Survey stresses local concern over growth

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— Eighty percent of the people responding to a city survey last summer think Steamboat should control its rate of growth, and 56 percent of those polled would support a moratorium on new development. The results of the survey were released this week.

Steamboat Springs City Council members will meet with their constituents in May to talk with them about their growing community and other results of the survey.

Councilman Jim Engelken said he hopes his constituents in District II will study and analyze the results of the survey prior to the neighborhood meeting.

"Hopefully, they'll come with some ideas on how to implement what the survey is suggesting, such as controlling growth," Engelken said.

The results of the survey could lead the city to take a step back and reevaluate its direction, Engelken said.

"It's pretty clear there are a few issues that jump out and people want action," he said. "This is kind of a new thing -- controlling growth. The history of capitalist society is that growth is a good thing. We need to reevaluate, if 80 percent of us want growth controlled. We need to take a close look at what mechanism that will take."

The series of three neighborhood meetings, one for each council district, will lead up to an overall town meeting. City Manager Paul Hughes said the Council will look to its constituents to analyze the results of the survey.

More than 1,500 people completed the survey. That number represents about 12 percent of the 13,000 surveys distributed. The results have been tabulated and reported in a special insert published in this issue of Steamboat Today, as well as this week's Steamboat Pilot.

Based on the sample, the survey shows that growth is on the mind of the community. About 57 percent of the respondents felt Steamboat's rate of growth is unacceptable. Another 23.5 percent felt Steamboat's growth rate is average, but only 13 percent rated it either acceptable or very acceptable. The sentiments about growth were more dramatic when people were asked if Steamboat should control its growth.

The survey showed that 51.2 percent of respondents indicated "strong support" for controlling growth, while 28.6 percent "supported" it.

Many of the questions related to growth allowed respondents to indicate a neutral position, and it wasn't uncommon for 15 to 20 percent of those polled to say they were neutral on the issue.

The idea of a moratorium on new development also earned support -- 31.3 percent, or 484 respondents, were in strong support and 25.1 percent "supported" it. Those who either opposed or strongly opposed a moratorium totaled 22.2 percent, or 344 respondents.

Fewer people embraced the notion of increasing local sales taxes to help manage the impacts of growth.

Attitudes on growth stood out from the survey results, but City Council is apt to be just as interested in a section of the survey devoted to "future directions."

Asked if the city should be more supportive of local working families with children, 59 percent of the respondents, or more than 900 people, either agreed or strongly agreed.

The prospect of a new performing arts center in Steamboat garnered strong support from 20 percent of the respondents and "support" from another 33 percent. But, the question of using public funds to build a performing arts center split the community as evenly as any question on the poll.

The total of people showing some level of support for the concept was 34.2 percent, or 530. Strong support was indicated by 203 people. But, 508 people (32.8 percent) were opposed; 205 of them strongly. And there were plenty of people who didn't feel strongly either way; 435 were neutral on the subject.


Steamboat Springs City Council members will be meeting with their constituents to discuss the results of a recent city survey. The dates for those meetings are:


* District I 7-9 p.m., May 1 at Olympian Hall, Kevin Bennett and Bud Romberg presenting

  • District II 7-9 p.m. May 15 at the Steamboat Springs Community Center, Arianthtettner and Jim Engelken presenting
  • District III 7-9 p.m. May 8 at the Mormon Church, Kathy Connell and Paul Strong presenting


-- To reach Tom Ross call 871-4210, or e-mail tomross@amigo.net

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