Police station, US 40 at heart of 700 hang-up

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— The Steamboat Springs City Council won't let Steamboat 700 developers off the hook when it comes to paying for all or part of a new $9 million police station. However, council members agreed in principle Tuesday night to cutting the developers some slack on U.S. Highway 40 improvements.

Council met with the developers in a work session that went beyond five hours as both sides sought common ground on the best mechanism to manage $80 million of public infrastructure improvements associated with the proposed development and its bid to be annexed into the city. The site west of the city has long been identified as the area where someday Steamboat would grow in a measured way to provide housing for working families.

The collegial tone of Tuesday night's discussion didn't reflect all of the urgency Steamboat 700 Project Manager Danny Mulcahy is feeling as summer wears on.

"The growth area is gone if I don't get annexed this year," Mulcahy told the Steamboat Pilot & Today during an interview Tuesday morning. "I'll cut my losses and go. I'm not going to go through this for another two or three years."

However, Mulcahy also expressed strong optimism that should council approval of his project be put to a public vote, he would prevail by a significant margin. And he strongly hinted that if council rejects his petition, he might seek a public vote himself.

"If the city turns down my annexation, then I go get my own signatures," Mulcahy said.

Steamboat 700 came to the meeting prepared to ask the city to eliminate some of the line items it is asking the developer to fund, including a new police headquarters, and defer others into the future to ease the financing burden.

"The thorniest project has to do with the new public safety building," Steamboat 700 financial consultant Jean Townsend said. "We can't find numbers to show that Steamboat 700 would create more than 22 percent of the demand even at build-out. There just aren't enough revenues to fund a $9 million project by 2016."

Mulcahy has said he doesn't think it's reasonable to ask the developer to fund a city facility that was needed before the project was proposed.

However, City Council responded that the intent of city staff was to land on one significant public project to require of the developers rather than attempting to assign a percentage of Steamboat 700 impacts to every project on its capital improvement plan. Council members pointed out that the new residents of Steamboat 700 would have a substantial impact on existing community facilities.

"(The public safety building) is one bit of public benefit that is coming out of this," Councilman Scott Myller said. "The community is already providing an ice rink and all kinds of stuff."

His colleagues agreed.

Council has been concerned all spring and summer about a looming gap between the revenues Steamboat 700 will generate from property taxes within its metro districts and a real estate transfer tax, and the cost of building roads and other infrastructure decades into the future.

Townsend advanced a new economic model that showed how cutting some improvements and deferring others could close that gap, not just at the end of the plan, but throughout its development. She scored some points with council members when she argued that several phases of U.S. 40 improvements could be set aside as contingency items - to be built only when traffic volume warranted the work. Specifically, she asked that highway improvements beyond Steamboat West Boulevard, the entrance to Steamboat 700, and stretching all the way to Steamboat II and Heritage Park, be delayed until demand warrants.

"The need to widen the highway there will come from other developments," she predicted, and waiting could postpone the need to spend more than $13 million, significantly narrowing the gap between revenues and costs.

Mulcahy urged council members to read the recent Vision 2030 report, which he suggested indirectly endorses Steamboat 700. Two women who played significant roles in drafting Vision 2030 responded during public comment.

Vision 2030's Diane Brower said the prospect for work force housing at Steamboat 700 is limited.

"It's a misconception this development will meet the community's affordable housing needs. It absolutely will not," she said.

She cited a report that concluded that developments like 700 typically create a built-in need for 15 percent affordable housing. The West of Steamboat Springs Area Plan calls for 20 percent affordable housing, meaning that the development would only yield a net of 5 percent affordable housing, she concluded.

Kathy Stokes agreed with Mulcahy.

"We asked for phased growth, and we asked for paced growth," Stokes said. "We've got to grow. The question is whether we'll have places for people to live when we do grow. This plan addresses transportation, schools and shopping. It's a real community, not affordable housing mixed in with tourism units."

