West Steamboat Neighborhoods annexation approved: What now?
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — With the ballot question on the West Steamboat Neighborhoods annexation now answered, the community is looking ahead to what happens next.
Though results are still preliminary, the annexation was approved with 59.7% of voters in favor of the proposal and 40.3% opposed.
“The next focus for us is building homes, and we can’t wait,” said Brynn Grey Partners Managing Partner Melissa Sherburne.
The developers will be working to check off a to-do list of actions laid out as conditions required to be met before the annexation ordinance can take effect.
Brynn Grey has until 60 days after the results of the election are certified to negotiate an access agreement to connect the development to U.S. Highway 40. With certification expected to be complete by July 5, that deadline is expected to come around Sept. 3.
Brynn Grey has until Nov. 12 to acquire the property from its current owner, Steamboat 700.
Some other conditions have already been met. An approved regulating plan and property zoning are on file and will take effect once the annexation ordinance is in place.
Beth Melton, chair of the Yes to Locals Housing committee, thanked volunteers who helped with the campaign.
“I am thrilled,” she said. “As we were talking to people and knocking on doors, it was really inspiring to hear how much people care about the future of our community and about being able to house families and our workforce. I think that this vote really demonstrates that.”
Rich Levy, a member of the Let’s Vote Steamboat committee that opposed the annexation, said the group will continue to stand up for the community as a whole.
“Our goal was to make this a public vote to allow the citizens of Steamboat to have their voice heard, and to some degree, we have heard that,” he said. “(I’m) a little disappointed with low turnout even though both sides had said this could be the most important vote for quite some time.
“We hope West Steamboat Neighborhoods can fulfill all its goals,” he added.
About 43% of Steamboat’s voters cast a ballot in the annexation special election. City Attorney Dan Foote said about 9,200 ballots were sent out, and 3,940 ballots were hand-counted by election judges Tuesday night.
City Clerk Julie Franklin estimated about 100 ballots could still come in from residents overseas and active duty members of the military as the Clerk’s Office works to cure mismatched or missing signatures on ballots cast.
This election saw a lower turnout than the Steamboat 700 election, a 700-acre annexation proposal that was rejected by voters in 2010. At the time, though Steamboat had about 900 fewer people living in the city limits, the election garnered more votes — 4,253 to be exact.
For comparison, according to the nonpartisan election reform organization FairVote, about 60% of voting Americans cast a ballot in a presidential election year and about 40% turn out for midterm elections.
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