Planned impact study for housing proceeding

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— Routt County will move ahead with an impact study on affordable housing despite the defeat of an affordable housing tax in the city of Steamboat Springs.
"The issue isn't going away," said Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak. "We need to determine whether there's a connection between the need for affordable housing and the construction that is going on in rural Routt County."
For example, if the impact study finds the new construction of second homes drives up land costs and makes it harder for local residents to buy land and build homes, the commissioners might authorize an impact fee on new construction.
The money would then be used to help provide affordable housing to Routt County residents.
This year, the Steamboat Springs City Council acknowledged there was a problem with high land costs and asked the voters to approve an excise tax that would allow the city to collect money for affordable housing. The excise tax was soundly defeated during Tuesday's election.
The Routt County Board of Commissioners wouldn't have to take a similar impact "fee" to the ballot box. Instead, they would take the impact study and hold public meetings so residents could discuss and debate the impact fee. The three county commissioners would then vote on the impact fee themselves.
The commissioners have already authorized a Denver-based group to conduct the impact study. It's expected to be finished by the end of March.

To reach Frances Hohl call 871-4208 or e-mail fhohl@amigo.net

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