Comments

justice4all 5 years, 5 months ago

Guess what---- affordable is becoming more of a joke with all these added costs. Can't you see, the cost of all these "improvements" will pass on to the home buyer. And does a city the size of Steamboat need a new or larger police station. I think not!

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housepoor 5 years, 5 months ago

"(The public safety building) is one bit of public benefit that is coming out of this," Councilman Scott Myller said. "The community is already providing an ice rink and all kinds of stuff."

wow, that statement say a lot about how the city rationalizes projects

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Chad James 5 years, 5 months ago

In my opinion, Steamboat 700 has been MORE THAN fair in their concessions to the city.

Unfortunately, our town has put off recommended (by staff) improvements for 8-10 years in some casess waiting for a "sugar daddy" to come and bail them out.

There is no argument that the development of this project will create a need for expanded services, transportation, infrastructure, etc. But to ask the developer to pay for 100% of long recommended improvments is at best an exercise in overt socialism.

We must annex Steamboat 700. If we don't, we will see 700 (or is it 500) acres of luxury homes owned by 90 day residents and we will STILL need new roads and schools and police stations....we just won't have a way to pay for them.

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aichempty 5 years, 5 months ago

In case nobody has noticed:

  1. Our only industry is Mt. Werner. I don't see it growing enough business to support 700 more families.

  2. If other businesses like TIC were going to move into Steamboat, they'd already be here.

  3. If you read The Record and the jail reports, you'll find that most of the police calls requiring an armed response are generated by people who you wouldn't really expect to find moving into a new family neighborhood, would you? Why create problems we don't already have by encouraging growth and the opportunities for anonymous crime that go along with it?

The Steamboat 700 idea makes no more sense than the construction of a new air terminal next a runway that can't be used by any airplane currently in commercial service. What were they thinking?

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Fred Duckels 5 years, 5 months ago

We are spoiled today concerning development, and I can understand this considering that we have been overrun in the recent past. We have had entirely too much growth in a short period of time. The last time I saw activity like this it was in the early eithties. It may well be a long time before our economy roars again, the present administration seems favorable to reducing our consumption, and we may easily see a decade of tough sledding. This also occurred following the S@L crisis, times were very tough. If we waited on the ski area to be revenue neutral we would not be skiing today. I think that the time is right to prime the pump, The opportunity is here and now, and may well not be here at all, if the investors decide to cut their losses. We may no longer be in the drivers seat and a no vote could come back and haunt us. This project has been the answer to a lot of planning and we will probably not find a fit this good again. The commercial area logistics will save the city big bucks in the future by decreasing the need to go into town for the whole west area. If the 700 did not go, we could find the 35 acre fiasco becoming the norm for all areas west. This would leave the city with very little cost sharing to handle the growth that will occur regardless of the loss of 700. This area will not be high end and money is definitely a concern if it is to become a reality. The numbers may not take the risk out for councils comfort zone, and this is a time for vision and leadership. No guts no glory. Good luck! Annexing the mountain area was not popular, as the area was noted for bad debts. If put to a vote, it would not happen, but council had some good leaders, led by Jim Golden and they pushed it through. I think that this was our leaderships finest hour in my memory.

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flotilla 5 years, 5 months ago

Fred: What growth? What jobs? Who is moving here? Spell it out for us. Do it.

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flotilla 5 years, 5 months ago

Also, Fred, check the real estate listings. There are 67 homes between 170-650K within Steamboat city limits... that is room for 67 families to move here at Danny's "affordable" housing cost (which is $600K)or less. Now show me jobs for 134 people.

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Fred Duckels 5 years, 5 months ago

This is a long term project, what was the situation the last few years. The city will not suffer any if 700 does not build. The economic situation is best left for those with skin involved, they will be the losers, not you.

