John Spezia: Points missed

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After reading the BARC letter to the City Council and the Pilot & Today's editorial on base area redevelopment, I feel that a number of key issues and points were missed.

Payment in lieu is not a right, but an option. The present council recognizes the inadequacy of this method and that on-site affordable housing is far more effective. The present calculation of the payment in lieu is totally inadequate to provide land and units within the urban growth boundary.

The inclusionary zoning ordinance is still a work in progress. There are several proposed rules that are still being discussed and debated to get it right. This is also true of the operation and maintenance responsibilities that the city, the URA and the private property owners can't agree upon. Even within some of these three groups there is disagreement.

The discount proposed by Wildhorse Meadows to pay all the payment in lieu money upfront was so unrealistic that the city's finance officer rejected it. The council did not support One Steamboat Place's affordable housing payment in lieu proposal because it is inadequate. Furthermore, the council was concerned about the negative impacts of traffic, sprawl, segregating the community and increased financial demands.

Because of the lack of available land and the extreme cost of available land within the urban growth boundary, the money offered by the payment in lieu option is a drop in the bucket for the city and the Yampa Valley Housing Authority. The only reason why the Housing Authority has been successful in the past was because land was made available to it at a discounted price.

RRC Associates have said over and over again that houses and land are what you want. Payment in lieu money does not buy much to solve your affordable housing problem.

John Spezia

Steamboat Springs

Comments

JustAsking 8 years, 1 month ago

Just what is "affordable housing"? Who gets to live in it? What are their obligations? Where are there units in the city? Are they being utilized? If 14 units at One Steamboat were built; who could purchase them, for how much? What about the others who couldn't afford the cost of these units?

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another_local 8 years, 1 month ago

Why would anyone want to live at One Steamboat Place? On site affordable house is a lousy idea in some locations. Right at the base is one of those places.

The payment in lieu is not supposed to "provide" an affordable unit. I agree that the payment proposed was too low, but the position that the payment should be enough to build or buy a unit is wrong. People should BUY thier own units. Payment in lieu should help make that affordable by offsetting costs like connecting to the utilities and such.

What I would really rather see, though, is a market for afforable units where big developers create neighborhoods that will be stabil permanent communities with families. Give incentives in the form of higher density, waive connection fees and allow developers who build more than the required number of "affordable units" to "sell" the right claim those units. This will keep the money out of public hands. I have very little confidence in the ability of the city or any other public entity to use the money well.

How about rentals? They are very important to the affordable housing issue.

What about allowing developers to buy, refurbish and sell existing affordable units in places like Shadow Run?

How about land leases to take the land cost out of the cost of housing?

How about a sunset on deed restrictions so the owners can benefit over time and will be able to justify improvements and maintainance.

This should not be a handout program! Nobody is "owed" a house. Making it possible for those that want to work hard and own to do so should be the goal.

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