'A historic document'

Council reaches home stretch with housing policy



The Fox Creek development on Hilltop Parkway, shown here, is the largest affordable housing project created by the Yampa Valley Housing Authority. The Steamboat Springs City Council will conduct a public review of proposed revisions to the city's affordable housing policies tonight at Centennial Hall.

— Tonight is one of the last chances for Steamboat Springs residents to comment on proposed revisions to the city's affordable housing policies, which could increase financial requirements for developers and regulate how the city provides housing for its growing workforce.

"This is a very historic document," Steamboat Springs City Councilman Ken Brenner said Monday. "I think it is hands down the most comprehensive legislation this City Council has seen."

At tonight's City Council meeting, which begins at 5 p.m. at Centennial Hall on 10th Street, a first reading of proposed revisions to the city's inclusionary zoning ordinance is on the council's consent agenda - usually reserved for items requiring no discussion and quick council approval.

But City Councilman Towny Anderson said quick approval will not be the case for the inclusionary ordinance.

"I'm sure that there are going to be questions and things that folks will like to see discussed, if not modified," Anderson said.

A review of the ordinance drew an hour of public comment at a meeting of the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission last week.

The City Council has discussed how to address the city's affordable housing needs for months, including several meetings with regional housing consultants and local developers during the winter.

Throughout the process, a housing tool known as linkage has been central to the debate.

Linkage requires residential and commercial developers to pay the city a fee for a percentage of the market-rate housing units or employees created by their new development.

Linkage policies in the revised housing ordinance primarily assess a 15 percent "mitigation rate" to developers. Anderson said an April 2006 study - prepared for the city by housing consultants Melanie Rees and RRC, Associates - states that not only is linkage a vital housing tool, but several Colorado resort communities use much higher mitigation rates than 15 percent.

A resolution to formally accept the study is on tonight's council agenda.

Last week, the Planning Commission debated whether the city should implement linkage at all, citing potential impacts to future development and expansion projects. Commission member Cari Hermacinski said that if the proposed linkage policy applied to the approved, $11.4 million expansion of Bud Werner Memorial Library, a conservative calculation shows that library officials would need to pay the city a linkage fee of more than $643,000.


snowysteamboat 9 years, 11 months ago

Where is the outrage? This proposed ordinance isn't about developers with supposed deep pockets, its about all of us.

As written, adding a 500 square foot addition to your house would trigger the linkage requirements.

You want to build your own home? You will be writing the CITY a check for a few thousand.

This is a bad idea. Please become involved.


another_local 9 years, 11 months ago

The outrage is there. I fear it is wasted on the crew we currently have on council and even moreso on our planning commission. Council has used thier solcialist majority to stack planning with even further left individuals. I suspect that there is no stopping this mistake; it will have to be rectified after the next election.

One question, since this is a tax, why doesn't tabor require it to be voted on? This is not a fee. The tax will ulitimatly be passed on to individuals and businesses.


another_local 9 years, 11 months ago

Sorry about the spelling... I wish there was an edit feature!


agentofchange 9 years, 11 months ago

The damage was done, when the Solcialists were voted in. These guys just do not understand supply and demand. Here go the prices!

Staff is instructed to craft these policies to be "PUBLIC VOTE PROOF".


inmate2007 9 years, 11 months ago

Agent your wrong! City council does understand supply and demand, there is one Realtor who takes a percentage of sale, several investors that have owned property for years, a historic preservationist who understand grants are based on present value, and a few others that should not describe. Bottom line they voted their pockets just like you and me.

another by their definition it's a fee, it's good to be a HOME RULE entity. And guess how they got that definition.......

Thanks City Council, I just wish I hadn't sold somethings last year.


another_local 9 years, 11 months ago

As a home rule entity we still have to bring other taxes to a vote (sales tax, property etc)

I hope there is a line of attack under Tabor because there is no stopping these tax and spend addicts.

These council members may be suprised by the amount of funding available for election of new candidates for the five seats open this fall.


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