YVHA to buy Fish Creek park

Plan is to keep property as it is, with 68 mobile home units

Mike Lawrence
Fish Creek Mobile Home Park is nestled between the snow-packed slopes of Mount Werner, and the scenic banks of the Yampa River with easy access to the Yampa River Botanic Park and the Yampa River Core Trail.
John F. Russell

City Council Agenda for Tuesday

4 p.m. Council meets as the Steamboat Springs Redevelopment Authority to discuss construction projects at the base of Steamboat Ski Area

5 p.m. Resolutions, staff reports

5:30 p.m. Meeting with the Yampa Valley Housing Authority

7 p.m. Public comment

7:30 p.m. Council consideration of an ordinance that would temporarily ban new permits for vacation home rentals containing four bedrooms or more

— The Yampa Valley Housing Authority will buy the Fish Creek Mobile Home Park, providing security to 68 households at the eight-acre park along the Yampa River southeast of downtown Steamboat Springs.

Mary Alice Page-Allen, president of the Housing Authority, said the property is under contract. The contract includes “several contingencies” and has a closing date of July 31.

“At this point, we haven’t put the financial package together. We have a lot of work to do in that regard,” Page-Allen said.

Steamboat residents Bob and Audrey Enever have owned the mobile home park since 1975. Bob Enever said the couple recently decided to sell the property and approached the Housing Authority first to provide a solution that “will be good for the tenants.”

Page-Allen and Housing Authority Executive Director Elizabeth Black said the Housing Authority will not displace any tenants, and will do its best to keep rental rates affordable, should the sale be finalized.

“We plan on operating it as a mobile home park, in the same manner that the Enevers have for many years,” Black said.

That could bring welcome security to Fish Creek Mobile Home Park residents.

Owners of mobile homes often do not own the land beneath their homes, and can lose their plot if a landowner or developer changes the land’s use. In September of 2006, nearly 40 homeowners left Westland Mobile Home Park on Yampa Street in order to make way for Riverwalk, a residential and commercial development scheduled to begin construction this summer. Nearly all of the homes at Westland were demolished. The remaining homes were moved off-site.

While Riverwalk Steamboat LLC, managed by local developer Jim Cook, first notified Westland residents of the development plans in April 2003, the transition was an example of Steamboat’s booming development and a contrasting, concurrent need for affordable housing.

Black said the Housing Authority is closing on final sales of homes in the 30-unit Fox Creek development on Hilltop Parkway, and also planning its next project, construction of the Elk River Village development on Routt County Road 129. Although the Housing Authority has struggled with finances in recent months, Black said $250,000 in grant funds, closings at Fox Creek and long-term financing will factor into the purchase of Fish Creek Mobile Home Park.

Housing Authority officials will meet with the Steamboat Springs City Council tonight at Centennial Hall to continue discussions about how to best manage housing needs in the Yampa Valley.

“We’re going to look at all of our financing options,” Page-Allen said of Fish Creek. “The purchasing model is going to have to stand on its own.”

Tonight’s City Council meeting also includes the first reading of an ordinance that would place a temporary ban, or moratorium, on permits for vacation home rentals containing four bedrooms or more. Vacation home rentals are homes in residential neighborhoods that are rented to short-term vacationers and sometimes used for private functions.

Last week, the council decided not to extend a temporary ban – due to expire May 7 – on new vacation home rental permits. Monday, city attorney Tony Lettunich said the council is re-considering that decision.

“I think there might have been some second thoughts about completely eliminating the moratorium,” Lettunich said. “There may be a relationship between the larger vacation home rentals and the impact on neighborhoods.”

Evlyn Berge, who manages vacation rentals at 24 homes and is president of the Steamboat Springs Vacation Home Rentals Alliance, said the alliance “didn’t have a clue” the City Council might re-consider last week’s decision. She added banning permits for rentals of four bedrooms or more would impact nearly all of the industry, which includes more than 100 homes in the Steamboat area.

“The majority of vacation home rentals are four bedrooms or larger,” she said.

At tonight’s meeting, the City Council will only hear a first reading of the ordinance – a second reading must occur before final approval.

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