Steamboat Springs studies housing challenges as other resort towns take action
Steamboat Springs — While community members in Steamboat Springs were studying local housing challenges during the fall, other resort towns on the Western Slope took action and secured millions of dollars of new tax revenue to build hundreds of new units to improve their workforce housing situations.
Summit County voters on Tuesday approved a 0.6 percent sales tax increase that is expected to generate $7.8 million per year for the construction of workforce housing in Breckenridge, Frisco, Silverthorne and other cities and towns in Summit.
The tax will sunset in a decade.
Many of the communities that will benefit from the extra tax revenue have already spent millions of dollars and made moves to start building large housing projects with hundreds of additional units.
“I’m jealous,” Steamboat City Councilwoman and Community Housing Steering Committee member Kathi Meyer said Friday, as she discussed the progress Summit County has made in solving its housing challenges.
The steering committee in Steamboat spent Friday afternoon debating what solutions to recommend to the City Council.
Their proposals range from asking voters for a new dedicated funding source, such as a tax, to the introduction of new shuttles that could take workers from Steamboat to outlying communities in Routt County where housing isn’t as expensive.
But the steering committee appears to be lagging behind other resort communities that have already done studies and successfully found solutions.
It was difficult for working group members to ignore Tuesday that a nearby resort county had successfully secured a large funding source for new housing.
Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association CEO Jim Clark said Summit County’s new housing sales tax could add to this city’s challenges in finding seasonal workers.
“That’s going to make it more competitive, with more workers going to Summit County,” Clark said.
Steamboat’s Community Housing Steering Committee will present its findings and recommendations to the City Council on Dec. 13.
The group is expected to recommend a dedicated funding source, better transportation to nearby communities, new planning and zoning rules that make housing projects more feasible and continued investment in new water infrastructure to accommodate new housing developments.
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The National Weather Service in Grand Junction has issued a winter storm warning for much of the West Slope ahead of a major weather system expected in the area starting Thursday.