Hope Cook: Inform the public

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I make the following comments on behalf of the Community Alliance of the Yampa Valley. On Sunday, April 22, the Steamboat Pilot & Today continued its discussion of the housing policies being proposed for Steamboat Springs. We thank the Pilot & Today for keeping this important issue on the minds of our community.

We agree that the Steamboat Springs City Council was right to delay action on its revised inclusionary zoning ordinance. Even though there have been numerous council sessions dedicated to this subject, there still appears to be many of the public still not familiar with either the existing inclusionary zoning or the proposed linkage ordinances. A more informed community is good for affordable housing.

We are glad to see the Pilot & Today's statement, "We support city policies aimed at increasing the supply of affordable housing in Steamboat Springs and the surrounding area. Such housing is vital to the stability of our workforce and thus the long-term economic health of our community. We think an ordinance that spurs the creation of such housing is appropriate."

The editorial states that housing west of Steamboat Springs should be on par to housing in new developments within the current city limits. The Pilot & Today recommends allowing the 15 percent affordable housing requirement, in the inclusionary zoning ordinance, to be built off site. If this happens most if not all of our new affordable housing will be placed west of town.

In the 2005 community survey, residents identified traffic mobility and circulation as the second most important issue in the city. In an editorial on commuting, the Pilot & Today wrote, "That's a lot of traffic on U.S. Highway 40, a lot of time lost in the car" (June 3, 2003). We think moving a majority of our workers out of town into the west will only make this problem worse.

The draft linkage ordinance requires mitigation for any residential space of more than 1,200 square feet. We agree with the editorial that we should not penalize homes intended for our workforce. Exempting homes up to 2,000 square feet would be more appropriate.

We also agree that new linkage ordinances should not be retroactive. Developers put a lot of work into their permits. Linkage changes the costs of the project. There are many new projects that have obtained a development permit but don't have a building permit. These projects could legally be required to provide linkage, but assessing a large fee after a project has been approved is not the right thing to do.

Linkage requires new developments to provide some mitigation for the new workers that will be needed. The Bud Werner Memorial Library expects to create 50 percent more jobs due to expansion. If the Yampa Valley Medical Center were to expand, I'm sure it too would be creating many new jobs. Without linkage there is no hope of continuing to house all these people right here in Steamboat.

There will always be people who wish to live outside of Steamboat Springs. However we should not force people to live farther and farther away. This increases traffic, pollution and parking problems, while reducing the amount of free time we have to spend with our families, volunteering and enjoying the benefits that our great community has to offer.

Hope Cook

Steamboat Springs

Comments

beentheredonethat 7 years, 8 months ago

what is so wrong with workers having to commute to steamboat from hayden, craig, oak creek and other surrounding areas? I don't agree with the ongoing hysteria about having future developers and home owners getting penalized by having to subsidize "affordable housing." Perhaps we will have to improve the road system and public transportation to better accommodate increased traffic, but I see nothing wrong with that either. Let the market dictate the housing issue as it does with everything else.

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JQPUBLIC 7 years, 8 months ago

btdt.... commuting from the surrounding areas won't last long either, as long as Steamboat keeps getting bigger and better the outlying areas keep getting more expensive. As long as there is a way for the "affordably housed" homeowner to make a profit, he's going to. The only way to guarantee a residence for the necessary working force is for the government to own and operate rental units, everything else will be sold as soon as the price is right and the occupancy terms have been met.

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Richard Levy 7 years, 8 months ago

to beentheredonethat

There is one principle that united most people behind having our workers live here:

Every survey ever done shows that our visitors come here because Steamboat "feels like a real community". Its just not tourists and fur coats on our Main Street or in our restaurants. If we want to maintain that, our workers must have the opportunity to live here. Spending 2 hours a day commuting does not maintain community.

This is the main factor that has allowed the chamber, developers, politicians and locals to embrace an Affordable Housing program within the Steamboat Spring City limits.

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beentheredonethat 7 years, 8 months ago

to steamboatrich....the affordable housing program is many things, including unfair to future home and business developers as they will be bearing the burden the rest of us, the large majority, will escape because we already own property. so the ones that have, are mandating that the ones who want ,will have to pay for the ones who don't have. let the market work on it's own.

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