Housing law on doorstep

City Council could OK inclusionary ordinance tonight



Erik Hyslop and Megan Petersen, who moved to Steamboat Springs last week, walk along the Lincoln Avenue sidewalk Monday evening. The Steamboat Springs City Council tonight will discuss creating a business improvement district downtown, that could potentially create a funding source for beautification, maintenance and improvement projects.

— Steamboat Springs homeowners will have to pay new fees to expand their homes under an affordable housing ordinance the City Council could enact tonight.

"I'm just concerned that people don't know about this," resident Bill Petersen said, referring to proposed changes to the ordinance that regulates affordable housing policies. "Remodeling has never really been an issue, but this (ordinance) is not only about commercial development - it's about you, too."

The council will conduct a final reading of the city's revised inclusionary zoning ordinance tonight. The vote would cap months of debate about how to enable workers to live affordably in Steamboat's rising real estate market.

The council has wrestled with housing issues for months, most recently in debates centered on "linkage" policies. Linkage would require residential and commercial developers to compensate the city, either by a fee or by building homes, for a percentage of the work force housing need created by their new developments.

When the City Council approved a first reading of the inclusionary ordinance and linkage policies May 22, Councilman Paul Strong cast the lone "no" vote. Strong said the fee rates assessed to commercial development were too high.

Strong said Monday that he doesn't think his vote will change, but he doesn't expect other council members to change their votes either.

Hitting home

Bill Petersen said commercial fees are drawing the public's attention away from proposed residential fees that could be assessed to homeowners.

According to data from the city's planning department, building a 500-square-foot addition would cost a local homeowner $144 in linkage fees to the city. The amount escalates for bigger projects - building a 2,500-square-foot residence would cost $2,158 in linkage, to compensate for housing required by an estimated 0.27 local jobs created.

"We need to do something, yes, but don't penalize the people who have worked hard to pay their taxes and buy a house," Petersen said.

The Steamboat Springs Planning Commission has previously voted to remove residential linkage from the ordinance entirely, and the City Council previously set a minimum size of 1,200 square feet.

But after legal advice warned of discriminatory practices, the City Council decided to include nearly all residential development in linkage, on a sliding scale.

"I'm not going to support that," Councilman Loui Antonucci said Monday of assessing fees for 500 square feet of construction. "I choose not to penalize local people that can afford to build their own house."

Tom Leeson, director of city planning, said arguments that linkage fees will raise costs and curb local growth are "anecdotal."

"I haven't seen any empirical data that this slows down development," Leeson said of linkage. "I haven't heard of any other tool proposed that would generate affordable housing. : I think that we as a community have a responsibility to address this issue."

City Council President Susan Dellinger seconded that in statements to the Steamboat Pilot & Today last month.

"I am very satisfied with the amount of work done on this ordinance," Dellinger said May 25. "Using other communities' information about their enacting inclusionary zoning and the building trends and housing costs that changed afterward, I am confident we will be positively affecting our community."

- To reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4203

or e-mail mlawrence@steamboatpilot.com


ldwalter12 9 years, 9 months ago

So, let me get this straight; builders would have to compensate the city for bringing in people, which would then create jobs for other people, who would need housing?

Anyone other than me see the circularity of this?

Only in Steamboat...


dundalk 9 years, 9 months ago

We need new council members.

"I am very satisfied with the amount of work done on this ordinance," Dellinger said May 25. "Using other communities' information about their enacting inclusionary zoning and the building trends and housing costs that changed afterward, I am confident we will be positively affecting our community."

How about coming up with new and inventive ideas that do not mimic other towns? Is this all part of the 1.3 mil garbage?

Me thinks I smell some Joseph Biden-ism going on!


steamvent 9 years, 9 months ago

I was talking about this City Council action with Ben Dover the other day and he said "Bring it on!" If all you lemmings haven't figured this out yet ... it is a new TAX and you had NO VOTE!


Vince arroyo 9 years, 9 months ago

Appeasement for the low income for the benefit of a pat on the back. This housing debacle is discriminatory in its self toward all. I agree with the planning commission remove the linkage from the ordinance. By using other communities information about their policies I believe it is wrong. We are a individual town in our self. And the banking our image on a " Western small Town " is almost long gone. We are in the Big time now, It will only get worst.


thecondoguy1 9 years, 9 months ago

I do not know what to say, this is a circle jerk of crazy proportion, these fees will be added to the listing price of homes going on the market for resale, even if they are 20 years old, an added tax to all for the provision for a few, I can not see where more than just a small number may benefit, and we all pay, there is going to be a lot of bitter people over the allotment and choosing of who gets what, this tinkering is nuts............


