Steamboat Springs City Council to weigh in on potential government incentives for affordable housing projects

Construction crews work on the new affordable housing project, called the Reserves at Steamboat Springs, in the summer.
Scott Franz/File

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Steamboat Springs City Council is set to weigh in on a long list of potential government incentives for developers of affordable housing projects that range from easing parking requirements to embracing tiny homes.

Other potential incentives include such things as allowing developers of affordable housing projects to pay fees at a later date than usual or having the city donate land for projects.

The less strict parking requirements could be offered to affordable housing projects that are near the city’s transit lines.

The list of potential incentives is being floated at the same time city officials are recommending that the council permanently revoke a previous community housing policy that forced developers to create affordable units in their projects or pay a fee in lieu of their creation.

The council first suspended that policy, known as inclusionary zoning, in 2013.

City councils have since suspended the rules five times despite the policy enjoying strong public support in community surveys.

“If we don’t repeal it now, then we ought to put it on a long deferral and give the Housing Authority time to execute on its plan” to build more workforce housing, Council President Pro-Tem Kathi Meyer said Monday.

Council members were hesitant in October to make any major changes to the city’s affordable housing policies on the eve of the election where voters approved increasing their property taxes to generate an estimated $8.5 million over the next decade for workforce housing projects.

Meyer said the Yampa Valley Housing Authority currently has two or three viable projects that could increase the supply of workforce housing.

The City Council will weigh in on the potential government incentives for affordable housing Tuesday night.

The meeting is work session, so the council is not expected to take any votes on the incentives just yet.

Meyer said she thinks the potential incentive to defer fees for developers of affordable housing “merits further discussion.”

In addition, the city’s planning department said it has received “numerous inquiries” about possible apartment developments, tiny home and micro-unit developments.

“Applications for modest tiny home projects and a micro-unit project may be forthcoming in the next year,” planning director Tyler Gibbs wrote.

The council’s work session starts at 5 p.m. in Citizens Hall on 10th Street.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10.

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