The Yampa Valley Housing Authority recommended decreasing the amount of affordable housing required in developments west of Steamboat Springs.
The housing authority is asking the city and county to reduce the requirement that one-third of all developments in the West of Steamboat Springs Area Plan be affordable. Instead, the housing authority is proposing that 15 percent of all development be permanent, deed-restricted affordable housing.
What: Steamboat Springs City Council meeting When: 5 p.m. today Where: Centennial Hall, 124 10th St.
To help make up for the loss of affordable housing in the west of Steamboat plan, the authority is proposing that new development or redevelopment within the city limits come with an affordable housing requirement.
"It's not a heavy-handed approach," housing authority director Elizabeth Black said. "We want to present something that will work."
Tonight, the Steamboat Springs City Council and Routt County Board of Com--missioners will review the housing authority's recommendations to change the west of Steamboat plan.
Black said she spent 50 to 80 hours researching inclusionary zoning regulations throughout the state and country. The housing authority board then reviewed the research and made policy recommendations for the council and commissioners.
The revision process for the west of Steamboat plan, which began earlier this year, prompted the housing authority's review.
Since the west of Steamboat plan was approved in 1999, landowners have said the affordable housing component was too high and prohibited development.
Black said the 15 percent figure would be more in line with what other communities are doing, which is between 10 percent and 20 percent.
"Thirty-three percent was completely unacceptable to property owners. Nothing is going to happen out there," Black said.
Inclusionary zoning at 10 percent would be too low and would not provide the community with the affordable housing it needs, Black said, and she noted that 15 percent is a high number.
The housing authority also recommended incentives for developers who would want to provide more affordable housing than the mandatory 15 percent.
The more affordable housing a developer provides, the more benefits the developer could receive in greater densities, fee and permit waivers and reduced tap fees.
"It doesn't do any good when you don't get any units built," Black said. "We may end up with 22 percent versus 15 percent, and 22 percent versus zero is a really good thing."
The 15 percent requirement is expected to generate 390 affordable housing units, which Black said is less than half of the community's affordable housing needs. To help meet the need, Black said, the housing authority is suggesting a citywide inclusionary zoning policy.
In July, the board asked the council to consider inclusionary zoning throughout the city and expects to hear an answer tonight.
"It should be a community-wide requirement," Black said. "What is good for west of Steamboat is good for the rest of Steamboat."
The housing authority's plan also would allow for a fee-in-lieu of option, in which developers could give money for affordable housing, instead of building units.
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