Housing study looks at what is available, needed

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— Consultants are about to begin a countywide housing study that would provide information on what housing is available and the policies needed to create more.

City Planner Tom Leeson said RRC Associates, the company that did the 2002 Community Survey, will do the housing needs assessment. Leeson said the assessment would look at the existing housing stock in all of Routt County.

"It will look at the supply and demand," Leeson said. "Where are we short and why we are short? And what we can do to get that as a bigger part of the market."

He said looking at affordable housing would be part of the analysis. The consultants will also look at the demand in various income groups and the housing available for seniors, the disabled and single parents. Along with the housing market data, the consultants will provide information on what policies can be put in place.

The county has not had a housing study since 1995. The assessment will be part of the Steamboat Springs Area Community Plan Update and could be done as early as the end of March.

"It is a very big component of the housing portion of the community plan update," Leeson said. "We really need to have a very good understanding of the housing needs of the community in order to establish policy."

The $25,000 housing study is funded in part by a state grant and the rest is split between the county and city. Last year, the city received a $12,500 grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs for the study.

RRC Associates was one of two companies that bid on the study. Clarion Associates, which is the consultant working on the community plan, was the other company.

A combination of the state providing the funds later than expected and deciding how to split the bill led to a late start for the study. Leeson said March 31 is set as an aggressive date for when the study should be completed.

Leeson would like to see the study completed in time to coincide with the next phase of the community plan, which is when consultants will provide alternatives to how citizens would like to see Steamboat grow.

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