Ken Constantine describes a petition available to be signed at his west Steamboat Springs business, Elk River Guns. Ken's wife, Cindy Constantine, is part of a committee known as Let's Vote, which is organizing the petition drive. In addition to canvassing the city with its petition, the committee also has made one available at Elk River Guns, 1320 Dream Island Plaza, during regular business hours.

Photo by John F. Russell

Ken Constantine describes a petition available to be signed at his west Steamboat Springs business, Elk River Guns. Ken's wife, Cindy Constantine, is part of a committee known as Let's Vote, which is organizing the petition drive. In addition to canvassing the city with its petition, the committee also has made one available at Elk River Guns, 1320 Dream Island Plaza, during regular business hours.

Committee collecting signatures to put Steamboat 700 to vote

First step taken toward city vote on Steamboat 700 annexation

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— It looks as if the Steamboat Springs City Council - regardless of the outcome of the Nov. 3 election - will put Steamboat 700 to a citywide vote rather than repeal the annexation if petitioners gather enough signatures to trigger the city's referendum process.

Steamboat Springs residents Omar Campbell, Greg Rawlings, Terry Armstrong, Tim Rowse and Cindy Constantine have formed a committee known as Let's Vote to lead a petition drive to send the Steamboat 700 annexation to a public vote. The committee filed an affidavit with the city at 9 a.m. Tuesday and began collecting signatures afterward.

Steamboat 700 is a 487-acre annexation approved by the Steamboat Springs City Council last week 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. As of 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Steamboat 700 Principal and Project Manager Danny Mulcahy had not returned a call seeking comment.

Committee members were limited in their responses to questions Tuesday. Constantine, the group's chairwoman, 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?"

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.

Petitioners must collect at least 829 signatures to trigger the referendum process, but Rawlings said he expects to gather thousands. The committee has until Nov. 12 to turn in the necessary number of signatures and also will be afforded a "cure period" to fix any problems with its petition.

If the petitioners succeed, the City Council will first have the opportunity to repeal the annexation. If it doesn't repeal it, 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.

Although there are three contested seats in this year's City Council election, it doesn't appear that any outcome would result in a council majority that would simply repeal the annexation ordinance. Of the four council members remaining on the council, three voted in favor of Steamboat 700. The one who did not, Meg Bentley, suggested a motion to put the annexation to a public vote. No other council member made the motion. Councilwoman Cari Hermacinski, who also voted against the annexation, said she would be in favor of an election if petitioners gathered the necessary number of signatures.

"If the community goes through the hard work of getting enough signatures, I absolutely think City Council should put it on the ballot," Hermacinski said.

Hermacinski's opponent in the Nov. 3 election, Kevin Bennett, has advertised heavily in favor of putting the annexation to a vote.

City Attorney Tony Lettunich told the petition committee that petition signers need to be city residents and that they need to sign their name and print their address as it appears on their voter registration. In validating petitions, Lettunich said the city would not be overly aggressive in disqualifying signatures.

"I don't want this decided on a technicality. I want it decided on the merits," Lettunich said. "That's what's best for the community."

Even if the city verifies the petition, a third party such as Steamboat 700 could contest whether the petition is sufficient.

"Sometimes these things go to district court if there is a dispute over the number of signatures," Lettunich said.

In addition to canvassing the city with its petition, the committee also has made one available at Elk River Guns, 1320 Dream Island Plaza, during business hours. Constantine's husband, Ken, owns Elk River Guns.

Comments

space 5 years, 1 month ago

woooo hoooooo! Still too bad the county can't vote on it, when we are the most impacted.

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Chad James 5 years, 1 month ago

Space, that's the problem with a public vote. The people who are most affected cannot vote.

You're celebrating your disenfranchisement.

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Fred Duckels 5 years, 1 month ago

The city folk will get to decide what's best for us on the west end.

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greenwash 5 years, 1 month ago

These loonies havent a clue.

I think most will be mildly surprised at the support 700 has.

20 years down the road people will realize how smart this project really is.

dont be fooled by the naysayers.

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AGM 5 years, 1 month ago

I do hope all that sign this petition will proudly put their name out for all to see when in 5, 10 or 20 years, your children and the children of your friends will no longer be able to live in Steamboat Springs.

Making certain that police officers, teachers, city/county employees will have a wonderful place to live in hayden and craig.

How proud you must be.

