City looks at housing rules

Developers may be required to include affordable options

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Affordable housing could become a requirement in Steamboat Springs tonight.

The Steamboat Springs City Council will conduct a second reading of an inclusionary zoning ordinance at a meeting tonight. The ordinance would require that 15 percent or more of the units in future residential developments meet the city's definition of affordable.

What: Steamboat Springs City Council meeting

When: 5 p.m. today

Where: Citizens' Meeting Room, Centennial Hall, 124 10th St.

Because it is a second reading of the ordinance, approval would make it a regulation. The council also could deny approval of the ordinance or table the issue until another meeting.

The affordable units would be deed restricted based on Routt County's annual median income, which last was calculated at $72,700 for a family of four. Affordable units would go to families making 60 percent to 120 percent of the AMI, with an income average of 90 percent.

City planners and others have made several revisions to the ordinance since the council last read it Jan. 24.

One of the changes is the addition of a "no net loss" provision that would require developers who demolish affordable units to provide the same number of new ones.

The council also will review a pre-application for a project that would bring a Walgreens drug store to Steamboat. The project, called Steamboat Crossing North, would be at U.S. Highway 40 and Pine Grove Road. It includes two linked proposals, one commercial and one residential. The commercial element includes retail buildings, an office building and the Walgreens, which would be 14,820 square feet.

Because the Walgreens would be more than 12,000 square feet, the city's "big-box" ordinance would apply. Therefore, the project will have to go through a process that requires that the project's public benefits outweigh the environmental effects.

During a city Planning Commission meeting earlier this month, commissioners agreed that they wanted to see more public benefit, including more affordable housing.

Scott Pedersen of Pedersen Development said Monday that he has improved the project. Originally, he was going to include 17 affordable residential units out of 108. That number meets the 15 percent that would be required if the council passes the inclusionary zoning ordinance tonight. Now, Pedersen is considering building as many as 20 percent affordable units. Pedersen also is considering studio units above garages, enhancement of garages, a traffic circle and parking spaces that could be used for Young Tracks Preschool and Child Care Center during business hours.

Because the project is a pre-application, council members will provide feedback but will not make any decisions.

In other business, the council will receive a written report concerning the possibility of a recreation center in Steamboat. The report comes from consultants Ballard King & Associates, who gathered information through public comment and citizen focus groups.

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