Our View: Housing goes west

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The announcement last week that the Brown property west of Steamboat Springs has sold is good news for the community.

The sale should trigger large-scale development of the kind of housing we think the community most needs - single-family homes that are attainable by a broad segment of our workforce.

Steve and Mary Brown sold their 540 acres to Steamboat 700 LLC, a development group with experience building planned communities in Las Vegas. Danny Mulcahy, who is the project manager for Steamboat 700, said the group is ready to comply with the guidelines set forth in the West of Steamboat Springs Area Plan.

The West of Steamboat Springs Area Plan was created a decade ago and has been overhauled and modified since. The plan essentially is a management tool to handle anticipated growth in the most logical area for it to occur. It sets out the guidelines for where housing growth should occur and the plan for annexing new development into the city limits.

But little to nothing has happened in the plan area since the plan was adopted. Different people have different reasons for the lack of development. Some argued the plan's guidelines were too restrictive in terms of density and affordable housing requirements.

But the truth is, little could happen until the Browns sold their property, which makes up more than 85 percent of the West of Steamboat Springs Area Plan. The closing of the deal to a buyer who says he is ready, willing and able to follow the plan could be the catalyst necessary to finally get housing built in the area.

What Steamboat needs is not so much affordable housing as it is attainable single-family homes, similar to what already exists in neighborhoods like Silver Spur, Heritage Park, Steamboat II and West End Village. As those neighborhoods have come online, their inventories have been absorbed rapidly. Combined, those neighborhoods represent about 500 homes on less than 200 acres.

That's why the Brown property is so important - you can develop several neighborhoods and build a lot of homes on 700 acres (in addition to the 540 acres it closed on last week, Steamboat 700 LLC has an exclusive option to buy 160 adjacent acres). Our guess is anywhere from 1,200 to 2,000 homes eventually will be built in the area. Retail businesses, schools and parks will follow the housing.

Mulcahy said he has no problem with the requirement that 20 percent of the housing be deed-restricted affordable housing. And we think such housing has a better chance for success on the west side of the city than, say, in the vicinity of the ski area.

There are no guarantees about any of this. Mulcahy is two years away from going vertical with housing. And much will hinge on the city annexation process - there's a difference between what the West of Steamboat plan calls for and what the City Council actually decides to do. And there is no guarantee that there is adequate demand for so much new housing without a negative impact on existing values.

Still, we remain confident the sale of the Brown property can and will be the catalyst for providing residents with something they sorely need - more housing options.

Comments

Getitright 7 years ago

The only problem is deed restricted affordable housing. Deed restricted property is a very poor investment. May as well buy a new car and live in it!

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routty 7 years ago

This is good news for the community--but it is up to the planning commission and City Council to not "study" this ad infinitum. There are scores of families and couples moving to Hayden and Craig because there's not enough housing supply. . .the west area is the answer to solving that challenge, as long as Council stays focused.

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corduroy 7 years ago

I agree getitright Can't we make it affordable but NOT deed restricted? Sure we'll be able to afford the house, but if we decide to move ever, there's just no real investment in that.

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elphaba 7 years ago

Corduroy and Getitright - what are you suggesting......??? That somehow you get subsidized housing and then be able to sell it at a market profit? Where is the logic in that?? The thousands of people who moved here over the years and sacrificed and worked second and third jobs and took risks now own homes. They should subsidize you at taxpayer expense? Get a clue!

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Getitright 7 years ago

Elphaba, there was no subsidized in my comment. Maybe you should read the comment without trying to twist the meaning.

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Getitright 7 years ago

Work real hard, save your money and buy a condo, build equity and work your way toward being able to buy a house. It can and has been done. If deed restricted affordable homes are such a great idea, why are the ones near Stagecoach so difficult to sell? Back to my point which is that deed restricted property is a bad investment.

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Magpie 7 years ago

I tend to agree with you, Getitiright, I don't like the 'leper colony' aspect of the deed restricted (as well as the fact that if they don't build equity, then how are they better than renting?) but I really don't like the lottery-winning aspect of below-market- priced housing for a small group and don't see how that really is affordable housing since it isn't sustained.

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Magpie 7 years ago

So, Getitright, what is a good way to do affordable housing? I really would like to understand. Deed Restricted is a bad investment and creates a 'leper colony' atmosphere of the 'poor people's houses.' Non-deed restricted means the developer (ok, not the developer, but those who purchase the non-affordable housing that the developer does) will subsidize the lucky few families who get to buy the "affordable' homes and then get to keep all the profit and that set of homes is no longer affordable housing. So, what is the answer?

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oofcboy 7 years ago

In most cities you have drive 20 to 30 miles away from work or shopping centers so why not just buy out in south routt,or do you want the million dollar house and only pay 120,000. If the big house is what you want do like the other guy said work and save.

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Watcher 7 years ago

The question of the week should read as follows:

Are affordable-housing efforts a public subsidy to employers with low-paying jobs?

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thecondoguy1 7 years ago

You can always live in your car, but you can't drive your house, so gettiright, got it right. Affordable housing is a red herring put in place by politicos who want to do a feel good thing, and get a following of beholding people, what better to impower your self and not others. All housing is affordable period, if you sell it, and somebody bought it, it was obviously affordable, maybe not affordable to somebody, somebody who should minding their own business chooses to buy it, or somebody "they" think deserves to buy it. but none the less affordable. Affordable housing is a sham that degrades communities and people.

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Matthew Stoddard 7 years ago

So Condoguy- if living in your car is affordable housing, can I park in your driveway and use the facilities when needed?

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Matthew Stoddard 7 years ago

Oofcboy- The traffic happens, though, for all the people living 20miles away and driving to work in Steamboat.

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thecondoguy1 7 years ago

Hash, what you are defining is the market, the market is the market, wages, sales, profits, the market. Let the market work and we will not be getting people who can afford it the least in trouble, such as deed restricted homes, people can purchase after they prove to the kastopo they can or cannot afford. This is putting a round peg in a square hole. People all over the world commute and otherwise make due in a open market with no major repercussions, just living can be a little inconvenient. We all have to convert our labor to what we want usually money, we always figure out how to get the most, some more than others. Kielbasa,,, you can use my facilities anytime................

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stmbtflwrgal 7 years ago

The so called "Affordable Housing" in Steamboat is not affordable for a small biz owner like me! I've tried. If you don't have $100,000 as a down payment, then you don't get to play the affordable housing game. A mortgage payment of $2,000 a month is not affordable unless you're a doctor, dentist, lawyer or indian chief!
The rules from YVHA are you cannot make more than x per year and your payment cannot be more than x per month. So ya better have some money in the bank to put down or mommy & daddy to put it up. I'm staying in Hayden where I can get a brand new 3 bedroom home on a lake for $250,000. My dream of living in Steamboat is over.....oh well.

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oofcboy 7 years ago

20 miles away is better than being in steamboat,less traffic

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panky 7 years ago

So let's put an end to the handout housing ruse and just buy what you can afford, wherever that may be.

Give me one negative to that plan.

And don't say it's NOT in Steamboat cause you can't afford it. Too bad. Bet you can't buy in a lot of places.

The good news is buying what you can afford and the freedom to sell it.

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thecondoguy1 7 years ago

panky, you are right on, another good thinker........

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