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ElevenFootPole 5 years, 1 month ago

Be careful going through the Bottle Neck to get to Elk River Guns to sign. You might get thrashed by all that traffic.

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space 5 years, 1 month ago

I'll do my best to help gather the signatures,

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addlip2U 5 years, 1 month ago

We live in a free country!
You chose a place where you live, you choose to vote .........or not.

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Scott Berry 5 years, 1 month ago

Would someone please explain to me the problem with providing zoning for new homes in Steamboat! There is plenty of water already adjudicated, the plan complies with West Area Development Plan created by a self appointed committee, nothing well be built until there is demand from customers, and the city won't pay any extortionist fees for anything; the developer will, and nobody is going to move here until they can either starve and ski, or get a good job and raise a family. They are not going to move here because there are empty lots for sale that are not needed. The risk lies solely with the 700 investors! Why should we, the voters, try to save them?

The only reason I can think of anyone resisting 700 is they are in cohots with Lyman Orton and want the 360 Project to be developed first and ruin Emerald Mtn.

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Scott Wedel 5 years, 1 month ago

I think the fundamental issue is approving it all at once.

So now if it works well for the developer then they will build it out to that plan even if it turns out to be a bad deal for the City.

But if it works poorly for the developer then the developer will do nothing except come back and demand more favorable changes.

The history of vested development rights in Steamboat have resulted in so many bad projects that I have no confidence that an annexation agreement approved now will be considered a good agreement in 10 years that is appropriate for developing the rest of the project.

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Scott Wedel 5 years, 1 month ago

So why is the annexation agreement so important if each phase of the development also has to go through planning?

Is the SB 700 annexed really being zoned in a way that nothing other than 35 acre parcels could be built without first going through planning?

And if each development at SB 700 would have to go through planning, does it have any use by right (such as residential) that the City could not legally reject if it meets definition of residential use or, for instance, is the City allowed to pass some future form of affordable housing rules that would apply to whatever is not yet built at SB 700?

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AGM 5 years, 1 month ago

Scott,

What you presented is a fundamental misunderstanding of what is going on here.

A plan has not been approved for this development.

An annexation has been approved.

At no point will there will a specific plan for all of this proposed development to be approved.

It will be done piece by piece - just like you are hoping it will be.

With each new phase of the project, the developer must go through the development approval process. The developer doesn't go in on day one and get the whole plan approved.

This is why the public will have a hard time voting on this issue, because people have no idea what the facts are and misleading comments like you have typed above certainly don't add to the factual understanding.

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Scott Ford 5 years, 1 month ago

I think we need to be careful not to assume that if one signs the petition they will automatically vote to overturn annexation ordnance. Nor should it be assumed If, (BIG IF) the" Let's Vote" committee is successful in obtaining the necessary number of signatures, and the issue is placed on the ballot the vote will be to overturn the annexation agreement ordnance.

The magnitude of annexation ordnance should not be minimized. Having the outcome of something of this magnitude and long term implications hinge on a single City Council member's vote is likely reason enough to support the petition process as it unfolds. If the vote had been 7 to 0 or even 5 to 2 at a minimum I am not too sure I would feel this way.

In reference to Scott W's post above - well said

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CedarBeauregard 5 years, 1 month ago

"and want the 360 Project to be developed first and ruin Emerald Mtn."

I hope this sentence doesn't represent your understanding...

360 is not on Emerald Mtn..

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CedarBeauregard 5 years, 1 month ago

Sorry AGM I thought you had wrote the above quote.. Now I see you didn't.. Never mind..

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Scott Ford 5 years, 1 month ago

Unless I am confused, both the 360 and the envisioned project on land owned by Lyman Orton are outside the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB). Does anybody know if it is possible for the City to consider an annexation agreement (proposal) outside of the UGB?

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Scott Ford 5 years, 1 month ago

Researching some past Pilot/Today articles I learned as originally envisioned only about 1/3 of Village 360 was within the UGB. The folk associated with this development requested an extension of the UGB to include all of the envisioned development. Both city planning and city council denied this request. The pre-annexation application has been scaled back to contain only the 110 acres that are within the UGB.

Also apparently it is within the city's rights to legally annex land outside of the UGB - as Cari Hermacinski said it would be political suicide to do so.

