Affordable homes in the works

Revised Elk River Village plans include 67 condominiums

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— The Yampa Valley Housing Authority is pushing ahead with plans to develop as many as 67 affordable housing units on the city's near west side.

Elk River Village would offer 13 single-family homes and 54 condominium residences on a triangular parcel on Elk River Road just north of its intersection with U.S. Highway 40.

"Our goal is for all of them to be deed-restricted affordable units," Housing Authority interim director Curtis Church said.

The project known today as Elk River Village was proposed in December 2005 as a private sector housing project called West Side Subdivision. It would have included 33 single-family modular homes and four condominiums. Plans called for the single-family homes to have the footprint of a singlewide mobile home.

The Housing Authority subsequently purchased the 10-acre parcel for a little more than $2 million. Of the total acreage, only about 4 acres are suitable for development.

The Housing Authority entered the city planning process early last summer with plans that were very similar to those of West Side Subdivision. However, city planners urged it to consider a more densely developed project. City planner Bob Keenan pointed out that Elk River Village would be built in a commercial/light industrial area.

"It's near an important intersection, and we wanted to see some bigger buildings that framed the area visually," Keenan said.

The change also meant the project would generate more affordable housing units.

"It certainly brings down our per-unit cost for the land," Church said. "The city wanted it to fit the look and feel of the area. We still feel that a single-family product would be accepted by the public."

The architect of the project is Eric Smith Associates, and the engineers are Landmark Consultants.

Landmark's Ryan Spaustat described the housing in a memo to the planning department.

Three of four 12-unit condominium buildings in the project would front a green strip along Elk River Road. The 13 single-family homes would be in a single row, bordering 10.8 acres of open space on a hill to the east.

The single-family units would offer two bedrooms in 900 square feet of living space. Each single-family unit would have its own driveway, and owners would have the option of adding a wood-frame carport. Architectural drawings reflect the use of attractive exterior building materials.

The three-story condominium buildings would offer a mix of two- and three-bedroom units, each with two bathrooms. The former would offer 1,020 square feet of living space, and the latter would have 1,175 square feet. Drawings show covered porches or decks, gabled rooflines and as many as five exterior materials.

No public hearings concerning Elk River Village have yet been scheduled.

- To reach Tom Ross, call 871-4205

or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com

Comments

id04sp 7 years, 2 months ago

Great. A brand new eyesore slum to increase traffic at the CR-129/US 40 intersection.

$2M for 4 acres of buildable land makes it the most expensive residential square footage in the County. $75,000 an acre is the going rate in North Routt -- these places are $500,000 per acre, or 6.66 times more (tricky number, eh?).

The numbers posted in this article indicate that the average density is 16.74 homesites per acre, or 2626 square feet to serve homes up to 1,175 square feet. That puts 'em maybe ten feet apart. I think Dream Island had a nicer layout.

I just can't wait to see the owner-built "wood frame carport" structures jammed with junk, can you?

This will be good for working couples, but when you put low-income families in a place like this, jammed on top of each other, you're creating a ghetto that is bound to become an eyesore. People who will live there won't have the money needed to keep them up, provide off-site storage for their garage junk, etc.

This is a very bad idea that will turn out to be a mistake in the long run. At least it will help to concentrate the domestic abuse calls in one area and it's near the RCSO so they can respond quickly.

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elk2 7 years, 2 months ago

Will there be a plan to widen Elk River Rd. to accomidate the extra traffic?

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katrinkakelly 7 years, 2 months ago

Sounds good to me Landmark!

ID you are so cynical.

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thecondoguy1 7 years, 2 months ago

ID is right on with the blight, these folks will also be traped in those properties, once they are not new any longer they will not be able to sell them, bankrupting the very people they intended to help. doctors with fat incomes, good credit, and assets are having a hard time obtaining loans, where is the credit for "deed restricted" properties supposed to come from on a reliable basis? affordable housing often leads to broken dreams, blight and crime, sorry.

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PJ Howe 7 years, 2 months ago

Unfortunately, condoguy and ID have too many preconceived notions of affordable housing and must have originated their ideas from their early days living in Chicago. Affordable housing has, and continues to do so, work in every resort area in Colorado. Just because its new here in Steamboat, doesn't mean it will fail here. There are plenty of mortgage programs available for deed restricted home/condo purchase. Their are plenty of buyers willing to buy these deed restricted units. Haven't yet heard of the heartbreak of anyone in West End or Fox Creek trying to sell their house or condo or going through foreclosure.

