Steamboat 700 petitioners claim 1,334 signatures

Organizers say drive for annexation vote going strong; Thursday is deadline

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— Organizers of a petition drive to put the Steamboat 700 annexation to a public vote said Tuesday that they have submitted 1,334 signatures to the city clerk.

Cindy Constantine is chairwoman of Let’s Vote, the committee circulating petitions seeking a public vote. In an e-mail today, Constantine wrote that the committee has submitted 42 petitions containing the signatures to the office of City Clerk Julie Franklin. The signatures are pending verification by Franklin’s office. In its initial submittal last week, the committee turned in 14 petitions containing more than 600 signatures.

Franklin confirmed Tuesday that she received the petitions and has begun the verification process. She said she has verified signatures on only five of the petitions.

“I’m hoping to get through a lot later this week and this weekend,” she said.

Constantine, echoing comments made last week by Let’s Vote committee spokesman Tim Rowse, said public response to the petition drive has been positive.

“All 30 petition circulators have reported overwhelming support of our efforts to put the decision to a citywide vote and have met with little resistance,” Constantine wrote.

The committee’s reported total of 1,334 signatures is well more than the requirement of 829 signatures, a number that represents 10 percent of Steamboat Springs’ registered voters in the last regular municipal election. The committee is still collecting signatures across the city and will keep a petition available during business hours at Elk River Guns, 1320 Dream Island Plaza, until 4 p.m. Thursday.

Thursday is the deadline for the committee to submit petitions to Franklin’s office.

Constantine’s husband, Ken, owns Elk River Guns.

“We will have a final signature count … next Tuesday morning,” Cindy Constantine wrote.

Steamboat 700 is a 487-acre annexation approved by the Steamboat Springs City Council on Oct. 13 in a 4-3 vote. It proposes about 2,000 homes and 380,000 square feet of commercial space just west of the current city limits.

Some say Steamboat 700 would give the city a smart place to grow, provide affordable housing and help pay for needed city improvements; others say the annexation is too large, is happening too fast and does not adequately address impacts to the city’s water supplies, traffic and more.

Cindy Constantine has said the committee simply wants to ask residents, “Would you like the opportunity to vote on the recent decision made by City Council to annex Steamboat 700?”

Steamboat Springs residents Omar Campbell, Greg Rawlings, Terry Armstrong, Rowse and Cindy Constantine make up the Let’s Vote committee.

The referendum process will proceed as follows:

If the petition is deemed insufficient, the committee has two days to file a “notice of intention to amend the petition” and then has 10 days to supplement the petition with additional signatures. If the petition is deemed insufficient again, it is forwarded to the City Council as such, unless within two days the committee files a request that the City Council review the petition. The City Council then would decide whether the petition is sufficient. The sufficiency of the petition also is subject to any legal challenges that may be brought in District Court.

If the city verifies that referendum petitions contain at least 829 valid signatures, the annexation ordinance will be suspended, and the petition will be submitted to the City Council.

Once a petition is deemed sufficient and forwarded to the City Council, council members can voluntarily repeal the annexation ordinance or submit a referendum of the annexation to voters to decide whether to repeal the ordinance. Indications from City Council members are that a majority of them would choose to put the question to a citywide vote.

If the City Council does not repeal the ordinance, the question will go to voters in a special election likely to be held in January or February. It would be an all-mail election, like the Nov. 3 vote. As required by the annexation agreement, Steamboat 700 would pay for the election.

— To reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4233

or e-mail mlawrence@steamboatpilot.com

Comments

boater1 4 years, 5 months ago

to all you people who signed this:

if the end result of all this results in the project not happening, just remember this as the day you killed any chance of your kids affording to live in steamboat. prices will be out of the roof for them to have any chance of raising their own families in Steamboat.
enjoy that drive to Denver to see your grandkids!

your signature is either ruled by the fact you live in fear of tommorrow or THE only thing that matters to you is your property and it's hopefull rising value. you came to steamboat and then shut the door after you got in. pathetic narrow-minded people.

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insbsdeep 4 years, 5 months ago

You are the narrow-minded one, doomboater1. When did you move to Steamboat? Steamboat is special and we need to keep it that way.

