City to take part in second-home study

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The city of Steamboat Springs will be part of the second phase of a second-home owners study conducted by the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments.

This fall, the Steamboat Springs City Council agreed to spend $11,200 per year to renew its membership in the organization, which conducted a detailed second-home survey this summer on four nearby counties. The city's 2005 membership in the organization will make it eligible for the study. The city had been a member of the organization at one time.

"We have already told them we wanted to be involved with (the study)," City Manager Paul Hughes said.

The first phase of the second-home owner study looked at the social and economic effects of second homes in Grand, Eagle, Summit and Pitkin counties.

One of the study's major findings was that second homes increase the demand for lower-paying service jobs. At the same time more jobs are needed, the people working those jobs have a harder time affording to live in those communities because of the increasing costs of housing, which is partly driven by the demand for second homes.

Liz Finn, Assistant Director of the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments, told the council Nov. 9 that Glenwood Springs and the four counties that took part in the initial study also were interested in participating in the second round of surveys.

The second phase will bring new participants up to speed with the counties, Finn said, and will gather new information, such as what is happening with the second homes that are being sold and turned over to new ownership.

Hughes said Routt County had sent a letter to the city indicating it was not interested in participating in the study. Hughes said even without data from the county, the survey would gather valuable information for the area.

Along with the second-home owners study, membership into the organization, which caters to 26 jurisdictions in five counties, will provide the city with other services.

Finn said the organization provides the resources for community surveys and research projects, has technical assistance for grants and collaborates on regional initiatives.

"We become what our members want us to be, and our members wanted us to be direct-service providers," Finn said.

Because of the city's membership, anyone who has an elevator inspected inside the city limits and by the organization will get a $20 discount.

For the past few years, the council has talked about the benefits of the organization and the valuable information that would come out of the second-home owners study. Tight budget years resulted in the city waiting until 2005 to join.

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