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id04sp 7 years, 2 months ago

Tell me about the mobile home-sized single family residences in West End. I haven't heard of those.

Don't get me wrong. I think there should be land available for mobile home parks and long-term residents. It just irks me to see them spend $2,000,000 on 10 acres of land and then only be able to use 4 acres for homes.

There has got to be a better way.

I guess it breaks my heart to think of little kids on Big Wheels trying to run around and have fun in a facility of this type simply because their parents are stubborn about living in the shadow of Mt. Werner. House poor is a terrible way to live your life.

The little children playing in their driveway in this development will be right under the next-door neighbor's bedroom window. That ought to work out just fine, don't you think?

I wish the people who think this is such a good idea had lived with families in close contact in mobile home parks. It's just as bad in many apartment complexes also. A mobile home on 1/4 acre is a home. A mobile home on 1/10 of an acre is a pigeon hole.

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ijustlookhi 7 years, 2 months ago

the rich elite need housing for the servants, who cares about the conditions or long term impact, we need service now!

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id03sp 7 years, 2 months ago

id04,

A few weeks ago someone named "weststmbtres" mentioned that the park at dream island and sleepy bear were both eyesores and needed some cleaning up and you said "what a bunch of elitist crap"

Who's the elitist now?

people would have a lot more respect for what you say if you would decide what your opinion is and stick to it.

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lusciojo 7 years, 2 months ago

Who said living in close quarters is all that terrible? I grew up in West Acres and knew everyone in the neighborhood and it most definitely not a ghetto. I don't see a bunch of homeless people on crack and meth falling asleep in peoples doorways, or career can collectors rummaging through our garbage? Heck! I would even be so crazy to walk around at night all alone. You people and your "grasp" of poverty is pathetic.

I'm moving back into town here in a few weeks and was recently inquiring about Mountian Village Apartments....you know for people with a low income. The line at which they cut you off for income is something like 25,000 for a single bedroom. That may not be a lot of money to some of you, but that is a lot of money! We consider people who make that much money "low-income". So who exactly falls into that category? Teachers maybe? Don't need those anymore!!! What about the people who drive the bus? Don't need buses in Steamboat! What about the people who plow the roads and parking lots? Forget about em!!!! What about school bus drivers, and janitors, lunch ladies? Librarians maybe? What about all those people who do road construction in the summer? Or the people who take care of the parks?

These are OUR low income people. I am sure that if we group them together in close quarters nothing could possible come out of it besides an "eye-sore" of a ghetto.

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lusciojo 7 years, 2 months ago

And also id04sp...Have you even ever been "house-poor"? You say it like its a disease...yuck get the "house-poor" off of me!!!!! Pathetic.

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corduroy 7 years, 2 months ago

I have never fully understood deed restricted housing so I looked up some info on it today. From what I read, it just means that the development and changes to your property are controlled by another entity. Examples I saw were that in some neighborhoods your house's architecture could only be a certain style, or your mailbox has to be the same as everyone else.

Besides having to look like your next door neighbor, can someone explain why it is bad for homebuyers? I mean legitimately..

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bubba 7 years, 2 months ago

Corduroy, there is a different type of deed restriction, what they mean in this case is that the units can only be sold to a person who makes a certain percent of Routt county's average median income, and that the prices are based on that. What this does is index the price of these houses to average income levels, rather than what people from out of town are willing to pay, thus limiting the appreciation of the units. While this is never a better deal than owning a market rate unit, it is still better than renting, in a number of ways. (I'll spare you the details) The downside is that they do not appreciate with the market, so in a time like this, when market rate units are going through the roof, price-wise, you miss out on that growth. This is the argument the anti-deed-restriction folks cite most. While this is true, the government is trying to subsidize HOUSING, not INVESTMENT.

There is also the risk (which is what the guys referred to above, with people getting stuck with them, etc.) that if the market here tanks, these people will have a hard time selling the units, and be stuck. This is obviously a legitimate concern, but if the market goes south to the point that that is an issue, anyone who bought a house here in the last 7-8 years is probably going to be upside down, and unable to sell the house for the value of their mortgage, so these folks in the deed restricted units are not any more screwed than the rest of us.

What you looked up and found information on is more commonly called 'covenant controlled.' Most new subdivisions suffer that affliction.

