Tyler Gibbs: Making the case to annex West Steamboat Neighborhoods
The concerns regarding West Steamboat Neighborhoods raised by the ‘no’ campaign actually provide an easy opportunity to make the case for approval. For example:
• Does West Steamboat Neighborhoods contribute to our “small town feel” and the vitality of our community? Yes, it is a connected, locals’ neighborhood in every sense. The future residents of the neighborhood will be able to fully participate in our community.
• Has there been adequate planning? Yes, the 2006 West Steamboat Springs Area Plan identified over 600 acres appropriate for private development within the urban growth boundary. The West Steamboat Neighborhoods’ 191 acres is less than one-third of that area.
• Does it pay its own way? Yes, and more.
West Steamboat Neighborhoods is required to build all infrastructure including water, sewer, roads, parks and open space and even buy the city a snowplow.
The city has determined that there is adequate water for West Steamboat Neighborhoods as well as all anticipated infill. West Steamboat Neighborhoods will contribute to funding a redundant water source that Steamboat needs in case of an emergency impacting other sources. This funding will not happen without West Steamboat Neighborhoods.
West Steamboat Neighborhoods contributes to highway improvements that may not happen if residents are pushed to outlying areas where they would have an even greater impact on county roads, the quality of our air and lifestyle. Compact local neighborhoods also make efficient transit options possible.
The annexation agreement delivers these benefits and affordability for an underserved segment of our community.
Our community has a variety of housing needs, and there is no single fix. The Yampa Valley Housing Authority’s mill levy is funding low-income housing development, and West Steamboat Neighborhoods will complement their work.
West Steamboat Neighborhoods must include market-rate housing to subsidize the deed-restricted, attainable units. In 2016, the Community Housing Steering Committee identified a need for up to 3,000 entry-level and move-up housing units by 2030. This neighborhood is a great start.
Delay only puts us further behind and less likely to retain our middle class. Ask the residents of Brynn Grey’s beautiful neighborhoods in Breckenridge and Frisco about the impact those neighborhoods have had on their ability to remain in those communities.
Being against West Steamboat Neighborhoods does not somehow equate to being for affordable housing. If this proposal fails, it is highly unlikely that there is someone waiting to propose another solution. In the meantime, those with adequate means will continue to bid up housing prices making it even harder for locals to remain.
Please vote “yes” on the West Steamboat Neighborhoods annexation.
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