JQPUBLIC 9 years, 9 months ago

"a small number may benefit, and we all pay"... Ms. Clinton would love this plan! "Using other communities' information"... Where is the info on how well this achieved their affordable housing goals elsewhere?...Even I am smart enough to know that no matter who the government taxes it's always the little people that end up paying. Crap flows downward and guess where the buck stops!!


elphaba 9 years, 9 months ago

Our Council President says--- it's good enugh for another community so jump on????......Time for new council members that can think on their own and make rational decisions for our community. Making housing more expensive for all will not make it more affordable for any. (p.s. does Ken Brenner get anything for free from this?)


Brian_Bavosi 9 years, 9 months ago

I think it is important to remember that any regulations implemented by this administration can be changed or removed by a fresh new council with a fresh new perspective.

In this case, the council has been influenced by a hired consultant and have been given a one sided argument as to the effects and outcome of commercial/ residential linkage. It is difficult for council to make an educated guess when the discussion is presented by and advocate for the cause who is unwilling to even consider a negative impact from the linkage.

One thing is certain....our housing costs are still lower than Aspen, Vail, Telluride, etc., and the majority have a linkage requirement.

The unknown outcomes of the linkage requirements are very scary, but it does not take a genious to realize that the same communities we are trying to differentiate ourselves from have the same linkage ordinances, and their housing costs are some of the highest in the state and country.

Did linkage propel the housing costs in those communities? Who knows....but we should expect a similar living environment when we apply similar regulations as Aspen, Vail, Telluride, etc.


snowysteamboat 9 years, 9 months ago


I trust you will be at City Council tonight?


snowysteamboat 9 years, 9 months ago

You just find it easier to sit in front of your computer.

If you really wanted to make a difference you would show up.

But alas, you really don't.


snowysteamboat 9 years, 9 months ago

I would bet they wouldn't pass it with 100 opponents in the audience.

If it does I would hope a petition drive would occur.


JustAsking 9 years, 9 months ago

It' amazing to me that basic questions are ignored by this council before jumping off on linkage.

  1. What deed restricted housing is currently on the market?
  2. Who (all present) is currently living in deed restricted housing?
  3. What is the resale history?

  4. What are the long term rental rates relative to market values of property here?

  5. What are the long term rental rates relative to other resorts?

  6. Has linkage in other areas produced any significant inventory of affordable housing?

  7. What is the history of housing prices in areas that have linkage?

8.. If additional fees are collected, how exactly would they be spent to produce affordable housing? 9. How much has council spent relative to this issue? 10.How many units of housing are occupied as a direct result of this spending?

I recognize that all of these questions have been asked and ignored by council before. Perhaps the Pilot can make it a priority to get the answers and let us know the facts.

The voters, business operators, and property owners here should really know what to expect from linkage and deed restricted housing.


Brian_Bavosi 9 years, 9 months ago

I would agree with sbvor, council has already made up their mind.
The community needs to focus on who we can elect and support for the next council position.

There are great points of dicussion in these forums and i think the pilot should make all posters use their real names.... some of these folks making great comments could be the next best elected official.


phidgt 9 years, 9 months ago

Another question I would like to ask is if this 'linkage' fee only applies to buildings/homes within city limits?

"Using other communities' information about their enacting inclusionary zoning and the building trends and housing costs that changed afterward, I am confident we will be positively affecting our community." What other communities? I thought the whole goal was to keep Steamboat from becoming like these "other communities".

I guess everyone will just have to remodel their homes in 499 square foot sections.


another_local 9 years, 9 months ago

phidgt is right. Anytime a regulation or tax is created the market adapts to minimize the impact. I suspect we will see a lot of <500' additions from this point. The sliding scale of fees will favor smaller additions and that is what we will see.

Luckily Brian B is also correct and the next council can undo this nonsense. With those elections just a few months away at this point, I would guess that we will see a slowdown in applications for new projects untill it becomes clear if this new socialist approach actually stays in place. My hope is that we elect a more cable and experienced group and that they repeal this dog's breakfast of a tax as their first order of business.

If you want to have affordable housing, make it easier to build instead of harder. Get away from the bad-deal restricted deeds. Require that a large portion of any new annexation to the city be either single-family homes and duplexes under 2000 square feet with smaller lots or apartments for the rental market. Zone the area for NO nightly rentals and allow higher density for single family homes and duplexes. The natural place to go is the Brown property. If you increase supply for these types of property the prices will take care of themselves. Do not allow annexation or other Urban Boundary Adjustments unless they contribute to solving the supply problem of smaller, less expensive housing.

Wages are rising fast in the valley as businesses compete for employees. This will also address the affordability issue. Tighten up on illegal workers. They are holding down wages.

Stop focusing on ownership. The majority of service workers everywhere rent. It is a shortage of affordable rental property more than a shortage of innexpensive homes to purchase that will be the real problem in the future.


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