And id04sp, could you please tell me where in north routt I can buy a single acre for 75k that will allow me to build 16 or 17 condo units? If you can, I am going to be a condo developer. If not, your comparison is completely invalid, (which it is) those 1 acre lots allow you to build 1 home, not 15+, thus comparing the price per acre is completely irrelevant. Also, the article says it's 54 condos and 13 single families. If the condos take up 2.5 of the 4 acres, then the single family lots are larger than many of the .08 acre lots in oldtown (that used to be what a city lot was, until americans needed mcmansions). And while I'm on the topic, if you want more meadows, trees, mountains, and less pavement, shouldn't you be FOR high density housing, which reduces land use per unit, not against it?

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Hadleyburg_Press 7 years, 2 months ago

Corduroy, I think that you were looking at CC&Rs (Covenents, Codes and Restriction) which involve HOA (Home Owner Associations). Deed Restricted housing, as it pertains to this discussion is something different. The primary restriction is on accrued resell value per year. In a deed restricted property, the owner usually is only allowed a 3% to 4% increase in value per annum. This is usually based upon a national CPI (Consumer Pricing Index) if I am not mistaken. This means that the value of the property doesn't appreciate in value, but just keeps check with the standard cost of living. The cost of living in this sense should not be confused with maket value, which in Steamboat as it relates to real estate, has gone up approximately 25% per aear. In simple english this means a person who buys a deed restricted property develops no equity. It is slightly better than renting in that they will most likely get their investment back minus interest payments. The one issue that this raises though, is that there is no incentive for the home owner to maintain or put any capital into their property since the return is fixed. This can lead to the property falling into disrepair and yet still selling from owner to owner at a fixed increasing cost with actual depriciation in value of the asset occuring (eyesore or ghetto?).

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bubba 7 years, 2 months ago

Hadleyburg, saying that they don't build any equity is somewhat inaccurate, the do build equity, but it's the old fashioned way, buy putting money in regularly, not by expecting their home to double in value every two years. Again, it's not a big investment, but over a few years time, especially with any CPI/AMI growth, it is WAY better than renting. As far as the lack of incentive to maintain the property goes, I am not sure how Steamboat does it, but I think you can sell them for whatever someone who meets the income restrictions is willing/able to pay, so comparing one deed restricted place to another (and there will be a lot, the way we're going), a buyer can choose the nicer one. Again, I don't know how steamboat does it, and I'm not sure if the city does, so this may not end up being 100% accurate.

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Hadleyburg_Press 7 years, 2 months ago

"As far as the lack of incentive to maintain the property goes, I am not sure how Steamboat does it, but I think you can sell them for whatever someone who meets the income restrictions is willing/able to pay,"

That doesn't make any sense. Willing to pay by a lower income buyer is called "sub prime" in the morgage world. Sound familiar?

You are correct, in that the buyer has to fall within a certain income bracket, but it is my understanding that the property can only accrue by a rate of 3% to 4% per year. I am more than willing to revise my thinking if I am mistaken. If I am not, can you address the depriciation issue with something other than homeowner pride? As for the buyer chosing the better kept deed restricted property, I agree, but in this market I would argue that that is a non starter.

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inmate2007 7 years, 2 months ago

If I understand YVHA rules correctly you are all kinda correct.

A. The buyer has to meet income restrictions. B. The Seller can only increase the price by 3% or 4% per year of ownership (I am vague on the percentage). C. And the present owner can't paint the front door purple, fly a flag, or any other unacceptable action - HOA or CC&R type rules of living.

Not a good way to make a profit or live but you got to do what you got to do.

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bubba 7 years, 2 months ago

I don't think the appreciation is tied to a fixed percentage at all, it is tied to routt county AMI. (average median income) A home is deed restricted to be worth what a person at say, 100% of AMI can afford to pay, based on 30% of their income going to housing, with some down payment (the city is murky on that detail). If AMI stays flat, so do house values, if it goes up 10%, so do house values. If someone qualifies for the housing, and there are a few on the market, they are going to pick the nicest one they qualify for. That means that the trashed units will sell for less, unless there is such a waiting list for these units that there are never multiple ones on the market.

And some people may take exception to the assumption that people who qualify for these will intentionally let them fall into disrepair, just because they don't make as much money as others.

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Hadleyburg_Press 7 years, 2 months ago

bubba, Can you show me that these deed restricted units are going to be tied into the Routt County AMI? This seems like an odd approach in that it will migrate these units out of the "affordable" range in a relatively short period of time. (Median) being the operative driver in this equation.