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boater1 5 years, 1 month ago

yeah Let's Vote commitee.

let's kill this deal & put 35 acre mc mansions on that land... then all those people who seek affordable housing can commute from hayden & oak.

you're a bunch of idiots who are afraid the future will happen some day.

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JusWondering 5 years, 1 month ago

Annexation does not equal 2,000 instant houses or miles of streets. It means that landowners receive city services and are taxed.

In Colorado, take a look at the masters of urban sprawl. The City of Aurora has quietly annexed thousands of acres of farm land all the way out to Bennett. Will there be one street, one sewer line or one home on this acreage in the next 20 years? Doubtful, but it is planning for growth. Cities do that; plan for growth. Developers do that as well.

Scott, I HIGHLY doubt that you will see all streets go in at once and all lots platted at once. In fact I would bet a year's income on it. That is not how developers operate (there was a reason that 700 has pods). They would lose their shirt paying Fred & co for the infrastructure while waiting for the first lot to sell (look at Hayden as a lesson as how NOT to do a development).

My father was a developer in the 60-70's in Denver (the last real estate boom) and they would build out sections of a development at a time using the proceeds to allow them to continue to build out the neighborhoods... that is how it works.

It also does not mean that the pods you see are what will be built. In my last city neighborhood I purchased a spec home at the end of a cul-de-sac (at least that is what the plat plan showed) only to find out that an amended plan had been filed making my street a thoroughfare. Plats change.

Bring on the vote... but vote intelligently and with an eye toward the future. Annexation does not equal: 1. Traffic 2. A real estate glut 3. Hundreds of instant lots 4. Instant demand on water 5. Instant need for city services 6. Instant need for new schools

Think children and grandchildren when voting, not your own self-centered ideas.

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Karen_Dixon 5 years, 1 month ago

Scott W. "Is the SB 700 annexed really being zoned in a way that nothing other than 35 acre parcels could be built without first going through planning?"

Yes. Preliminary Plats, Final Plats, Development Plans & Final Development Plans are all outlined in the CDC and each development in the city limits must go through those processes. That includes this land when annexed.

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AGM 5 years, 1 month ago

I wonder if the Let's Vote committee will put forth one ounce of effort to put the facts in front of the potential voters.

who am I kidding?...who needs facts when spreading fear and untruths does such a nice job.

Let's Vote Committee - you do have a responsibility now. Let's Hope you can stand up to it. Selfish, selfish, selfish.

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Karen_Dixon 5 years, 1 month ago

Scott F. and all, If you believe that the decision to annex made by CC was the correct decision, I encourage you NOT to sign the petition. Signing it does NOT guarantee a public vote. The new CC will have the option to repeal the ordinance rather than put it to a vote. This means that only 1/10th of the eligible electorate will have voted. So, unless you believe CC made the wrong decision, you should not sign the petition.

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Karen_Dixon 5 years, 1 month ago

Raw Land Annexation is not development. Raw Land Annexation is preparing for development if & when there is ever a demand for it. From a cities perspective, Raw Land Annexation is gaining control over what happens on the parcel. Without annexation, the city has no control over growth that will have significant impacts on the city. ANNEXATION IS ABOUT THE CITY GAINING CONTROL. It is that simple.

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Karen_Dixon 5 years, 1 month ago

ANNEXATION IS ABOUT THE CITY GAINING CONTROL. Emphasis added. This is a smart move for the city.

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Scott Wedel 5 years, 1 month ago

I know it is not going to all be built at once. That was not my concern or question. My concerns are what rights of future use are being granted to the developer? I am worried that after a few years that we might decide that some part of it turned out to be a really bad idea, but nothing can be done about it because of guaranteed development rights granted in the annexation agreement.

If SB 700 after being annexed still has to go through planning before platting lots then why is the annexation agreement so important? What can the City control in the annexation process that it cannot control in the planning process for SB 700?

And if each development phase at SB 700 would have to go through planning, does it have any use by right (such as residential) that the City could not legally reject as long as it meets the minimum requirements of that use? Or, for instance, is the City allowed to pass some future form of affordable housing rules that would apply to whatever is not yet built at SB 700?

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Scott Ford 5 years, 1 month ago

Hi Boater1 - I think you have captured the essence of the question associated with SB700. If we want to maintain the ability of folks in Steamboat Springs' middle class to live "locally" will SB700 accomplish this? Regardless of how the referendum is worded, this is the question as a community we may be asked if the petition drive is successful.

