Base area, housing back on table

City Council to again tackle tough, lingering questions at meeting

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— The two most complex and contentious issues currently facing the Steamboat Springs City Council are on today's agenda.

The council is scheduled to address base area redevelopment and the city's affordable housing policies today, starting with a 4 p.m. meeting as the Steamboat Springs Redevelopment Authority at Centennial Hall.

That meeting is part of an open house hosted by city planners and base area development consultants, who will present the council with proposed plans, costs and materials for 2007 construction projects at the base area. City Finance Director Don Taylor said the Redevelopment Authority is proposing a 2007 budget of more than $7.2 million to finance projects including a roundabout at Ski Time Square near the Steamboat Trading Company and the Tugboat Grill & Pub, a walkway from the Gondola Transit Center to Ski Time Square, increased signage and an expanded snowmelt system for public walkways.

The City Council implemented an Urban Renewal Authority at the base area in 2005 as a special taxation district to raise money for public improvements in the area.

Taylor said the URA is expected to raise $420,000 in sales tax revenues and $260,000 in property tax revenues in 2007. Those revenues will pay off a $7 million bond for years to come, Taylor said.

"That will probably be a 20-year bond issue," Taylor said.

Action on the proposed redevelopment budget is scheduled for tonight.

At 5 p.m., the council will begin a work session to continue addressing Steamboat's affordable housing needs. The work session is the second in a series of meetings the council is conducting with housing consultant Melanie Rees and staff from RRC Associates, a research and consulting firm based in Boulder.

At a meeting Nov. 28, Rees and council members discussed a vision for community housing goals in Steamboat. Rees told the council that according to a 2003 housing assessment study, Steamboat has a need for 400 to 500 new homes simply to "catch up" with the housing demand created by job growth. To then "keep up" with the continuing demand, Rees said, about 100 new homes could be needed per year in the future.

Tonight, the council will view a draft Community Housing Implementation Program, which outlines housing objectives and actions while addressing possible mitigation strategies such as fees from developers, off-site housing development and land use.

Comments

yeahbo 8 years ago

This is the most qualified person for the job: Melanie Rees has headed her own consulting firm since 1991, specializing in the preparation of housing market studies and needs assessments. She is a recognized expert in the problems of affordable housing in high-cost resort communities. In recent years, she has focused her skills on urban redevelopment projects and housing for seniors. Generating recommendations for mixed-use projects, public/private partnerships, and innovative housing design is one of her strong interests.

Prior to forming her own business, Ms. Rees was an economist for the State of Colorado for five years, and worked in the City of Flagstaff Community Development Department where she administered a housing rehabilitation program and coordinated both Section 8 new construction and HUD 202 congregate care projects.

Ms. Rees holds a Masters in Business Administration and undergraduate degrees in economics and political science. She is often a featured speaker at state and national conferences including Colorado Housing NOW, APP, and NAHRO. She got her start in the housing industry through her father, a residential contractor.

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another_local 8 years ago

Ms. Rees is more advocate than advisor. She is very knowledgable to be sure, but she also has an agenda.

Her answer to everything is to build more new housing. She used inflated numbers to justify her recomendations and she is quick to point out what does not work. Unfortunatly, she has NO recomendations to offer where she can point to where the idea has worked before.

I did appreciate that she cautioned our council from going into the construction business. I certainly hope they listen to that advice!

I wish she had more confidence in the private sector. If given appropriate incentives and public support in the form of zoning and variances, the private sector will do a better job than the city ever will at creating housing.

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