"And some people may take exception to the assumption that people who qualify for these will intentionally let them fall into disrepair, just because they don't make as much money as others."

This has nothing to do with where a person resides on the economic strata. In fact, it would be fiscally irresponsible for a person to maintain their unit. Think of it this way if you will;

Today is Monday. A person owns a car. The owner agrees to sell the car as is to another person with the title transfer occuring on Friday for a pre-set amount. On Tuesday, the owner decides that it would be nice to paint the car and put new tires on it on so that they can drive it a couple more days in pristine condition. Why would anybody in their right mind do this?

So you see, it makes more sense to cash out your equity by not reinvesting capital. Again, if you can show me the actual structure of the deed restriction I am more than willing to revise my thinking.

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thecondoguy1 7 years, 2 months ago

this is a good one above are sophisticated, informed, intellegent, people, all struggling with how this works. a 3% annual appreciation cap is the norm, typically this is barely enough to cover the cost to prepare to sell and sell, hence "permanently affordable". keep in mind that there is no guarantee that even market rate homes will go up in value, Steamboat has seen a good market of late, don't forget the national market was part a aberration of the home builders and the Realtors beating the pots and cheerleading the fact that home prices have "always" gone up, "does this sound familiar"? look at who is buying the homes in Steamboat, a good bit is by the Realtor community and their friends speculating on flipping for price increases, "sound familiar"? I don't think they would be so quick to buy a deed restricted unit even if they qualified. a market is based on supply and demand, there is a very limited demand for these properties as time goes by, ( check it out in Boulder, Longmont ), the result is people get trapped in this mess and further victimized by the do good feel good people who stole the upside from them and left them permanently behind attaining the american dream, they are pigeon holed in this life, just where the do gooders want them, beholden to them forever.

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id04sp 7 years, 2 months ago

03 and luscietc.

The mobile home parks are there, and cleaning them up so the skiers don't have to look at them on the way into town is, indeed, elitist crap.

$2,253,800 was spent on 10 acres. Who got the money? Why was this purchase made when only 4 acres are buildable, driving the cost up to $500,000 per acre, or about seven times what a one-acre building lot would cost in other areas?

All those new homes jammed in there on Elk River Road near the airport, etc., just doesn't sound attractive for anyone. Why not provide decent family homes with a yard for the kids to play in at some other location, like Milner?

No, go back and see who got the $2,253,800 for the mostly unbuildable land, and let's figure out why the decision was made.

If this is the place I think it is, and the sales price was just over $2,253,800 according to the tax assessor's website, it was purchased for $360,000 in 2000. Whatever possessed YVHA to spend $2.25 million for residential development in this commercial area? Don't you think it could have been sold for this amount to a commercial developer uh, except for the fact that 60% of the land is not suitable? What is it, a wetlands? Is this where the cattails are growing next to Copper Ridge?

The names of those who operate the YVHA are not listed on their website. We need to get those names and do some tracing of transactions, etc., to get to the bottom of this. The only contact listed is "jthompson@mindsips.com" and that doesn't tell us very much.

I know a fella named "j thompson" who sold modular homes. Is there a connection between this and the homsites designed for a "single-wide mobile home footprint?"

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id03sp 7 years, 2 months ago

03, read my comments again. I'm not questioning the finances of the property purchase or their future plans. You keep babbling on about it and that's not at all what I'm asking. I actually agree with you on that point. It doesn't sound like a good financial proposition to me either.

I'm asking you to answer my other question. Why is it "elitist crap" when someone says the tourists and other residents of our community think the abandoned cars and appliances sitting in the yard at a trailer park is an eyesore but it's not "elitist crap" when you say it.

What makes you better then them?

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Dave Moloney 7 years, 2 months ago

I was just reading the guidlines today. Appreciation is capped at 3% and the unit can only be sold to someone else that qualifies under the guidelines. Where a buyer could really get hurt is if interest rates rise to much higher levels. The next local making 120% or less of the AMI isn't going to be able to qualify for the loan.

