City Council to review Steamboat 700 agreement

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What: Steamboat Springs City Council meeting

When: 5 p.m. today

Where: Centennial Hall, 124 10th St.

Call: City offices at 879-2060 for more information; call 871-7070 to listen live to City Council meetings

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Steamboat 700 timeline

- Today

Steamboat Springs City Council meeting; introduction and discussion of draft annexation agreement

- Wednesday

Negotiating team meeting; discussion of direction from City Council, next steps and revisions

- Thursday

Steamboat Springs Planning Commission meeting; work session to review revised draft of traditional neighborhood design guidelines

- Aug. 31

Joint meeting of City Council and the Routt County Board of Commissioners; work session to discuss annexation issues including funding of U.S. Highway 40 improvements

- Sept. 8

City Council meeting; review of fiscal impacts for capital improvements

- Sept. 9

Open house; city and Steamboat 700 officials available to provide information and answer questions

- Sept. 10

Planning Commission meeting; annexation review and traditional neighborhood design amendments

- Sept. 17

Planning Commission meeting; annexation review and traditional neighborhood design amendments

- Sept. 29

City Council meeting; initial review of annexation plat, annexation agreement and traditional neighborhood design ordinance

- Oct. 13

Final consideration of annexation plat, annexation agreement and traditional neighborhood design ordinance

— The Steamboat Springs City Council will discuss for the first time today the document that could govern growth in a large section of western Steamboat for the next two decades.

Council members are scheduled to discuss and comment on the latest draft of an annexation agreement with Steamboat 700, the proposed master-planned community of about 500 acres that is seeking annexation. The agreement is the only item on the agenda for tonight's meeting.

The agreement would create a new zoning designation for new urbanism development, vest Steamboat 700's development rights for as long as 20 years, and provide for new west-side capital facilities such as a fire station, a community center, parks, trails and improvements to U.S. Highway 40.

"The whole agenda item is to do a review of the latest draft of the annexation agreement," Deputy City Manager Wendy DuBord said.

City Council will take public comment on the agreement tonight, and a final draft will be prepared based on council members' feedback. A final vote on whether to annex the development that proposes about 2,000 homes is scheduled for Oct. 13.

Steamboat 700 Principal and Project Manager Danny Mulcahy said he needs the agreement to be airtight to protect the development rights being granted.

"I need the annexation agreement to be as strong as possible because city officials are going to turn over," Mulcahy said.

Highlights of the draft annexation agreement include:

- Metro districts will be created and used to tax the development and help finance Steamboat 700's responsibility for public improvements.

- A new development review procedure known as "large tract subdivision" will be created and will allow Steamboat 700 to sell "super lots" that can be developed by others.

- If Steamboat 700 exceeds 2,000 homes, additional public improvements will be required.

- The project's community housing plan requires the dedication of 12.5 acres to the city and the institution of a 0.5 percent real estate transfer tax within the development to provide land and money for affordable housing projects.

- Future developers in western Steamboat would be required to reimburse Steamboat 700 for the cost of public improvements that also would benefit other properties.

- Steamboat 700 will pay the city $960,000 during two years for legal and engineering work to firm up some of the city's existing water rights.

- Development rights will be vested for 10 years after annexation and an additional 10 years after Steamboat 700 conveys to the city 25 percent of the land required by the community housing plan.

While council members will be providing feedback on the annexation agreement in its entirety today, some provisions of it remain very much in flux. The most significant exhibit of the agreement, the capital facilities phasing plan, still is under negotiation and will be the subject of a Sept. 9 City Council meeting.

"They're finalizing basically the trigger points for when things need to be built," interim Finance Director Bob Litzau said.

Mulcahy said the timing of capital improvements will have a substantial impact on the ultimate affordability of housing within the development.

A new zoning designation for Steamboat 700, traditional neighborhood design, also continues to be reviewed. The city Planning Commission will discuss the latest iteration of the traditional neighborhood design guidelines on Thursday.