Why leave such a big decision up to a few city council members that were split on the issue. Which ever side of the issue you are on, we the people have a right to learn more and make a decision.

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brian ferguson 4 years, 5 months ago

Put it to a vote and then accept the results. Too bad all of Routt county cant participate

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homegrown 4 years, 5 months ago

Well insbsdeep, how come the county voters don't get to vote on the 700, city council is making a decision for you , you want to make a decision for me. I grew up here and I would like to at least have a chance of moving closer to town. If we don't put any more inventory on the market then my hopes and the hopes of my kids to live close to town and attend steamboat schools possibly goes out the window. Everything is going to grow, even Montana and Wyoming are growing. 10 years ago who would want to move to Wyoming. The majority of people voted for the current members of the city council. We elect them to make decisions for us otherwise you would have 10000 people trying to make decisions and nothing would ever get accomplished. If you are concerned you should go to meetings and be as informed as possible. Feel free to ask questions, they have answers. But just like boater said, in the future with your signature and your vote you are the ones responsible. I can't even vote so please think of me when you do.

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cara marrs 4 years, 5 months ago

Just a question... by the way I am not the first poster ( thats boater1). I am really being serious here and not looking for a fight. Is it bad for us to vote? To be honest I am not decided on ST 700 either way yet, I am still learning, as having a few different jobs I have not been able to go to all the meetings. I own a home in SBS but I want there to be an affordable alternative for everyone, including old friends that cannot move back here b/c of price. Anyway, is a vote a bad thing, if its a great idea then it will pass right? If not then it won't? If it does go to a vote, is it feasable for those in outlying communities that cannot vote to get together and voice their collective opinion so those that are able to vote can take that into consideration. For the record I think that a lot of people who signed the petition to put this to a vote are not decided yet and are not all anti 700 voters trying to kill the idea.

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boater1 4 years, 5 months ago

insbsdeep, moved here over 15 years ago. alot has changed and it's still special place. alot will change over the next 15. that's life. shutting the door to future growth does not make it special as time goes on. that is short-sighting thinking. it makes it more expensive as supply goes down (look at aspen).

it's not special anymore when your friends need to move away, families need to leave, passing aquitances are no longer seen at the post office and were left with snobish ultra wealthy driving around in their rovers expecting mexicans living in craig to wait on them. special places have a wide mix of friendly locals who live and work in the community! what makes a place special are the people. get it?????

more people will want to move here. they'll want places to live. if not in 700 then other projects that come up or driving from hayden (who would love to have the tax base). 700 is a controled growth w/ a master plan of amenities. guess you would rather have haphazard growth & more locals getting pushed out commuting from father distances. it's happening already!!!!! growup and realize change will happen & 700 is good change.

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AGM 4 years, 5 months ago

The mantra of people looking for a vote is allegedly to give the voice to the people and have the people "learn" the facts.

I have not seen one ounce of effort to educate the public. I feel very secure that I won't see once ounce of effort toward education from the "pro-vote" crowd. That is a shame and it will most likely prove to be deceitful.

Please prove me wrong. Please do what you say.

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seeuski 4 years, 5 months ago

I have to agree with boater1 in that the 700 project affords a controlled growth plan that will benefit the future generations to come. The petitioners are anti 700 and while their motivations are,as they see it, for the good of Steamboats future success will mean killing this planned community and they will have achieved nothing more than the promise of a sell off of that land to high end 35 acre type mansions. The future is coming in one form or another so which is more suited for the needs of the community as it grows? Plan for it, control it while you have a chance or prepare to drive by a few more high end gated mega mansions in 10 years. P.S. I am not anti vote I just hope if the vote comes that those eligible to do so consider what each choice creates for the people of Steamboat.

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boater1 4 years, 5 months ago

agm, get real. how many open houses/receptions has 700 given to "educate" the public? i've been to several. this website has been published often in the paper: http://www.steamboat700.com/ anyone who is not informed and is signing the petition wants to remain ignorant!