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bubba 7 years, 2 months ago

Hadleyburg, I am basing my assumption on the community housing guide the city passed a few months ago, which is available on the city's webstite, under planning department. It occurs to me that the housing authority may be operating under a separate guideline, so this may not apply. Ironically, the document that city council passed carefully describes eligibility requirements as a function of AMI (and has two categories, those AT AMI and those at 50% of AMI), and has tables showing how if you spend 30% of AMI on a house with 5% deposit, the value of the house based on mortgage rates, etc. It also describes the resale process, but does not state how the price will be calculated. I inferred that the price would be calculated based on the AMI when the property is resold as well as when it is initially sold, but it does not explicitly say that. I'd imagine that if the city ever hires someone to administer this program, it will be a tough job to fill in all the blanks. Aspen's policy, which the City policy is based on, has several tiers of affordable units, with prices based on varying percentages of AMI, so I assume ours is the same, with just two tiers (for now). If the housing authority is operating under a different guideline, than I stand corrected, although I still don't think this area is as destined for blight as some might say.

Remember, this is affordable housing, not low-income housing. At the 2000 census, routt county AMI was about 50k per year- I certainly don't think this is going to be like the projects at Curtis park in Denver.

And again id04sp, comparing the price for a single family building lot to the price of a parcel approved for several units is irrelevant. Maybe the person who sold this land to the housing authority was the person who went through the approval process of getting it zoned differently than it previously was, and that is why the price changed so much, they 'added value' to it. I am unfamiliar with the site, but if a portion is unbuildable, that doesn't necessarily mean due to physical conditions, it could mean that they gave up rights to develop part of the site in order to achieve higher densities on another part of the site. It happens all the time (like that big field in front of the steamboat grand, it is unbuildable because they transferred the development rights to get a bigger monstrosity on top of the hill).

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Hadleyburg_Press 7 years, 2 months ago

Bubba, Thanks for the info. I am trying to understand this process as well. I am sure that there will be people willing to purchase these deed restricted properties. When I use the term lower income, I ment relative to Steamboat. There will probably be HOA rules governing reserves for external repairs, so there shouldn't be significant external deferred maintenance. Regardless, I can't understand why someone would enter into this high risk low yield investment just to be able to live here. And yes, I love it here, respect those folks that serve this community, and wish them well. I would think that buying a free market house in Hayden, Oak Creek, Stagecoach, Milner or even Yampa would be a better approach. I also think that the YVHA could be of better use if they continued down the path of affordable rental. If the YVHA has to exist then that would be a better purpose, even though IMO it amounts to a subsidy for business owners who should be caring this burden.

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thecondoguy1 7 years, 2 months ago

now there's a concept, affordable rental property...........

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id03sp 7 years, 2 months ago

04,

So it doesn't matter if a skier has to look at them, it just matters if you have to look at them. Let's talk about elitist crap now.

Like I said, you'd be better off if you had an opinion you could consistently stick to.

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id04sp 7 years, 2 months ago

03,

It is my nature to look at every issue from all angles and spray shrapnel where it's indicated. My point of view is not so narrow that I can't deal with new information when it's presented.

YVHA could have purchased 45 building sites north of Clark for $2,250,000 in an area where modular homes are common. That would be 45 family homes on more than 1/2 acre each rather than 13 homes and 51 condos crammed into 4 acres.

Bubba,

Go out there and look at the site. Nobody has put anything approaching $900,000 into improvement of that area. This was way too much money paid for way too little, and it's a shame.

BTW, the people who have owned that property for the past few years show lots of transactions in the real estate records, and I would speculate that this was their most profitable option for the property since it really is not suitable for luxury homes.

Does anybody know if the "unbuildable" 6 acres were placed in a conservation easement? That might explain a lot.

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id04sp 7 years, 2 months ago

03,

Just on the chance you're not writing to respond to yourself in the posts above - - -

The trailer parks are a long-standing part of the community. The people living there cannot just go out and spend the money to beautify the place because the skiers driving by think it looks junky. People living in the parks who are barely getting by anyway might deserve a little bit of compassion for their current plight, regardless of the fact that, maybe, they could have done better by working harder, or in a different place, earlier, and not be in their current circumstance in the trailer park.

My point was, why develop another area that's doomed to the same fate. If the new area is being laid out to be occupied by mostly single-wide mobile home sized dwellings, why create the crowding, etc., that will go along with it?

I'd like to see the park dwellers be able to move out to single family homes on 1/4 acre lots. I think YVHA could have provided almost as many dwellings, and nicer homes, for costs comparable to what the high-density plan of 67 homes on 4 acres will provide.

