Stephen M. Aigner: West Steamboat Neighborhoods does not provide attainable, affordable housing
I am a former professor of community development. I assess Steamboat Springs City Council’s decision to annex the West Steamboat Neighborhoods by examining the 2006 West Steamboat Springs Area Plan.
The concept of attainable, affordable housing and the degree to which the people who work to enforce the laws, teach our children and deliver services in Steamboat is defined by the ability to live here as a full citizen, just like the people they serve. If a community intends to truly fit the definition of community, those who represent the citizens — City Council members — need to make decisions that include everyone who works here as a full citizen.
The West Steamboat Springs Area Plan of 2006 laid out an inclusive approach to attainable, affordable housing for people who earned less the 80% of the area median income. However, the West Steamboat Neighborhoods amended annexation agreement (pages 36-39) does not provide permanent, attainable, affordable houses for residents to own in the Gateway neighborhood if their yearly income falls below 80% of the area median income.
Specifically, teachers, police officers and service providers whose annual 2016 income falls below $70,000 are in the “entry level” income range and may only be able to rent apartments. The West Steamboat Neighborhood development will not provide for-purchase housing for such persons who contribute vitally to our community.
The council’s approach to growth creates more problems. The council does not guarantee that people who provide essential, necessary community services are likely to be treated as full citizens of Steamboat Springs.
Stephen M. Aigner
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