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housepoor 4 years, 5 months ago

boater1...wake up, that education you given yourself from their website is called a Sales Pitch!!! Oh yeah and we live in a LIFESTYLE COMMUNITY immune to the economic issues facing the rest of the country.....right Economics 101 by Cam, Jon W and Jim C LOL

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addlip2U 4 years, 5 months ago

Education? Have you not kept yourself abreast of the issue and made effort to learn how water, sewage treatment and traffic will affect all of us?
Steamboat 700 even hired people to solicit us by making calls to our residences giving incorrect information just to get a";pro vote"; although our phone numbers are registered on the ";do not solicit" list?
What an audacity!

You earned the right to vote, it is your responsibility to educate yourself with just pure facts and than make a sound decision:)

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Karen_Dixon 4 years, 5 months ago

Speaking of education, it would be nice if the election officials put together a Blue Book of sorts: Cliff notes for voters. Most people eligible to vote do not have the time to read the annexation agreement cover to cover. A brief synopsis of the major components - factually based with source location cited - would be very helpful, imo. Add pro and con commentary if you like.

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RPG 4 years, 5 months ago

If I have to drive to Denver to visit my grandhildren because they can't afford to live in SB I might as well shop in Denver. I'll be especially interested in buying my shooting supplies, ammo, gun safes, targets, etc, in Denver, as it seems that local shops aren't interested in keeping my business.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 5 months ago

The same City government that displayed their expertise negotiating with the Overlook developer only to be stunned that they started construction on the roadway prior to approval of the project also negotiated the SB 700 annexation.

I think the promises of SB 700 are admirable. I fear that the reality of the annexation agreement could result in something much different than promised. I could support annexing 100 or so acres with the expectation that the entire parcel would be developed according to the promises that have been made, but that it needs to be annexed in phases so that the annexation agreement(s) corrects loopholes and misunderstandings.

Also, let's get real - if this is approved then the result is not going to be starting construction next Spring on hundreds of affordable housing units. The local real estate market is in bad shape. Historical precedent suggests that resort RE recovers a couple years after the general economy. Unless it is their goal to lose lots of money, SB 700 is not going to ramp up construction until things recover. Lots/land go down far more than housing in general during a downturn. Recently, a lot in Stagecoach sold for just over half of what a very similar lot sold for two years ago. Lots/land also go up far more than housing when real estate prices are increasing.

Remember that City Council member and smart lawyer Cari Hermanski asked SB 700 for numbers showing how they would meet their public promises. I think it is fair to say that she supports the promised public benefits of SB 700. But they couldn't convince her that the promises were going to happen and she ended up voting against it.

I think SB 700 as approved is unlikely to be developed in the next 10 years. They''ll wait until the local RE market is strong enough to absorb the new construction which means waiting until the cheap lots in Hayden and Stagecoach have been absorbed and are not so cheap.

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ElevenFootPole 4 years, 5 months ago

I thought the city hired special council with an expertise in annexations to negotiate on its behalf. Gerry Dahl, right?

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AGM 4 years, 5 months ago

Scott W.,

You wrote:

"I think the promises of SB 700 are admirable. I fear that the reality of the annexation agreement could result in something much different than promised. I could support annexing 100 or so acres with the expectation that the entire parcel would be developed according to the promises that have been made, but that it needs to be annexed in phases so that the annexation agreement(s) corrects loopholes and misunderstandings."

This is a wonderful academic argument - a perfect argument for a blog. However, how on earth could something like this work in reality??? You have one piece of property. One investor base. Can you please explain in detail for us how one would obtain financing, investors and a reasonable plan for making this work. Who in their right mind would buy a piece of property, take on all the risk and agree to have a small portion of that land annexed by a regulatory body with no future agreement??? What lender would ever lend on this? Oh that's right, we are in utopia, there are no lenders and there are no investors - we are lost in utopia-ville where reality doesn't matter.

It makes a great cover for a book, but it is not reality.

My second general question to you is to explain this "fear of something else being developed." Given the specifics and requirements in the annexation agreement, please explain how your mind won't give up on this thought. What exactly is happening in your head where this turns out to be something "much different than promised."....I'm sure I'm not alone in wanting to hear this description in detail.

