Referendum procedure set for Steamboat 700

No petitioners registered day after council OKs annexation

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— On the first day after the Steamboat Springs City Council approved the annexation of the Steamboat 700 development, no petitioners had registered to create a referendum to bring the issue to a citywide vote.

According to a memo about referendum procedure created by city attorney Tony Lettunich, petitioners have 30 days from the day after the vote to form a petitioners' committee, gather the necessary number of signatures and file the petitions with the office of the city clerk.

As of Wednesday afternoon, City Clerk Julie Franklin said no documents were filed to start the referendum process.

The Community Alliance of the Yampa Valley will not be involved in the referendum procedure, Vice President Richard Levy said Wednesday. He said the group decided to not pursue the referendum because it is a divisive subject and because the City Council addressed some of the group's concerns with the annexation before it was passed.

"I think that one of the reasons we're not going to be participating in the petition is that the Community Alliance fully participated in the process with the council," Levy said. "We achieved some of those goals by participating there, and trying to overturn (the annexation) would be : I'm trying to think of a word other than 'hypocritical.'"

He said concerns remain about the development's attainable housing, affordable housing and water issues.

City Council members Meg Bentley and Steve Ivancie tried to put the annexation to a voluntary public vote, but their motion failed in a 2-5 vote late Tuesday night. The annexation was approved, 4-3, with Council President Loui Antonucci and Councilmen Walter Magill, Jon Quinn and Scott Myller supporting the annexation. Council members Cari Hermacinski, Ivancie and Bentley voted against the proposal. The annexation is expected to bring about 2,000 homes, 380,000 square feet of commercial space and 4,700 residents to the western edge of the city in the next 20 to 30 years.

Anyone who wants to create a referendum must first form a group of five registered voters to register as the referendum committee. The group then must collect signatures from 10 percent of the voters registered in the last municipal election.

"The County Clerk and Recorder's office has confirmed that at the time of the 2007 municipal election, which is the 'last regular municipal election,' there were 8,285 registered electors in the city. Therefore, a petitioners' committee would have to obtain at least 829 signatures on a referendum petition to have the ordinance referred back to City Council," Lettunich wrote in the memo.

If a petition is filed in the case, the council then must either repeal the annexation ordinance or bring the ordinance to a city vote.

"By agreement with Steamboat 700 any special election on a referendum regarding the Steamboat 700 annexation would be an all mail ballot, just as the November 3, 2009 regular municipal election will be an all mail ballot, with no polling places," Lettunich wrote.

"Given the time frame set forth for circulating and confirming the sufficiency of a petition and any supplemental petitions and City Council meeting dates, it would appear that a special referendum election would occur in January or February 2010."

Comments

steamboatsprings 4 years, 11 months ago

Interesting to see the community alliance re-surfacing after completely losing their credibility this fall. I think that their position has a lot more to do with this than anything else since he says they are unhappy with so many aspects. They may not work within the CA but Steve will be out there.

We will likely see democracy in action this fall/winter as the people of Steamboat decide whether to and then possibly vote on if they prefer Steamboat 700 to more dispersed growth within the county. I for one have confidence in the people of Steamboat to see that we have a rare opportunity to grow next to our community instead of disperse it. It is scary in some aspects but the result the alternative will bring is much more certain and not nearly as nice. Best of luck Steamboat

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housepoor 4 years, 11 months ago

goremtn, what is the negative impact of those who live outside the city limits?

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goremtn 4 years, 11 months ago

I'm not going to sign any petition and here's why.... Steamboat700 affects not just Steamboat Springs but I think it affects Oak Creek, Hayden, SIlver Spur/SteamboatII/Heritage Park, Stagecoach and everybody who lives in the entire county. The annexation is about housing and transportation, and those 2 things are connected everywhere in the county, and both seriously affect the environment of Routt county. If it is voted on just by city citizens and does not pass, so many people in the entire county (most of whom work IN Steamboat Springs) will be negatively impacted. So I think it should be a vote of the entire county not just Steamboat Springs residents.

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steamboatsprings 4 years, 11 months ago

Well said goremtn! You are exactly right that this is about the whole county which when I think community I refer to as Steamboat but it is important to be specific here. If this does come to a vote each of us has a responsibility to think of the broader community we are part of.