So, to summarize, it's "elitist crap" to criticize a person's living conditions when they are already doing the best they can. At the same time, why build another development that's basically a mobile home park without wheels when the same money spent in different places would provide nicer family homes for the OCCUPANTS of the homes. It's not about how they LOOK. It's about a better quality of life for the people who live there.

Does that clear it up for you?

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id04sp 7 years, 2 months ago

Westy,

I am currently in that underrepresented demographic known as the 54 to 60 age group. I have been through some of the same challenges as you while living in Routt County, and it's not a pretty place to be when you are unemployed. I was able to recover nicely because of some help from my family, which frankly, I probably didn't deserve. Regardless of all that, I've been around long enough to convert some past hard knocks into wisdom and common sense, and have learned to read between the lines.

In short, when something seems to be going on without much reason behind it, you can usually trace the roots back to somebody being in a position to make money.

There is a huge underground economy in Steamboat and Routt County. All you have to do is look at the Clerk and Recorder website and see all the property transfers via quit claim deed (which shields them from scrutiny by the IRS) to see it going on. Follow some trails through the recorded documents and you will see things like a vacant lot foreclosed by a homeowners association, sold to a member of the board, traded around a couple of times, and ultimately sold to a legitimate buyer via a warranty deed transaction (one where a bank or other mortgage lender secures their interest in the property) for a huge profit that goes to some private party involved in the previous chicanery.

When I see ten acres purchased for $300,000 in a commercial area that ultimatley sells for $2,000,000 to produce 4 acres of buildable land, it raises flags. We have no way to know what really goes on behind the scenes among the buyers and sellers in such cases, but we SHOULD know, because YVHA is funded with public money.

I don't see this transaction as a victory for affordable housing. I see it as a diversion of public money to a private party for reasons unknown, and an opportunity for someone in the business of selling modular homes to make a killing at our expense. These people don't care about quality of life and those sorts of issues for the people who will ultimately live in the project.

Steamboat is a small enough community to keep track of such things and set them right. The problem must be that the people involved in governance are either totally stupid, or are a part of the undergrond profiteering.

I am a dyed in the wool capitalist, and I think profit in return for hard work is a wonderful thing, but I also think that at some point, enough money is enough, and it's time to do something to benefit other people. Shoving families into modular homes next door to young adults living in groups, etc., under the guise of "affordable housing" is a crime. YVHA could have spent the money better. Something like a Suburban Lodge (1 bedroom efficiencies, rented by the week) for transient and young adults would have been a much better idea for that parcel of land.

So why do we get all those modular homes on 4 acres instead?

It's money for somebody, for sure.

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weststmbtres 7 years, 2 months ago

Sounds like I stuck a stick in a hornets nest and shook it up real good. I think both of you need to lighten up a little.

04 I agree with you that a new park probably isn't a great choice for that property since the buildable area is so limited. However, I don't know if there is a better spot or not.

03 I agree with you in that 04 seems to have a bit of a double standard going with his statements about elitist crap.

04, I wasn't criticizing anyones living conditions when I made my statement last month. I was criticizing their attitude and behavior towards where they live.

I've lived paycheck to paycheck, sometimes unemployed, deep in debt, hungry, distraught and depressed over my own situation living in a trailer in Sleepy Bear. I've also lived in some of the poorest parts of the coal fields in appalachia. However, I have never filled my yard with useless garbage for all the world to see just because I didn't have 5 bucks to deliver a truckload of garbage to the landfill. A person can dig up that much change from their couch and the floorboard of their car.

I just think everyone should have a little respect the place where they live and keep it clean. Despite my depression and lack of funds, I've always done what I could to make my living situation as clean and organized as I could.

I still stand by my original statements about cleaning up the mess in the existing parks. Theres no reason for all the garbage filling some of the yards. Within minimal effort you can find some place to recycle or dispose of garbage in Steamboat. With a phone call or two I bet you can find someone who would take most any kind of scrap metal. There's no reason to pile up 20 old rusty bicycle frames and appliances in a pile in your yard and let them sit there rotting and rusting for the whole world to see.

I'm straddling the fence. I think the mess needs to be cleaned up so locals and tourists alike don't have to look at it. We're not better than the tourists and they are not better than us. However, we get to live here in this beautiful place because of the tourists. We need them. My living situation is better now because of the tourism industry in Colorado. I'm sure a lot of Coloradans who have been here for the long haul would tell you the same.

Now that I've explained myself, I hope you guys will quit bickering over what I said last month and move on.

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