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Scott Ford 4 years, 5 months ago

It looks like the residents of Steamboat Springs are going to get the opportunity to vote on the SB700 annexation ordnance. With just a few days it is highly likely that the "Let's Vote" committee will be successful in securing the required signatures. I am sure City Council will submit a referendum of the annexation to voters to decide whether to repeal the ordinance.

The outcome of the referendum is anybody's guess. I like Karen's suggestion of a "Blue Book" or something like it summarizing the pros and cons of the annexation ordnance. I am not sure who would /could do this and who would publish it. I am not too sure the City as the "election official" are the right folks to do this. Any "Blue Book" would have to be objective and published by a neutral third party. Any ideas?

Bryce Jacobson of the Craig Daily Press? I know that the Craig Daily Press is owned by the same folks that own the Steamboat Pilot/Today, however, Bryce is removed enough from the drama associated with the SB700 annexation ordnance to be objective. He has the journalistic abilities that will quickly distil the issues involved to their salient points and the skills to craft such a document in a readable informative format.

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Karen_Dixon 4 years, 5 months ago

The question of who would publish a Blue Book is unresolved in my mind as well Scott. I trust your recommendation on an objective editor. In terms of funding, the annexation agreement places the cost burden of the referendum election on SB700. It would be clearly up to them to decide if a Blue Book would be worth the cost. However, I would hope that the "Let's Vote" committee would step up and offer to cover at least half of that cost, as they have continually made the claim that they want voters to have an educated voice. If they didn't offer that, their motives would be exposed as something other than what they claim, imo.

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aichempty 4 years, 5 months ago

There are at least two ways to guarantee that affordable housing will be built in SB700.

One is to require a linkage requring builders and developers to build 20% (1 in 5) of units to the CHP 80% AMI price rquirement.

Another is to set aside 20% of the land to be leased for manufactured housing/mobile homes and owned by the City.

I'm sure there are others, but the mobile home lot idea is the quickest guarantee of affordable homes for wage earners and people who cannot qualify for a mortgage on a single-family or multi-plex unit. Rented mobile homes could also substitute for apartments.

Send this thing back for another try that actually results in some housing units in the short run, or otherwise, under the current agreement, it's unlikely that many, if any, will ever be built.

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Julie Green 4 years, 5 months ago

Karen and Scott, I have been advocating the idea of a "Blue Book" also and agree with you, that the Let's Vote group and the developers of Steamboat 700 should each chip in for the cost. As Scott suggests, we need an impartial person to research the facts, present unemotional pro and con views and present accurate answers to questions. The Let's Vote group will never have the kind of financial resources that the developer has for marketing, so this idea insures a level playing field.

I've also wondered about creating a similar process to that which occurred after the first vote for a new high school failed some years ago; I think it was called 10 plus 2 after the number of separate citizen committees that were formed to investigate and report back with recommendations on each committee's assigned issue. It was a very effective process and ultimately the community voted yes to a remodeled "new" high school, with various new approaches to education. Our elected school board at the time of the first vote thought they were putting forth what was the best idea for a new high school, but the community did not agree and voted it down. Sometimes, citizens must act as a check and balance, in relationship to the elected branch of their government at the local level. It's all a process to get a result that works for the good of all.

I would like to advocate the idea that our community go about this vote in a civil and respectful way. Having a different opinion than your neighbor does not have to mean that we need to label them wrong, bad or stupid. Steamboat Springs is celebrated for it's friendly, western, small town atmosphere; let's live up to that description.

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Steve Lewis 4 years, 5 months ago

Yes! to what Julie Green has said. This debate should be respectful and civil. The principle exercised in this ballot is a cornerstone of our basic rights. The Let's Vote group deserves none of the above criticism.

Those of you who scold opponents of SB700 for killing attainable housing in Steamboat have NOT been paying attention. I agree with you that attainable housing would be the WHOLE POINT, but there may be no attainable housing in SB700. By your own standard, it could be that you too should vote against SB700.

The Oct 13th draft of the annexation agreement gave you fair warning:

SB700 has promised many many times that attainability is a natural market for them. Yet when pressed to put that in writing (for the cheapest 30% of their 1600 free market units), the SB700 promise evaporated and became "we are willing to offer attainable prices on that product for 120 days".