To answer this questions let's first define what is middle class locally? Based on 2008 IRS data the median area income (AMI) for a household of four is $80,600. If we assume that $80,600 is the mid-point on the income bell curve, middle class is band of households on either side of this mid-point.

The affordable "subsidized" housing goal of 20% associated with SB700 is being accomplished by giving the City of Steamboat Springs 15 acres of land. The 400 units of housing on this land will be targeted to households at or below 80% of AMI. The goal is to have the remaining 80% of the housing in SB700 be "attainable."

Attainable is being defined as a housing product mix costing between 400% up to 600% of AMI. The current developer is committed to building this product; I believe they will do their best. However, this is a goal - it is not a guarantee. Nor should it be a guarantee in the context of a free market.

Because "we the people" have mandated, via the Steamboat Springs West of Area Plan (WSSAP), that any annexation be "revenue neutral." This simply means that existing residents do not pay for anything associated with the annexation. The reality is that someone has to pay for the initial infrastructure and impact on existing infrastructure that will occur ranging from water/sewer, traffic, schools, public safety, power, etc. All this means is that a basket full of cost have been added to the SB700 development. The sources of funds to pay for this basket of cost range from direct developer contributions, a real estate transfer fee, and a special metro district property tax that only the residents of SB700 pay.

These costs simply mean that the developable land is going to cost more. How much more specifically per lot? Who knows - the algebra becomes interesting depending on the assumptions used. In the worst-case scenario, the front loaded cost on the land to accomplish the goal of "revenue neutral" may make the goal of "attainable" very difficult if not impossible to achieve. This simply means that the goal of "revenue neutral" may be working at cross-purposes of "attainability." Which goal is more important?

Once we can answer this key question, the public decision regarding SB700 becomes more focused and far less emotional and rhetorical.

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Scott Ford 5 years, 1 month ago

I am not too sure both goals of "attainable" housing and "revenue neutral" can be equally weighted; it is unlikely we will get 100% of both. The reality is that trying to accomplish both goals equally we may end up with neither. This is why three of the council members voted NO.

Why did four council members vote YES? From my perspective, Walter and John are a wee bit Pollyanna in thinking both goals can be relatively easy to accomplish equally. Loui and Scott M. are willing to walk the tightrope and if we fall off - address the consequences at that time regardless of how ugly and costly they may be. (Essentially - "Eat, drink and be merry / For tomorrow we may die.")

Questions we need to ask ourselves individually - 1) Am I willing to compromise on the goal of "revenue neutral" (meaning as an existing resident I will pay more) in exchange for the likelihood of more "attainable" housing . OR 2) I am willing to sacrifice the goal of creating "attainable" housing if it insures that as an existing resident of Steamboat Springs I do not pay anything associated with the annexation.

I would like to hear from others their thoughts which goal is more important.

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Jeff_Kibler 5 years, 1 month ago

Scott F: Do you have the mean area income and the variance? Better yet, an AMI graph?

Does a standard deviate say "Lies, damned lies, and statistics?"

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Karen_Dixon 5 years, 1 month ago

Scott W. At this time, the county will not allow density beyond 1 per 35 acres on land in the county. They have a Land Preservation Subdivision process and a Transfer of Development Rights process, but those still essentially equate to 1 per 35 in the overall picture. (a developer gets a slight density bonus for conserving land)

Without annexation, we do not get dense Smart Growth. Without annexation, there is no planning process and there is nothing the city can control. They cannot enter the city's planning process without being IN the city.

After annexation, they absolutely have uses by right, as outlined in the TND zoning. This is why the annexation agreement itself is and was so important. If they are complying with the zoning we put in place and the off-site infrastructure requirements, why on earth would we WANT to deny a plat. They will be providing housing we need, in a development pattern that we want... as a city... while not only negating their own impact on infrastructure, but improving it for the rest of us. If those 2 things are not met, we then have the right to deny - because we have the control.

Rarely does a city the size of ours have this kind of opportunity: to design and implement neighborhoods from scratch, with foresight and vision.

If the county maintains its growth stance, our choice is to a) accept and plan for housing growth in the city of SS or b) let housing growth occur in outlying municipalities. With option A, we get control. With option B, we do not.

