Diane Brower: Keep it up, council

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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.

Diane Brower

President, Community Alliance

of the Yampa Valley

Comments

ThreeJobs 8 years, 1 month ago

Does the council think this affordable housing at the ski base thing is going to work? Let'sconsider another idea. Supose that the mountain and the businesses can't get people to work because they can't afford to live around here. What would happen in a free market? WAGES WOULD GO UP!

That's right. The wages to employees would have to be enough so that people could either afford to live around town or commute.

Did the council ever consider that what they are really doing is not really helping the workers but just the opposite?

Do we really want to entitle a few of our numbers with the privledge of living in a place we can't actually afford or do we want to let the FREE MARKET decide what we are worth?

Let me say it simply. Government dictated Communisum and socalist programs work against us in a democratic society. Let the free market decide what my services are worth.

If I can't afford to live in your community on what you are willing to pay me I'll go somewhere else. If I really wanted subsidised housing and low pay I would join the military.

I really want no part of a socialist program. It is not part of my American Dream.

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seabirth 8 years, 1 month ago

for me the main issue is how you go about creating affordable housing and where. i think we all want affordable housing so we can afford to live in this great place... but i have serious issues about what the current definition of "affordable housing" is.

the limits i have seen as far as income and net assets puts many of the professionals that have been talked about out of the affordable housing now available, especially if there is two incomes. plus, the lack of market appreciation (or a locked in rate) on the affordable housing to me makes it a bad idea.

to me the biggest flaw in the current affordable housing is below market appreciation. to me, this really leaves people out of one of the true benefits of long-term home ownership. while the last few years have seen the market appreciate faster than normal, the long term average home appreciation nationwide is far more than the paltry amount allowed in the affordable housing in steamboat. i think that if a real average appreciation for the community be used for affordable housing, it would make affordable housing much more attractive for those who do qualify.

when a savings account has a higher return than a house in a resort market.... that might not be a great deal to buy.

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Hadleyburg_Press 8 years, 1 month ago

Seabirth, If you don't deed restrict the property and allow it to accrue in value along with the free market then you ensure that that property won't remain "affordable housing" into the future. It also would amount to a taxpaper funded windfall to those folks who qualify to purchase one of these properties and then sell it for actual market value. Where do I sign up? Oh that's right, I don't qualify because I worked hard all my life and made good and frugile decisions. Why not just have a tax payer funded lottery where only those people below a certain income level can buy a ticket. Poorly thought out ideas lead to poor results...

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seabirth 8 years, 1 month ago

hadley,

i think you mistake what i wrote. all i meant is that the house can appreciate equal to market value appreciation... not that it can be sold for market value. while it might cause some affordable housing to move into unaffordable range (by current income standards), it would still keep the housing less than the true market. so this wouldn't be a windfall, it would just be equal.... in as much as "affordable housing" programs can be.

honestly, i think the current program has serious faults that make it undesireable to intelligent people who may qualify. this idea probably isn't a solution(it's far too complex), but bringing up parts of the program that turn people off and throwing around ideas surely cannot hurt.

seems to me that the people who get the "affordable housing" don't gain as much as the associated industries (mortgage brokers, banks, realtors, etc.) and that to me is a shame.

i think we do have a taxpayer funded lottery which is mostly open to the poor (by choice).

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another_local 8 years, 1 month ago

"(The fee of) $24,000 is simply not enough to build a home, and council would be irresponsible if it accepted the money."

You seem to believe that the fee should be enough to build a home? Is this what you think? I suppose we should give the home to some lucky lotto winner too? Where do I sign up for that program?

The idea is to find ways to make home affordable for the people who work here to BUY THEM THEMSELVES. I agree that the 24K was too low, and I like other options better but don't get confused about what the money is for. It was never supposed to be enough to give someone a free house.

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