Stephen M. Aigner: Ready, fire, aim!
This current proposed annexation is unnecessary for our community. We currently have enough housing approved or in the pipeline to provide housing for 1,877 new residents. This is over one and a half times the population increase (1,134 people) that occurred between 2010 and 2018. We have more units ready to go than will be needed for the next eight to 10 years without annexing additional land.
If you ask the city how many new units can be built within the existing city limits, based on current zoning, they will tell you they do not know. That should have been a fundamental topic prior to an annexation of any size. According to our own Planning Department data, there is no need to annex land.
The city of Steamboat Springs, along with Routt County Board of Commissioners, must work together to develop a long-term vision of our town and valley. We must update our Steamboat Springs Area Community Plan before we decide to increase to our town’s boundary. The SSAC Plan was last updated 15 years ago in 2004.
A city task force completed a 2014 Supplement to Area Community Plan, just beyond the 5- to 10-year normal time period of standard planning practice updates. The takeaway from this supplement was: participants identified “infill” within the city as a top priority for growth, and they prioritized “infill” over “annexation” in their plans for future growth (see the Steamboat Springs 2004 Supplement).
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Why are we extending city services and placing the city at a financial risk without solving our present problems: traffic, financial impacts and, of course, affordable housing for people whose income is 80% or less of the area median income? We should update our long-range plan for Steamboat Springs before we consider adding land through annexation.
Vote “no” on the annexation by June 25. Ballots can be put in dropbox behind the Routt County Courthouse at 810 Lincoln Ave.
Stephen M. Aigner
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