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Karen_Dixon 5 years, 1 month ago

sorry... In the first paragraph above, I'm referring to county land zoned Ag/Forest (the bulk of remaining undeveloped land in the county).... and it's my understanding that they have a policy not to rezone A/F to any higher density zone designation. Someone correct me if I'm wrong on that.

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AGM 5 years, 1 month ago

Scott F,

This really doesn't boil down to a decision of choosing A or B. You've arbitrarily dismissed the argument that you can have A and B. That is far from fact.

Why can't our community have A and B?

It is also my understanding that the revenue neutral clause was taken out of the 2006 WSSAP, but was put in place by this city council/staff. I could be wrong, but I think that is accurate. You are correct that in enforcing the revenue neutral clause, it puts tremendous pressure on extra costs which are all passed along to the eventual homeowner, which of course raises the price of the lots/units.

Interesting to note that if our FEDERAL US40 was widened with FEDERAL dollars as all federal highways are, SB700 would be able to much more easily provide affordable and attainable housing to all residents.

Thank you Karen for providing some realistic discussion.

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CedarBeauregard 5 years, 1 month ago

Please see this link for information.

http://steamboatsprings.net/departments/planning_department/steamboat_700_july_2009

I'm sure staff would also be happy to answer questions also.

City office 879-2060

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aichempty 5 years, 1 month ago

If the City's cost of infrastructure improvements in advance of tax payments was levied against the SB700 properties as a tax lien which had to be paid upon the first sale of a vacant lot, could anybody afford to buy them?

Let's get real here. The number of so-called "affordable" housing units that come out of this project will be minimal. The developers want the city to subsidize the cost of providing sewer, water and roadway improvements which will ultimately benefit high-end homes because by the time they're done with it, nobody can build an "affordable" home. Builders know that it's just as easy to build an $800,000 home on a 7000 square foot lot as a $300,000 home, so why build the less expensive option? There's more money to be made at the high end, and that's also where the demand is going to be, from outsiders wanting luxury homes in the Rockies.

We don't have jobs for 2000 more households, so the alternative is to sell the lots to people who don't need to work here. Luckily, Mt. Werner provides the draw.

Would these developers have tried to push through the same size and kind of project closer to Hayden, or to Craig? They could have. If affordable housing had been the goal, it would be futher away from Steamboat.

This is a classic bait-and-switch operation, except for the twist of getting the taxpayers to help pay for the store where the bait-and-switch will occur.

So, I'll go ahead and give you the cover story we'll be hearing in a few years. "We were unable to sell the inventory of deed-restricted homes. With lower-priced homes sitting there unsold, and a demand for high-end homes, you can't blame us for building what people wanted to buy."

There is an alternate future, however. "SB700 Declares Bankruptcy." "The city's delay in providing water and sewer capacity to serve the SB700 development resulted in slow sales of vacant lots, and resulted in the developers' default on loans used to purchase the property. People who purchased lots in SB700 cannot obtain building permits because of the moratorium on new water and sewer taps, leaving them with cash investments of up to $100,000 in vacant lots that cannot be improved with homes."

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Scott Wedel 5 years, 1 month ago

First, if SB 700 is rejected then that area will not become 35 acre McMansions. They paid too much for the land for 35 acre parcels to be a viable alternative. If this annexation plan is rejected then they or someone else will come back with another annexation plan. If they were to break it into 35 acre parcels then at least some of the parcels will be bought by developers that will attempt to annex their parcels.

A developer of a 35 acre parcel is going to have less land to spread out the infrastructure costs so probably will be able to offer fewer amenities such as paying for hwy 40 improvements than the SB 700.

What deeply concerns me about the annexation is that they now have the right to develop all 700 acres according to the TND zoning. And while today we presumably would not want to deny them platting of 250 or even 500 lots that followed the TND zoning, I cannot say with confidence that in 10 years that we will be glad that there are another 1500 hundred lots out there with TND zoning.

I just do not see the need to annex the entire parcel today when most of the parcel is not going to be developed for at least 10 years. If TND zoning turns out to be a bad idea then we will have really harmed Steamboat by granting that zoning for 2,000 units instead of only for a few hundred units.

What if after 5 years after the first few hundred units are built we learn that SB 700 is providing minimal housing for locals, but is quite popular for vacation and second homes? Oops. Would anyone then feel good that the developer has the right to spend the next 20 years building another 1700 vacation homes?