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bigfatdog 4 years, 11 months ago

what is the impact to those who live outside the city limits???? come on... most obvious is the people of Heritage and Steamboat II but please use your brain.

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cindy constantine 4 years, 11 months ago

goremtn and Steamboatsprings,

With sales tax revenues continuing to decline a city property tax is being seriously considered and will probably happen. Many folks choose to live in the county but have jobs in Steamboat. They get the benefit of city services and job opportunities without having to live in the city or paying property taxes which are coming down the road. Do you think these county residents will be moving to Steamboat 700 (or somewhere else in town) as soon is it annexed just so they can "live" in the city? I think not. The outlying communities will continue to have the most affordable housing now and in the future. Plus how can you say that the residents of Oak Creek and Hayden and other Routt County towns WANT to live in Steamboat. Sorry I have not heard that from the county residents I know. The annexation was approved by just one vote. Don't you think that warrants a vote of the citizens? We do live in a democracy where the will of the people allows them "due process". No, I believe this issue should be voted on by the residents of the city. No one should be afraid of a vote. It could go either way so no one "loses" and it will put an end to the discussion. BUT can we be polite with each other? I have NEVER bad mouthed the developer. He is just doing his job, afterall. I just disagree with the initial premise of needing that development in a "one-trick pony" town. TOURISM folks!!

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AGM 4 years, 11 months ago

Will the referendum say.....

Are you willing to have your property taxes raised by $68 million so that you can say no to SB700?

With or without SB700, our FEDERAL highway will need to be widened at some point

With or without SB700, we will have a school on the west side of town one day (they've planned this for years)

With or without SB700, we need a public safety building on the west side of town.

SB700 is paying $68 Million in capital improvement costs for items that this city will one day need to pay for - WITH or WITHOUT SB700.

Fighting to deny this annexation is fighting to raise your own taxes. There's logic.

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cindy constantine 4 years, 11 months ago

My, my AGM wonder about your motivation. Disagree with your premises and I believe the demographics don't support your argument. If you live in the city you can rally your supporters to your viewpoints. Lets just say we agree to disagree and leave it at that. Not willing to debate you when I disagree with your "what ifs".

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freerider 4 years, 11 months ago

Cindy I think your right on this one...if the vote had been 7-0 or 6-1 or even 5-2 then we should just let it go ....but it's a split decision ....I'm betting this goes to a vote ...most people I know are against it.

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housepoor 4 years, 11 months ago

dog says: what is the impact to those who live outside the city limits???? come on: most obvious is the people of Heritage and Steamboat II but please use your brain.

gore was saying that overturning it would have a negative impact..... again What is the negative for those areas by having it overturned?

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aichempty 4 years, 11 months ago

The past fiscal quarter was the worst ever for foreclosures. Analysts quoted by CNN are saying that we won't begin to see the existing inventory of foreclosed properties sold off so that prices can recover until 2013. It was also reported that some banks are not foreclosing on properties and allowing the occupants to stay in place just because that's better than having empty houses sitting there subject to vandalism. In other cases, people capable of making payments are walking away from properties when the selling price falls 10% below the amount they owe on the mortgage

So, what does this have to do with SB700? It means that housing prices in other parts of the country are going to be lower for a while to come. People won't be able to sell their houses in other places for enough to come here and buy something comparable. Everybody knows that local housing prices are higher because of the location, scarcity of land and building costs.

The ability to build in SB700 is going to depend on water and sewer service, which is going to depend on Steamboat Springs spending money up front to build the infrastructure, which is going to depend on tax revenue from somewhere. The 0.5% real estate transfer tax doesn't happen until the property is sold. So what's the question?

Who is going to buy a building lot in SB700 before there is water and sewer service established to serve it? Nobody smart, that's who. There were 1000 or so original lots in the Steamboat Lakes subdivision north of Clark, and lots of people bought them under the impression that water and sewer service would be provided. The developers went bankrupt before the project was finished, and so today there are only 150 - 160 homes. Didn't something like this also happen in Hayden recently? Try to find someone to lend money to buy a vacant lot that's not ready for building -- bring your cash or forget it.

