Yampa Valley Housing Authority seeks to capitalize on momentum | SteamboatToday.com

Yampa Valley Housing Authority seeks to capitalize on momentum

Open door for housing

The Yampa Valley Housing Authority meets Jan. 12 to consider adopting the findings of the citizens housing steering committee and begin forming a funding committee of its own to access outside funding sources to build the authority's next projects.

— The Yampa Valley Housing Authority's first meeting of the new year, set for Jan. 12, will be a big one, both in terms of the length of the agenda and its importance.

High on the list of topics the housing authority will tackle is adoption of the recommendations of the citizens housing steering committee that were presented to the Steamboat Springs City Council and Routt County Board of Commissioners Dec. 13. The report called for the creation of 700 new housing units within four years to close the gap between existing supply and demand.

Housing Authority Executive Director Jason Peasley cautioned Jan. 9 against expecting his group to break ground on another housing project in 2017, but instead said to watch for significant progress in laying the groundwork for future projects.

"We're going to make a lot of progress this coming year," Peasley said. "We want to be in a position where people are watching and the community is interested, because we have so much going on."

Housing Authority Board Chairman Roger Ashton said with the higher visibility that comes as a result of the steering committee's call to action, he expects his group will be subject to greater scrutiny in 2017 than in the past.

"A lot of it's going to be up to us now," Ashton said. "We'll be reporting back to the city and county and making sure we're looking forward."

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Adoption of the report will imply the housing authority is prepared to take the lead in delivering on its promise. But setting the course to actually deliver 700 new housing units for four different economic categories of households will depend upon the authority's ability to leverage more funding.

Also on Thursday's agenda is the goal of assembling an effective finance committee that can tap into available funding options, such as the federal tax credits used to build The Reserves 48-unit, income-restricted apartment complex, which is nearing completion on the city's west side.

Peasley said Monday the discussion about the funding committee will likely pertain to its makeup — "What it will look like and who should be on it." And, the discussion about funding options will be educational. The goal is for the members of the authority board to "understand what's in our tool chest when trying to help provide more housing supply." Peasley said.

Ashton said he believes it's critical for the authority to keep housing issues in the forefront of peoples' minds and important to look beyond the Steamboat Springs city limits in efforts to close the housing gap.

"The housing authority needs to be mindful that we're not the city of Steamboat Springs Housing Authority," Ashton said. "The solution may not just reside in Steamboat. I can't believe how many buildable lots there are in Hayden, and there are buildable lots in Stagecoach. A part of the solution is the rest of the county."

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1

County cites its efforts to promote housing

The Routt County Board of Commissioners learned Jan. 9 it had been invited to meet March 7 with Steamboat Springs City Council to discuss housing issues.

In the meantime, Commissioner Cari Hermacinski sent an e-mail to Yampa Valley Housing Authority Executive Director Jason Peasley this week outlining 13 measures the county has undertaken to support development of housing, not the least of which is helping to fund the authority since its inception.

A sampling of other initiatives includes liberalizing regulations on accessory dwelling units in an effort to encourage creation of more units and keeping more housing units in the long-term rental pool by prohibiting short-term vacation rentals in the unincorporated county.

If you go

What: Yampa Valley Housing Authority sets agenda for staying in the public’s view and taking concrete steps to funding more community housing projects.

When: noon, Jan. 12

Where: Board of Commissioners’ Hearing Room, Routt County Courthouse, 522 Lincoln Ave.

More information: At the top of the agenda is a homeowner’s detailed, and perhaps time-consuming, request for a release from the affordable housing deed restriction on a specific condominium at Howelsen Place.