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Fred Duckels 5 years, 1 month ago

Omar Campbell has completed his subdivision, "slain his dragon" and it is now time to shut the door. He did not go through a vote to develop, and why is he insisting that those who follow be held to a greater standard? Just wondering?

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Curtis Church 5 years, 1 month ago

Scott W., I suggest that you take the time to read the annexation agreement because a lot your questions can be answered in that document. The City Council and it's staff have spend considerable time thinking about just the questions that you pose. The City even hired a special counsel (Gerry Dahl, sorry if I spelled it wrong) to help protect the City from the things you and others are concerned about. For that reason, there are things the City can do if it finds the developer or future developers negligent in carrying out the agreement. The City would have the right to stop any further development or sue for compliance. There is a section in the agreement that gives the City several recourses to demand performance from the developers.

From what I have heard in meetings relating to the annexation, every time a new "pod" is developed, it must go through the planning process, much as Karen Dixon has outlined previously. If our CDC changes it is my belief that would effect the last pods, the new/changed CDC rules will apply. SO, if the TND does not work for some reason, the City has the ability to amend the TND rules to whatever they find will work.

In the newest version of the annexation agreement relating to attainable housing, the developer must, I repeat must, provide housing in the price range that familes making 120% to 200% of Routt County AMI pricing for a variety of housing product. If the developer, does not provide that according to the agreement the City has the ability to stop development until the developers cure what has not complied with the agreement.

The big caveat for all the attainable housing, the current locals who may want to purchase in SB700, they will have to be ready to purchase when they become available. No one can force a local to purchase.

Thanks for listening.

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Fred Duckels 5 years, 1 month ago

There will be no activity on the 700 until the market is there. When a parcel is opened up and platted taxes will start accruing on lots and this is expensive.

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Florida_for_all 5 years, 1 month ago

A vote is an excellent idea! People need to go visit the vast and empty development projects all across the State of Florida and Arizona to see what is going to happen. It's one thing to have one of these projects debated, but think how silly they look when the money dries up and they are not completed... Do people really think there is enough money to go around and fund development (meaning purchasing real estate and opening businesses) of the base area and an entire new town to the West? It's ridiculous in scope, and negligent in the planning process.

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goremtn 5 years, 1 month ago

I think it will be ridiculous, silly and negligent of this community if we woke up in the year 2025 and Hayden is 5,000 people and OC is 3,000, some of them our own grown-up kids, all of whom drive into SS to work every day on a truly nightmarish US40, and the average house in SS is $1.2 million (a discount from Aspen, but still very very steep) with astronomical property taxes to pay for our new school and fire station and police headquarters (which we are told by city that we need today, in 2009), and there is STILL no supermarket on the west side of town to buy some eggs for breakfast, all because half of the city voters shut off the in-town housing supply way back in 2010 in a misguided sky-has-fallen election. Now that's negligence.

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arnonep 5 years, 1 month ago

Let's go back to this whole public vote thing. First, how many of the City residents are registered to vote? I know that every election it sickens me to see the stats on the low percentages of registered voters that vote, let alone the low number that are registered in the first place. So your vote is garbage from the go even without the non-input of the others it will effect. Second, how is that very small percentage of the population of the City going to gather information on this oh so important issue? If they see a sign on the side of the road as they go to vote: (I know it would be by mail)

NO More Traffic NO More Infrastructure Cost NO 700

Or

More Houses = Lower Prices YES on 700

Or

Save and Elk, Shoot a Developer NO on 700

Ect::.

How are they going to vote?

You may think I'm joking, but many voters will and have voted based on the last piece of information they have seen or heard.

We have paid many people and others have volunteered hundreds of hours to make this the best plan it can be. Steamboat is going to grow, why let a few under and/or miss informed voters undo this effort to have some control over it.

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AGM 5 years, 1 month ago

Florida_for_all,

I'd like to introduce to you a document and a comprehensive plan that was enacted in 1995 - that's 14 years ago. It detailed how Steamboat had very little land left within the city limits. Because of this small amount of land, it was decided by the community to plan for some long term growth. Remember, this was 1995. It was agreed that 1100 acres or so west of Steamboat would be where the city would eventually grow. Oh yeah, it was amended 3 times since then, as recently as 2006.

Now a quiz.

How many acres have been annexed into the city under the WSSAP since 1995?

No cheating........

ZERO - not one acre since 1995.

