Saturday, February 9, 2002
Yampa If a multi-jurisdictional housing authority comes to the Yampa Valley, it will do so without the support of some South Routt residents.
Routt County commissioners and representatives from Steamboat Springs presented the concept of a housing authority to the Yampa Town Board and Yampa residents Wednesday night.
Yampa, however, gave them an unofficial thumbs down.
Commissioners and Steamboat officials wanted to determine the town's interest in joining other governmental entities in a housing authority that might provide more affordable housing to Yampa Valley residents.
"It didn't go the way they thought it would go," said Yampa resident Don Kosnik.
Kosnik was one of a few dozen people who filled the room to capacity.
He came to the meeting to find out if the housing authority was "just another scam to subsidize the tourist industry in Steamboat," Kosnik said.
The size of the audience surprised Mayor Pro Tempe John Anarella, who said he had not anticipated so many residents to offer their input and pose questions.
When the town trustees opened up the floor to public comment, Anarella said, residents gave different reasons for their hesitation about the proposal but sent the same message.
They didn't want their town to be a part of a housing authority, he said.
"A lot of people were concerned about what it would do for this town," he said. "Folks weren't really in favor of it."
The commissioners requested that the Yampa Town Board send them a letter regarding their decision to participate in the possible development of a multi-jurisdictional housing authority.
Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said she has a good idea of what the board's answer might be.
"The people of Yampa made it clear that they were not interested," Stahoviak said.
When discussion shifts to affordable housing, she said, it's not unusual that people show concern about the negative effects that might follow.
Some residents wanted to know the difference between low-income and affordable housing, and whether Yampa's involvement in the housing authority would bring low-income housing to town, she said.
Stahoviak said commissioners and Steamboat representatives did not know what kind of response they would get at future town board meetings.
"It's up to each town whether or not they want it," she said.
A multi-jurisdictional housing authority would be able to impose taxes and issue tax-exempt revenue bonds.
Revenue from a tax increase approved by the voters could contribute to the creation of affordable housing options in outlying communities but taxes require the approval of voters who live within the authority's district boundaries.
The presentation in Yampa kicked off a series of three meetings that target Steamboat's outlying towns.
A meeting will be held Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. in Oak Creek and Feb. 21 at 7:30 p.m. in Hayden.