Yampa Valley Housing Authority to present detailed Brown Ranch plan in October

The initial timeline would have presented three plans this summer, but options would have lacked significant differences

Jason Peasley, executive director of the Yampa Valley Housing Authority, talks with U.S. Sen. John Hickenlooper, D-Colorado, prior to a round table discussion about affordable housing issues on April 20, 2022, at the Brown Ranch west of Steamboat Springs. The ranch was purchased by the authority last August, and the group is now addressing the best ways to use the property to provide housing for residents.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

The team working on the Brown Ranch will no longer present three alternatives for the development to the community this summer, and will instead present one more developed plan in October.

The initial timeline had been to present multiple versions of how the Yampa Valley Housing Authority’s development could look to the community this summer, but Executive Director Jason Peasley said last week the topography of the Brown Ranch limits potential layouts when trying to incorporate features the community has said it wants.

“Remember that game where you’d have to pick out the differences between the two pictures? It’d be like that,” Peasley said, referring to differences between options, if they had come up with three as initially intended. “It would be like, this road is slightly higher and this one is slightly lower.”

Even when planners from lead designer Mithun Inc. presented three potential zoning layouts to the Steering Committee guiding the development at the end of April, those preliminary options lacked significant differences.

Peasley said that after spending nine months gathering input from the community — an effort that reached about a quarter of Steamboat’s population — it is time to let the technical consultants put that information into practice on the site.

“(The community) wants really high quality contiguous open space. Okay, we are providing that,” Peasley said. “As it relates to where the commercial nodes are and how the blocks layout, it’s the topography that is really telling us a lot about where all that wants to go.”

The housing authority plans to hold a large public meeting to present the plan on Oct. 6, according to a June update. This meeting will likely be similar to meetings held at String Music Pavilion last fall to present the Brown Ranch to the community for the first time.

“We’re going to take everything that we have heard from the community and tie it directly to how we were thinking about design, what that design looks like,” Peasley said.

Gallery caption: Three options presented to the Brown Ranch Steering Committee in April had few significant differences in terms of land use. | Brown Ranch Steering Committee/Courtesy

For example, the community wants open space so the plan presented in October will explain how that desire played into planning, what the design for that open space will be and who would be the steward of that open space long term, Peasley said.

Rather than a decision point, Peasley said the October meeting would likely be about getting the community’s broad reaction to the plan they have crafted for the Brown Ranch. While there will be one plan, Peasley emphasized it will be flexible and will be able to adjust as the development builds out over 20 years.

“(October’s plan will) have a really good understanding of what that first southeast corner by Overlook (Subdivision) and Sleepy Bear (Mobile home Park) — what that’s going to look like,” Peasley said, referring to the area being talked about as part of phase 1A on the project. “And then sort of more guiding principals as to what the remainder will build out like.”

“We want to provide the flexibility to create community — the backbone to create community and allow that to be created organically,” Peasley continued.

The October plan will likely come about a month before Steamboat Springs voters are asked to decide on a tax on short-term rentals that would support infrastructure costs for the Brown Ranch, which have been estimated at about $400 million for both on- and off-site work.

Steamboat Springs City Council is expected to continue efforts to put a tax question on November’s ballot at their meeting on June 20.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.