In order for SB700 to build out, the water and sewer capacity has to be there first. The issue I have not seen addressed adequately is where the City is supposed to get the money to do the infrastructure improvements ahead of construction of new homes. With sales taxes falling and the economy in the dumper and housing prices probably going to be depressed for the next 4-5 years, does it make any sense at all to build water and sewer capacity using today's scarce dollars in anticipation of future real estate tax revenues to pay the bills?

Will the City be forced to lay off workers to pay for SB700 infrastructure improvements? Does anyone think the City is going to put current employees out of work to provide housing for somebody else in a future year?

If you vote for SB700, you are voting for the City to put money up front so that homes can be built in there someday. This whole thing is 4-5 years too early. Building permits are at historical lows and foreclosed homes are coming available monthly. This is not the right time.

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Curtis Church 4 years, 11 months ago

Actually, the City requires that the infrastructure improvements be constructed and inspected prior to any lots be available for sale. Therefore, the developer must put water, sewer and roads in prior to getting a plat to sell the first lot. That has been in our CDC for many years. The City learned that lesson previously. As for wastewater treatment, the water treatment plant was expanded to handle an increase in population. For any further expansions, the tap fees required during a building permit will fund the need for anything futher. As for maintenance, the SB700 will create a Metro District, where the new residents will fund through their property tax, similar to one in Steambaot II, Silver Spur and Heritage park to maintain the infrastructure.

For housing, if there is no demand for new housing west of town, things will not be built until the market returns and demand is there.

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housepoor 4 years, 11 months ago

Aich, You are right on that any recover in real estate is 5+ years out.

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telewacker 4 years, 11 months ago

people in steamboat that dont like the idea of high density growth to the west of town should embrace it as their neighbor. Dont make city people live in the county.

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AGM 4 years, 11 months ago

Dearest Cindy,

I have no dog in this fight whatsoever. I do care dearly about our community. I do not agree to disagree, but I'd sure love to hear some answers to some very sincere questions I asked. Today's economic environment has very little impact on a long term planning decision of our community. Yes, it has short term impact but has almost no impact on the LONG term.

Curtis, thank you for providing accurate facts.

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cindy constantine 4 years, 11 months ago

Okay, AGM, some background--In a previous life I was in the development and banking business (including a stint with the FDIC in the early 90's) As an aside, it was probably less painful to poke out your own eyes with a hot rod than try to develop in Boulder. This is the deal if I put on my developer hat again. My main goal is to get my project annexed and I will make all the concessions necessary to get that done. After that I may choose to sit on the land for YEARS until the economy comes back. I may decide that it is cheaper to pay the interest on my loan, real estate taxes and the $330,000 required by the annexation agreement for the water firming. And I am thinking it makes no sense in the economic climate to put out the MILLIONS required in infrastructure for the foreseeable future. According to an "expert" quoted in the House of Cards series we have an 8 year supply of homes on the market now in all price ranges. Plus we have talked foreclosure trends "ad nauseum". So 10 years from now, we are ready to go for the new economy of location neutral businesses (not my term, by the way). But low and behold, the cities needs have changed. Don't need that school anymore, enrollment is down. We need a nursing home and subsidized group homes for seniors. We need a small industrial park for an expanding business close to where the folks live so they can walk to work. Tough, I say as a developer I have my annexation agreement and I am sticking with it. Am I absurd, perhaps. But we know we don't need the development now and our needs may change. Luckily we are dealing with a developer and not a land speculator. Danny and company are not going anywhere and will develop what we need and want when the time is right. Do we really know what we want and need right this minute? By voting down the annexation now does not mean we won't want some sort of annexation in the future. BUT we do tie our hands by approving it now when our needs may be different 8 to 10 years out.

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aichempty 4 years, 11 months ago

Curtis,

I'm not worried about the stuff SB700 will install in their own development.

The problem is that the City has to provide water and sewer service by increasing the capacity of the current systems. SB700 has got to have something to hook up to. The pipes in the ground at SB700 are only the developer's part of the problem, because increasing fresh water treatment to send out and sewage treatment coming back are the things that the City does not currently have enough capacity to do.