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goremtn 5 years, 5 months ago

flotilla: your point on the 67 unit inventory is great (wow...are we supposed to see that as an oversupply??? 67 units?) but is only half the story. How many of those are 1bds or studios at the base area? Or in 70's-era condos up Mt Werner drive? Or timeshares? Your post says "families" but I am doubting that the data on the 67 units shows that the units are adequate for families to live in, which is the housing that 700 and 360 are proposing and is totally lacking in Stmbt. Betcha lots of young families don't want those 67 units because the housing type just doesn't work, and these are people who already have jobs up here.

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housepoor 5 years, 5 months ago

those are single family and at 2-4 sales a month, what type of supply does that give us goremnt?

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Fred Duckels 5 years, 5 months ago

I found this meeting to be upbeat with heavy support from the public, this article seems to present another picture. The ducks will never be in a row to present a no brainer decision, council will have to stick their necks out regardless of how they vote. I just hope that they don't punt.

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flotilla 5 years, 5 months ago

Um, as I wrote, the 67 are single-family HOMES not condos, not townhomes, and all within the city limits. Go look.

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flotilla 5 years, 5 months ago

"The economic situation is best left for those with skin involved, they will be the losers, not you."

Please expand on this, Fred, since you have done nothing to answer the questions I asked you. Are you assuming I have no skin involved? Another republican assumption? You have no idea how much "skin" I could have in this, or my husband, family, coworkers. The point is, I don't think this City can afford it and I don't think we need it. That is the difference between greed and thoughtful planning.

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telebikebird 5 years, 5 months ago

Flotilla, Where are you getting your information on the 67 single family homes??

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flotilla 5 years, 5 months ago

http://prudentialsteamboatrealty.com/search/residential/results/

This also included west hwy 40 corridor, which included Milner, so drop that filter, and you end up with 50, not 68, the difference being Milner homes.

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housepoor 5 years, 5 months ago

i came up with 45 in city limits under 700K that does not include stmt 2 and heritage park i used

http://steamboatproperties.com/index.php

regardless the inventory is huge for the volume

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Duke_bets 5 years, 5 months ago

There is currently an inventory overload in most markets. How much has Steamboat grown in the last decade? None. The population is actually down by a few hundred. How much will Steamboat grow in the next decade? That is the big question.

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snowysteamboat 5 years, 5 months ago

Just the facts. Steamboat's estimated population in 2007 was 11,739. The Population in 2000 (Us Census) was 10,116, an increase of 1,623 or 16%.

The City has seen annual growth averaging about 2.4%

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Duke_bets 5 years, 5 months ago

snowy - You're using dated information for support. Mid-Year 2008 population was -2.3% compared to 2000. 9,592 population according to the facts.

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housepoor 5 years, 5 months ago

the transient nature of the area makes it difficult to rely on census ##'s

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snowysteamboat 5 years, 5 months ago

Who are you getting you facts from? My numbers have been verified by the state demographers office. Are you telling me between 2007 and 2008 we lost 2,200 people?

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Duke_bets 5 years, 5 months ago

snowy - I'm not telling you that. I didn't go out and count everyone in July 2008. The US census Bureau states a population of 9,592 in July 2008. Today it's listed at 9,815. Remember that 2007 was the hayday in resort towns.

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mavis 5 years, 5 months ago

wow- I didn't know many people could afford a "starter" home for 650k- in my world I am aiming for under 250k- but again that way I can pay my own morgtage and the rest of the world won't have to support me- or at least that's how I thought it wsa suppose to work

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Scott Wedel 5 years, 5 months ago

Regardless of the current economic recession/depression, the longer term trends are still favorable for SB. It is getting easier all the time to pick a place to live and work with others at their locations.Steamboat is an attractive place to live with tremendous recreational options.

The RE market is dead right now, partly for the same reasons of choice. There are not that many people that have to move here and buy and not that many that have to move away and sell. So sellers are sticking to prices that are far above what the few buyers are willing to pay. Buyers can look around and see that there is going to be a round of foreclosures and so can wait for the real bargains. Near my house, a larger house sold for 25% less than what two smaller houses are asking.

