Tuesday, November 11, 2003
The housing section of the Steamboat Springs Community Area Plan received the most attention during Tuesday's joint meeting with the City Council and City Planning Commission.
The two boards talked about how to implement a job-to-housing linkage program; the need for language to make it easier for mobile home parks to be converted into owner occupied developments; limiting the size of houses; and inclusionary zoning.
Tonight, the city will meet with Routt County Commissioners to review the plan. The group most likely will discuss the city's policy on mineral extractions within the city limits and zoning uses.
The council and Planning Commission discussed the benefits and perils that came with requiring businesses to ensure new employees have housing in Steamboat.
Planning Commission Chairwoman Kathi Meyer said adopting a rigid job-to-housing linkage program could stall new business development. Meyer said the council would have to look very carefully at how the program would work and whether it would exempt current businesses and only be imposed on new ones.
"We fear it could have negative ramifications," Meyer said.
City Planner Tom Leeson said the jobs-to-housing linkage in the plan was just a policy statement and did not come with any recommendations on how it should be implemented. He said that even in the housing working group, members did not agree on whether a linkage program should be included in the plan.
Council members talked about sending the issue to the proposed growth commission, which is intended to look at which growth management tools the plan should include. The issue also could be a discussion item for the proposed multijurisdictional housing authority, other council members said.
The city also discussed whether the plan should limit the maximum size of homes in Old Town.
Planning Commissioner Dick Curtis said limiting the size of homes preserves the area's historic character.
"It is seen in Routt County and throughout the country: enormously large homes that don't fit in," Curtis said. "It's an important area to look at in the future."
Councilman Ken Brenner said that in Pitkin County, they discovered that very large homes required additional staff but that the communities could not house the staff needed to maintain the homes.
The council also discussed making sure that cultural tourism was encouraged in the economic sustainability chapter. In that chapter, Meyer asked that more attention be given to the development of the base of the ski area.
"It is such a major part of economic development. My suggestion would be to beef it up a little bit," Meyer said.