Steamboat tables agreement outlining Brown Ranch annexation process
Housing Authority Executive Director Jason Peasley said the delay shouldn't impact start of annexation talks
Steamboat Springs City Council delayed approving an agreement with the Yampa Valley Housing Authority on Tuesday, Jan. 3, that outlines goals for how the Brown Ranch annexation process will play out.
After the vote, Yampa Valley Housing Authority Executive Director Jason Peasley said that tabling the vote two weeks won’t be an issue and won’t delay the annexation talks set to start Jan. 20.
City Council directed staff to review a few sections of the proposed memorandum of understanding before bringing it back to council on Jan. 17.
“I think getting this type of feedback is really helpful,” Peasley said. “I think the objective is that we can get a turn of the document later this week, talk about it with (the housing authority board on Jan. 12), and I doubt we’ll have any major objections.”
The memorandum of understanding is meant to lay out the city’s and housing authority’s desire to work toward an annexation agreement and includes an aspirational schedule for how the negotiations should play out over the next year.
One of the points discussed Tuesday included how public comments would be taken during meetings of the special committee formed to handle the bulk of negotiations.
As currently written, the chair of the Brown Ranch Annexation Committee — a neutral third party that has not yet been selected — would have the authority to limit public comments after at least 30 minutes has been provided for them.
Council member Heather Sloop expressed reservations, saying that if people were cut off from speaking at the committee meetings, they would simply take their comments to City Council.
“This (committee) is supposed to be where the heavy lifting work is done,” Sloop said. “These may not be three-hour meetings; these may be five-hour meetings, but this is what this committee is supposed to be doing, is listening to the public.”
City Attorney Dan Foote explained the the chair would have the ability to take public comments for as long as the chair wants, and limits could only be set after 30 minutes have passed, though staff would review that section.
The memorandum also has a section defining other community outreach efforts, including newsletters, town hall meetings, community question and answer sessions and a partnership with Integrated Community to target specific members of the community and translate information for non-English speakers.
Peasley emphasized that public comments are “just a part” of how the committee will hear from the community on annexation, noting that showing up to a weekday afternoon meeting isn’t accessible for many community members. He said this process hoped to get more nuanced input from a broader reach of people than a three-minute public comment can provide.
“(Council’s) focus on public outreach is great,” Peasley said. “It’s a much higher standard than the normal city planning process outreach looks like and I think that’s what’s needed in this case.”
To reach Dylan Anderson, call 970-871-4247 or email danderson@SteamboatPilot.com.
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