Council rejected the time frame in the agreement, but the actual "attainability program" is yet to be written. A time limit on attainable prices may return in the program, making attainability just so much illusion. If you have any real interest in attainability for locals, and in SB700's "being what they claim", you will show as much interest in that program as I do.

I will urge city council to have that program written before the ballot, as it will determine for me whether SB700 will deliver what we all hope for - homes for our workers.

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Curtis Church 4 years, 5 months ago

Actually Lewi, the attainability was written into the annexation agreement for pricing of 120% AMI to 200% for a variety of housing product to be produced. It was added on the October 13th CC meeting. It was an addition at the last minute. This addendum does not have a time limit, it remains at that pricing until it sells, no 120 day minimum.

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Fred Duckels 4 years, 5 months ago

All the deed restrictions and AMI are irrelevant in my opinion and should be eliminated. If we put more inventory on the market, prices will fall and the market can work it's magic, without all our irreplacable micromanagers. Conversely if we limit development prices will rise and the feeding frenzy of the past will be back on us. The escalating property prices in the end will bring investors scurrying to cash in, and our growth will again be out of hand. In the meantime we have not dealt with the worker situation, and it will again bring job security for the social engineers fullfilling their "need to be needed".

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Steve Lewis 4 years, 5 months ago

Curtis, We were both there. Surely you realize the attainability details are yet to be written. Unlike the finalized Community Housing section of the agreement (which relies on two further Exhibits, G and H), the Attainability Section is a sketch that relies on further work and negotiation. Here is how the annexation agreement reads:

"... the first final plat within the Property shall not occur until the City Council has first approved a program for housing attainability (“Attainability Program”)."

Yes they pulled the 120 days, my post above points that out, but that in no way means the Attainability Program will not have a time frame limiting the attainable offerings.

In my opinion, the 120 day attainability limit sought by SB700 completely contradicted their verbal promises on "attainability as a matter of natural course". Are you comfortable with a time limit on attainable prices, given attainable prices are the central reason for annexing this parcel?

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Karen_Dixon 4 years, 5 months ago

In my opinion, a time frame is completely irrelevant unless everything comes on line at exactly the same time.... which will not happen. As things continually come on line with an attainable price point, the same products at higher price points would have a hard time selling if they don't compete, so they will be forced to compete, thereby keeping the attainable pricing stable.

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Steve Lewis 4 years, 5 months ago

Hi Karen. It seems to me, with that logic, that SB700 should also be comfortable having no time limit on the prices for those homes offered in the attainable program. If attainable home prices are inevitable, why did they seek a 120 day time limit on the attainable home prices?

I do not expect everything to come on line at once. But nor do I expect the opposite - for homes to be continually coming on line. For supply to keep prices low, there would be a new 30+ unit multi-family project every 6 months or less. I don’t think we should rely on that happening. We could also see a two year gap between larger 160+ unit multi-family projects. In that event the price time limit becomes a conflict with a central goal of the annexation – workers finding free market homes. I just don't see why we should entertain that possibility.

If it’s our goal to see workers in these homes, consider also the effect a price time window will have on the likely buyer. Wealthier buyers, and second home buyers, have much more nimble financing ability. Workers at lower incomes will need more bank scrutiny and more time to get financing.

If attainable prices are inevitable, and a price time frame is irrelevant, that's great. Let's not have any price time frames in the program.

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Karen_Dixon 4 years, 5 months ago

Hi Steve, I can't speak for their level of comfort, but since they so quickly agreed to take the time limit away, it would seem to suggest that they are comfortable with it. I'm not sure why it was introduced in the first place. Since this was a last minute negotiation into the agreement (thanks in large part to you :-) ) I suspect that it wasn't quite thought through. But I'm guessing.

I see your points above. For that reason, I agree that it is better with no time limit. I am glad that they agreed to remove it.

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Steve Lewis 4 years, 5 months ago

Cool.I hope it doesn't come back in the "Attainability Program". That's my current concern.

Have a nice Thanksgiving.

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