I think once there are a bunch of foreclosures that are then sold by the banks then the market will return to a new normal level comparable to 2004.

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flotilla 5 years, 5 months ago

Mavis, I agree, but the reality of Danny's 700 is that the "affordable housing" will start at about $600K. This is why I used that number. I have no desire to pay that or to live there but I don't want to see the community bear the burden of a poorly thought-out annex.

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Chad James 5 years, 5 months ago

Actually, flotilla...Steamboat 700 will have several hundred units under $500K, with many averaging out in the $280K range. I'd like to see another project that provides homes in that range.

Additionally, below are the total sales in Routt County over the last ten years. There were a thousand sales last year and it is trending for another thousand this year. So what if we aren't in the hot market of 2005 -2007. Sales dropped 27% from 2000 to 2001, then they came back. How many housing crashes have happened? In every case the market came back. Maybe it will never get to the same levels, but the largest generation in American history is just now entering the job market. And with the explosion of location neutral workers, this town is going to create jobs and grow.

Finally, "The three-county region of northwest Colorado has grown by 40% since 1990. Routt County's growth outpaced both Moffat and Rio Blanco counties combined, with a 66% increase" (Pg3 Community indicators 2009-2010) The Colorado State Demography Office anticipates that between 2008 and 2035 the state's population will increase 56%. During the same period the population of the three northwest Colorado counties is projected to grow at almost twice as fast as the balance of the state. (Pg 4 Community Indicator 2009-2010)

http://www.yampavalleypartners.com/files/SocialCIP2009_2010final.pdf

Routt county has grown by 20% just since 2000. You can't use Steamboat Springs in a vacuum because there wasn't any housing supply and they had to move to Hayden, Craig, Stage Coach and elsewhere in the county.

Below is the population forecast as stated by DOLA. 2000 - 20,099
2005 - 21,921
2010 - 24,728
2015 - 28,285
2020 - 32,152
2025 - 36,188
2030 - 40,531
2035 - 44,708

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flotilla 5 years, 5 months ago

Chad James, Can you please show me where it is written that "Steamboat 700 will have several hundred units under $500K, with many averaging out in the $280K range."

I would like to see the facts. "Units" Like, two bedroom condos? Show the facts. I think this is complete b.s. that you have bought into.

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Chad James 5 years, 5 months ago

Flotilla, I read it on his website at http://steamboat700.com/files/S700newsletter-7.17.09.pdf I think you should take a look. And I was wrong it's more like 1000 units.

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housepoor 5 years, 5 months ago

chad we dont have 20,00o now??? even in the county 2010 Census results will not make official happy, less people + less $$$ from the fed's

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trump_suit 5 years, 5 months ago

Housepoor, I have seen the 2000 census and have worked with people at the county that keep track of such things. The current population est for Steamboat is about 12,000, and Routt country is at 22,000. I would expect the 2010 census to reflect those numbers.

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Steve Lewis 5 years, 5 months ago

Chad, Thanks for the link. It was helpful.

Affordability is the whole point. Unfortunately projected selling prices aren't something we can take to the bank, but maybe you have some expertise to support how those numbers might hold up?

Tax mil levies and HOA fees are also a big factor. Can we know HOA fees at this point? I have asked the City to publish what they can on the mil levies, but haven't seen anything yet.

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Steve Lewis 5 years, 5 months ago

The market jumping back seems unlikely this time. I don't think there are many economists call for the "V" recovery. Aren't most saying this will be the "L"?

I also think the demographer's projections haven't anticipated a recession event like this. What we may have going for us, as I've read somewhere in this blog, is people tend to move here in a recession.

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Chad James 5 years, 5 months ago

Hey Steve, just saw this post...sorry for not replying sooner. I agree that projections are speculative. I simply wanted to make sure that information from the developer was being researched and digested prior to making blanket statements.

As far as mil levies and and HOA fees, they would also be assumptive, but I agree that it would be interesting to hear from the City on those issues.

Thanks for the ping.

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