater treatment plant and planning for the Elk River Water Treatment plant design and construction.

Other long-term discussions include implementing other factions of the climate action plan, adopting the Mountain Area Master Plan, discussing fire mitigation, working on community resilience like mental health and substance use disorder, and coming up with other options for fiscal sustainability.

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