Friday, February 11, 2005
While the Steamboat Springs City Council developed its list of goals for 2005, the topic of affordable housing kept rising to the surface.
Council members spent Friday afternoon at a retreat discussing what they hope to accomplish in the year to come and prioritizing where the council should be spending money.
Among conversations about consolidation, updating community plans and transportation needs, affordable housing took top billing as a discussion item.
In their 2005 goals, council members said they wanted to work with the Yampa Valley Regional Housing Authority to develop an affordable housing matrix, look at inclusionary zoning requirements and mobile home parks.
Council members also took a few minutes to state where they stand on affordable housing. Councilman Loui Antonucci, who is on the housing authority board, said updating the West of Steamboat Springs Area Plan is crucial to affordable housing.
"The longer we delay, the more prices are going to go up," he said.
He also said making the city's building requirements less restrictive would help affordable housing. He pointed to the city requiring an 8-foot sidewalk in front of the Fox Creek affordable housing development, which will cost each homeowner an extra $1,000.
He also said some of the city's infrastructure requirements, such as building standards for emergency-vehicle turnarounds, were impediments to affordable housing.
"It used to be a lot easier to build affordable housing than it is today. Besides the costs of land, they have government requirements," Antonucci said.
Council President Paul Strong said the city should start to bank land for affordable housing projects in the future and pointed to Aspen, which has programs set up to house city employees.
Councilman Steve Ivancie said that maybe the city should consider converting some open-space parcels into affordable housing projects.
Councilman Ken Brenner said he thinks units must be deed-restricted to make affordable housing work.
"The very first thing we have to agree on is to have permanently deed-restricted housing. We've got to have the political will to do that," Brenner.
Antonucci and Strong said deed restrictions only should go into place for those units that were government subsidized and not for those built by developers in the free market.
Along with affordable housing initiatives, council members set goals to update the Mountain Town Sub Area Plan and West of Steamboat Springs Area Plan. The council also wanted the city to work toward updating the community code.
Another goal was to look at getting City Council meetings broadcast online or on television. City Manager Paul Hughes said the easiest way to broadcast the meetings would be to do so online or after council meetings. To air the meetings in real time could be expensive and require hiring someone to tape the meetings.
-- To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229
or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org