I am writing on behalf of the Community Alliance of the Yampa Valley. The Steamboat Springs inclusionary zoning ordinance was established for the primary purpose of providing homes for the working people of our community.
New developments create the need for more workers, and the inclusionary zoning ordinance is designed to make sure that these new workers have places to live. It doesn't make any requirement of the developer beyond just meeting the new housing need that a development generates. It is designed to make sure that working people can continue to live within our community along with our visitors. Steamboat has always been a "Western small town."
That reputation comes from people who live and work here. These people are a key to making Steamboat what it is. We are also defined by our beautiful landscape, our open spaces and hayfields and ranches, and the people who belong to them. This is who we are. The inclusionary zoning ordinance is one tool to maintain and protect our sense of community.
If the inclusionary zoning ordinance and its application seem unpredictable, it is because members of the development community made it so. The ordinance has several compliance methods that are cut and dry: build units onsite, provide units off site, donate land in lieu of units on or off site, or some combination of the above. The ordinance also has discretionary or unpredictable options: payment in lieu of housing at the discretion of City Council, and a final option of make your own offer that is of equal or greater value to providing the units.
Council is right to exercise its discretion and deny the payment in lieu option for One Steamboat Place. (The fee of) $24,000 is simply not enough to build a home, and council would be irresponsible if it accepted the money.
This issue is about making sure development is done right. We want developments for which our children will thank us. City Council is supporting and pursuing responsible development. It is not stifling or opposing development. It already has approved Wildhorse Meadows, Riverwalk, Harbor Hotel redevelopment and the Nites Rest redevelopment, and another on the corner of Yampa and Fifth streets. It has labored to make these developments good for our community. The work council did to meet the needs of the West End Mobile Home Park residents is unprecedented in our community or any other community.
Our community has a legacy of not addressing these more difficult problems. This council is tackling this backlog, and they should be commended for doing so. This is a City Council that wants to make things work, and they are doing a good job. Keep it up.
President, Community Alliance
of the Yampa Valley