Also known as new urbanism, traditional neighborhood design is a response to suburban sprawl and prescribes neighborhoods that are dense, pedestrian-friendly and similar-looking to Old Town. They usually contain commercial districts, parks and other features that reduce the need for off-site automobile trips. Front porches and garages on alleys are hallmarks of new urbanism.

Comments

Scott Wedel 5 years, 1 month ago

"I need the annexation agreement to be as strong as possible because city officials are going to turn over," Mulcahy said.

Assuming that is an accurate quote - it also scary because all of these approvals cut only in one way.

If the annexation includes mistakes or miscalculations by the City then the City cannot do anything about that.

If the annexation includes mistakes or miscalculations by the developer then the developer puts the project on hold and asks the City to modify the deal.

It is just crazy to annex something with an affordable housing plan that will be plan for the entire project over it's 20+ years build out when the City has yet to find a working affordable housing plan, or has been able to keep the same plan for more than 2 years.

It is just wrong to approve vesting of development rights that it is known that will not be developed for at least 10 years. They should annex a third of it and wait to do the rest until after they see what was good and what was not so good.

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Fred Duckels 5 years, 1 month ago

Scott, You are right, we can't nail down everything perfect, and this will take many concessions by both sides over the years, look at our affordable housing efforts. 700 has made many concessions to date, including water problems in order to be fair. Going down the road if the project goes well the city can share in the good fortune by demanding more. If the project falters I'm sure that decisions will be necessaary. The project is essentially our future and it takes good faith on both sides to benefit. If there is money to be made, we will grow in spite of efforts to slow down, this lets us organize and have 700 contribute to the problem. Without a major project it will be difficult to get contributions for infrastructure. If growth does not come readily it will be the 700 that will suffer most. We have enough political pressure to effect problems that arise in the future, you can't fight city hall.

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danny 5 years, 1 month ago

Scott- That wasn't a quote but more of a paraphrase. Our view is: it is important for both the City and SB700 to have an solid annexation agreement for many reasons, not the least of which is because the City has expressed a concern that SB700 may not be around in ten years-my comment was that Steamboat 700 shares a similar concern because City Councils and city leadership will turn over. The City's annexation attorney and negotiating team have worked very hard, and driven hard bargains, in getting this document to where it is. Hopefully we (the City and SB700) have addressed everything in the agreement, but we can be certain that over 20 years both parties will consider amendments that would be beneficial to both parties. Ultimately, any changes to the agreement would be the choice of future City Councils and not Steamboat 700's-but the annexation agreement will help set the table.

Also, I couldn't agree with you more about the challenges of affordable housing in the annexation agreement-there is no crystal ball in predicting what the next 20+ years will bring and what the affordable housing needs will be. That is why the current SB700 plan has a perpetual funding mechanism and a land donation to the city. With that land and funding, the community will have the flexibility to choose within each subdivision what they need for affordable housing to meet the market demands of the time ie.. apts, condos, duplex, quads, SF. This plan has the potential to provide up to $40 million over 20 years and produce in excess of 20% affordable housing at SB700-and the City and the community have the flexibility to decide how it gets implemented.

Additionally, as it relates to the vesting: the primary purpose stems from the fact that a certain level of infrastructure is necessary regardless of whether the phases at S700 include ten houses or one hundred. That base infrastructure costs in the tens of millions of dollars-the vesting means SB700 has a reasonable period of predictability to finance and implement the infrastructure- notwithstanding market conditions.

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Scott Wedel 5 years, 1 month ago

Not quite journalism for a direct quote to be denied but accepted as being paraphrased.

Anyway, the issue remains that if the annexation turns out to be a mistake in the developer's favor then the developer will hold the city to the terms of the agreement. Meanwhile, if it is a mistake unfavorable to the developer then the developer will come to the City Council to get it fixed to get the project back on track.

I think this is going to a public vote regardless of what the City Council does. If this annexation agreement could result in 2,000 residential units that over the next 20 years consistently fails to meet the objectives of the community growth plan then it would be easy to vote against the annexation.

There needs to be a way to periodically review this and make adjustments if it is failing to meet the agreed upon objectives of the annexation.

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