This is the part that nobody has posted easy-to-find figures on, and having the money available to increase the water treatment and sewage plants enough to serve the whole SB700 community before it's built is the controversy. We'll be building capacity now that may not be needed for 20 years, but when you build such a plant, it doesn't make sense to build a number of smaller facilities over time instead of doing it right (or at least making provisions to expand in a sensible manner) at the beginning.

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Fred Duckels 4 years, 11 months ago

I would like to hear from the naysayers a solution for the next growth surge. They seem happy to denounce 700 but show us a plan to replace it. How is this going to work, can we be detailed? Knee jerk reacting has consequences, let's have solutions.

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Karen_Dixon 4 years, 11 months ago

Fred, In town options east of 13th: Smart Growth option #1: Rita Valentine Park Smart Growth option #2: Strawberry Park They would make GREAT neighborhoods, taking advantage of infrastructure that is already in place, and not putting impacts on the BN. Additionally, with RVP, parallel capacity could be created, decreasing the traffic impact on Hwy 40.

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Fred Duckels 4 years, 11 months ago

Karen, Prime realestate, no chance for affordablity, more of the same. No relief for 40.

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mtroach 4 years, 11 months ago

Great idea lets plow the parks into housing. Rita gave us a park to save the open space, her wishes should come before development. Strawberry park is already private property how do you propose we evict the people that already own homes there?

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aichempty 4 years, 11 months ago

This is a resort town. Where is the industry to spur a growth spurt?

This is a resort town. All resort towns have high real estate prices and not everybody can live there.

Steamboat may be at the practical limit of size already.

Maybe this really is like the air terminal. It was built to serve a need that only existed in the minds of the people who built it. Who has it ever benefitted in terms of commercial air service? Nobody.

Compelling the City to build water, sewer, roads, schools, etc. to serve 2000 homes in that small area may be a waste of time. If it was a practical idea, it would already be presold and they'd be looking for more land to develop.

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Fred Duckels 4 years, 11 months ago

Aich, I usuallly can find wisdom in yor posts, but the city is going to be forced build infrastructure out there, borders on insanity. Karen, Will your favorite parcels be forced to provide retail on the west end to alleviate traffic from that area clogging Lincoln? We are looking down the road decades on 700, and reactionists need to sit on their hands here.

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Fred Duckels 4 years, 11 months ago

Aich, If there is a buck to be made, someone is going to make it, I suggest you hold on to your hat.

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aichempty 4 years, 11 months ago

Fred,

Did you read about the land auction in Hayden? They only sold a few lots, and they lost about $50,000 on each one. They got around $25,000 for the average 7000 square foot lots that were sold.

SB700 is really intended for the luxury market, and anybody with the ability to face what's going on has got to be able to see it. Your post reinforces my own opinion about the "buck" and the "hat," etc.

Those lots in Hayden cost the developers $75,000 each to subdivide and improve with water, sewer and roads. And that's in HAYDEN. SB700 is already into it for $25,000,000 for 2000 lots or $12,500 each and there's not a water pipe, sewer pipe or road in there yet. There's a good chance they're going to be bankrupt before five years go by, and how much will Steamboat Springs spend getting ready for 2000 units during that time?

I suppose someone will tell me that the lots in Hayden are not desirable compared to SB700 and people are waiting to buy property closer to Steamboat. In reality, people who work for a living look for the most house for the least amount of money, and you can find somebody to carpool with from Hayden to Steamboat while your option with a mortgage is to take in boarders. Commuting is the reasonable and traditional solution to high in-town housing costs. If they can't sell lots in Hayden for enough to cover the developers' costs, SB700 won't even get started because there is no demand for what they're trying to sell.

The development of Mt. Werner created our current demand for housing and the jobs to support it. What is going to come in and increase that demand?

No, I think the truth is that the secret SB700 business plan is to sell it to the suckers as "affordable" and then when nobody in the "affordable" category can afford to live there, it will go to high-end stuff as the economy recovers and the City relaxes the deed restrictions due to lack of sales.

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Fred Duckels 4 years, 11 months ago

I bid and I lost, and that's the way it should be. It would have been the same if the difference had been $1. I am a free marketer and I believe in our competitive system free from social engineering and politics.

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