West Steamboat annexation talks resume Tuesday at a ‘critical’ meeting
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The developers who have now spent nearly two years trying to get three new neighborhoods annexed into west Steamboat Springs will ask the city’s elected officials on Tuesday to consider a term sheet to move the development forward.
“This is a very critical meeting,” West Steamboat Neighborhoods managing partner Melissa Sherburne said Thursday at a public lunch meeting hosted by the Young Professionals Network. “For us, it’s now or never.”
Talks between Brynn Grey Partners and the Steamboat Springs City Council have been on a hiatus for several months while a consultant worked to estimate what financial impact the development would have on the city.
The study answers such questions as the cost of city services ranging from snowplowing to police.
Sherburne didn’t get into the details of the completed study at the Thursday meeting, saying she wanted to be sensitive about revealing any details before discussing them with the council on Tuesday.
Instead, she touted the benefits the development would bring ranging from reducing the number of miles some local workers would have to drive to commute to town, space for a potential new school and a new grocery store.
She also claimed the development would be revenue neutral and “pay its own way.”
“We’ve been working on this for a very long time,” Sherburne said. “We’ve done every study we can. If not us, then who? And if not now, when?”
It isn’t clear yet how the City Council will react to the offer to move ahead with a term sheet and pre-annexation agreement.
City staff posted the results of the fiscal impact study shortly after 5 p.m. Thursday.
According to a summary, the study estimates the development would pull about $55,000, or $121 per home, per year from the city’s general fund at full build-out.
But city officials wrote in their analysis, they think the 450-unit development would end up costing the city’s general fund $97,263 a year, or $216 per unit built.
The different estimates stem from different growth projections in the city.
The analysis estimated the sales tax revenue the development would bring while also estimating the annual cost of city services the development would require.
The city’s elected officials, as well as some residents, have raised a number of concerns about the potential annexation at previous meetings ranging from the developers’ proposal to delay the installation of some water-related infrastructure that would normally be required earlier in a development as well as the potential cost of the development to the city’s taxpayers.
In the summer, city staff and the developers also had differing ideas for how much the development should pitch in for highway improvements near the new neighborhoods.
Tuesday’s work session could offer the most clarity to date on how the council is feeling about a potential annexation.
After listening to Sherburne discuss the latest developments on Thursday, Steamboat real estate agent Matt Eidt encouraged other young professionals to show up at Tuesday’s meeting to counter “old curmudgeons” who he said have been telling the council Steamboat is fine the way it is.
The public might also soon learn whether the council would want the potential development to go to a public vote before it is approved, an idea that was introduced early in the council’s talks with Brynn Grey.
Brynn Grey initially floated the idea of proactively going to voters to get approval for an annexation.
But in July, Brynn Grey CEO David O’Neil said he wasn’t feeling the need for a community vote on the proposal.
It will ultimately be up to the City Council to decide first whether to move forward with an annexation, then, whether the proposal should go to voters for approval.
Ahead of the discussions with the council, Brynn Grey has started a new paid membership program that would give prospective residents who enroll in it certain perks, including the ability to get a better spot on any waitlist for the homes in West Steamboat neighborhoods.
Sherburne touted the new Pioneers program on Thursday as a way for those who are interested in the development to be able to offer their input during the planning process.
Pioneers who make a $100 down payment will be eligible for priority waitlist and home selection and will also be invited to participate in design focus groups, according to a new website created for the development.
To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10.
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