Setback for One Steamboat

Council demands more affordable housing on-site

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— It's back to the drawing board, again, for One Steamboat Place.

With a 4-1 vote, the Steamboat Springs City Council denied a revised housing plan for the resort-oriented project Tuesday night, citing a need for more affordable housing units in the 440,000-square-foot, residential and commercial development planned for a 4-acre site at the base of Steamboat Ski Area, adjacent to the ski area's gondola building and AprÃs Ski Way.

"I think the message we are sending here is that there is a high price for approval," council member Steve Ivancie said. "The applicant has not met the price that we demand."

Developers need to pay that price, most council members said, by including at least the majority of the 14 required, deed-restricted, affordable housing units in the development itself, rather than paying the city a fee "in lieu" of including the units at One Steamboat Place.

"I'm just not going for fee-in-lieu," City Council President Ken Brenner said firmly. "It's not ready yet."

Project Director Jim Wells of Timbers, the Carbondale-based firm developing One Steamboat Place, proposed a plan that would include four affordable housing units in the development, with an in-lieu payment for the rest of the housing requirement. The plan would also include five employee units.

Brenner, Ivancie, council member Towny Anderson and new council member Karen Post all voted against the plan. Council member Loui Antonucci cast the one vote in support. Council President Pro-tem Susan Dellinger did not attend Tuesday's meeting. Council member Paul Strong left the meeting before the One Steamboat Place discussion.

The denial marked another significant setback for the base area development.

The council did not approve an initial housing plan for One Steamboat Place at a meeting Aug. 22, instead asking Wells and project planners to revise the plan and either include more affordable housing on-site, or purchase land within Steamboat city limits for construction of affordable units.

Wells told the council earlier this month that neither option was feasible, and proposed a housing plan that gave $100,000 for local housing needs and proposed a $418,000 payment in lieu of including any affordable housing in the project.

Wells changed that plan on the spot Tuesday night, after listening to a council discussion about affordable housing earlier in the meeting, before One Steamboat Place came up on the agenda. In that unrelated discussion, several council members spoke against in-lieu payments.

"I'm recognizing that what I've been hearing tonight is that this is probably not an acceptable proposal," Wells said of the $418,000 payment plan. "What I'm hearing is that you want some of the units on site."

So Wells instead proposed the new, "hybrid" plan with four affordable units on site. But several council members said that was not enough and asked Wells to again revise plans for One Steamboat Place.

Wells said that will be very difficult, because on Aug. 22 the council approved the project's development plan, which includes 85 residential units, more than 15,000 square feet of commercial space and a large, public plaza.

"We can't redesign - the building is already approved," Wells told the council. "I don't know where to go from here."

After the meeting, Timbers President David Burden said the council's decision will not prevent One Steamboat Place from moving forward.

"We're committed to Steamboat Springs," Burden said. "We're going to make something work."

Comments

Getitright 7 years, 11 months ago

Why not put all this "fee in-lieu" money in a fund designated to affordable houseing and build it somewhere more affordable?

Parking "fees in-lieu" should also be earmarked for parking structures downtown or on the mountain. The problem is that the "fees in-lieu" money always gets swallowed up into the City's general fund to pay for council's over budgeted amenities such as the tennis bubble and next, the recreation center.

By the way, has anyone noticed the loss of parking spaces in front of the Public Safety Building due to burying the utilities underground. I guess pretty is more valuable than parking spaces in the City!

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Hadleyburg_Press 7 years, 11 months ago

What the heck is "government" doing in the affordable housing market in the first place. Let the market figure these things out. The Law of Unintended Consequences will come back to bite us all when our agents try to tweek the local economy. Does this land belong to the City or what? I understand architectural design, height restrictions, and other area impact considerations, but when did these socialist housing dictates trump a person's right to do with their land what they want? This is like an inverse eminent domain.

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my2cents 7 years, 11 months ago

I applaud Council's vote on requiring more affordable units on site. While I support a market economy, I also recognize the role of government to intervene when markets fail. In my opinion, affordable housing in resort communities is one such example of market failure to meet the goal of long-term vitality and quality of life in a resort community. It is the market that is driving the average working citizen out of town.

Relying solely on the fee-in-lieu payment system will result in affordable units being built on available land - outside of Steamboat Springs. Pushing the working class further and further out of town will gradually reduce the availabity of quality staff available to fill the many needed positions in this community as well as creating real traffic congestion in the valley.

Why is Steamboat Springs a desirable place to live? What sets us apart from other resort communities? We are still a community and they are mostly resort.

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Hadleyburg_Press 7 years, 11 months ago

my2cents, I would agree with you if I merely relied on compassion to drive my opinion. Unfortunately, some of the the unforeseen consequences of goverment mandated affordable housing will cause more harm than good. Example; affordable housing will allow employeers to pay a wage that is less than what it would take to staff their business with non-goverment subsidized people. This has a negative trickle down effect as you might imagine. Another example is that the people buying into affordable housing will most likely have resell percentage restrictions placed upon them preventing them from building equity on par with the rest of the market. Example three; look at rent restricted property in a place like New York City. There is no incentive to maintain the property and eventually it becomes a slum. I agree that we are a community, but the harsh reality is that this is a high demand area. Not everyone is going to be able to afford to live here. I don't mean for this to sound elitist. I worked my kester off to be able to live here. Should I have to pay for someone else to live here just because they don't have the skills or talent to make it? It is really simple supply and demand. Please give me one unemotional example where goverment has gotten involved and made the system better? I believe that you are a good person for caring as hopefully I am, but I would suggest that you not fall into a reactionary pitfall of looking at the first effect of your cause. Just as in a game of chess I would advise that you look at the outcome of each moves permutations at a minimum of two to three factors.

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mkbar 7 years, 11 months ago

The harsh reality is that the people who have made it do not want the guy who works his keester off mowing the grounds living in their community. My grandmother lived in a rent control apartment for as long as I can remember until she died. Her incentive to maintain the place was a sense of pride. I know this attribute is not unique to her among the working class and to insinuate that all working people need monetary incentive to maintain their homes is insulting.

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Hadleyburg_Press 7 years, 11 months ago

mkbar, In the rent control situations that I eluded to it was the land lords that allowed the units to deteriorate, and not the occupants. Ever hear of the term slum lord? As for your lawn mowing quip, I have a friend in Aspen who started a lawn mowing business about 25 years ago. He is a cottage industry millionare today in his late fifties who still goes out with his crews and mows lawns in his community of Aspen. Now, before your slings and arrows befall me, I do not want to see Steamboat turn into an Aspen, but that would probably be for different reasons than yours.

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