Our community doesn't have rampant growth. Our growth rate has been less than 3% over the past many decades. I love your Florida examples but they don't mean a thing here. It creates a wonderful sense of ignorant fear, though. This continues to reinforce the point that those potentially voting on this issue have NO IDEA what the facts are.

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Scott Ford 5 years, 1 month ago

Hi Jeff - The median household income for Routt County in 2007 was $62,753 Below is the distribution by Routt County Household based on a range of annual earnings. < $25,000 = 1,499

$25,000 & <$50,000 = 2,294 $50,000 & <$75,000 = 1,990 $75,000 & <$100,000 = 2,016 $100,000 & <$150,000 = 1,383 $150,000 & <$200,000 = 502 $200,000 = 317 TOTAL = 10,001

Although the number of tax returns filed and number of households do not equate 1 to 1, it is close enough for our discussion purposes. The zip codes most closely associated with Steamboat Springs represented close to 80% of the tax returns filed in Routt County.

It is more data brain damage than I want to do this evening crawling around the IRS Master file, but if we were to look only at the three core zip codes' income distribution compared to Routt County as a whole - Steamboat Springs's would likely see a greater concentration in the $100K+ categories.

As far as statistics are concerned core statistics similar to the one shown above are as simple as a thermometer reading. When we begin to use temperature readings to tell us how much the social thermostat needs to be adjusted - caution needs to be exercised.

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Scott Ford 5 years, 1 month ago

Wow this data display got screwed up. Should have known that "< or >" would cause the HTML code to go bonkers.

LT $25,000 is 1,499

MT $25,000 and LT $50,000 is 2,294

MT $50,000 and LT $75,000 is 1,990

MT $75,000 and LT $100,000 is 2,016

MT $100,000 and LT $150,000 is 1,383

MT $150,000 and LT $200,000 is 502

MT $200,000 is 317

TOTAL = 10,001

LT= Less Than MT = More Than

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Jeff_Kibler 5 years, 1 month ago

Thanks, Scott. That gives me a better picture.

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Scott Wedel 5 years, 1 month ago

So 120% to 150% of AMI is considered attainable. The AMI is not based upon jobs available in SB, but upon reported income. So a wealthy investor that moves to SB adds to the AMI. Meanwhile, the low wage service worker that decides their only affordable option is Craig is subtracted from the local AMI.

So by using AMI as a measurable goal in terms of providing housing could end up providing no local workforce housing and instead be the perfect price point for vacation home buyers.

And so in terms of meeting the goals of the WSSAP, SB 700 could be shown in 5 or 10 years to be a complete disaster. And the developer would have vested rights to develop the rest of the land in the exact same manner.

This is for 700 acres and 2,000 units to be built over 20+ years. As if nothing could go wrong with this plan and the consequences of the plan going wrong would be the new half of SB is not right for the community.

I'd approve one or two pods and say rest of the property is to be annexed later.

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Cary Foulk 5 years, 1 month ago

There is a lot of good discussion here, and I hope that if it comes to a vote this kind of information is disseminated in the community and people will take the time to be educated. This is my greatest concern about having this go to a vote - the few people that I have talked to that oppose SB 700, do so because they feel that No Steamboat 700 = No Growth, or that somehow Steamboat 700 will cause an explosion in growth (build it and they will come). That is so wrong at many levels. If people are not educated about the issues surrounding the WSSAP and 700, they are likely to throw out years of planning by people that are educated on the issues and have been thinking forward 20 years or more. My second concern is that SB 700 will impact me and those that live near me far more than most people in town, and we will not have a say in any vote because we are outside of the city limits.

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Scott Ford 5 years, 1 month ago

Hi Karen - As you can likely tell, I have mixed feelings about the annexation issue. I hesitate saying I am for or against the annexation. I agree with you that the SB700 annexation agreement is likely the best that could be hoped for given the constraints placed upon it.

Retaining younger working families is key to this community retaining elements of community character that we value. SB700 has at least the hope of accomplishing this. This optimism, however, could be dashed on the rocks of good intentions if the efforts to achieve revenue neutrality make the homes unattainable. The prices of "attainable" homes exist in a very narrow band. The homes need to be price in the range of 400% to 600% of AMI. I know that the developer is going to try to do this. I wish them the best of luck! I really want them to succeed in doing this.

Although as a whole community we have said countless times that housing affordability for working families is a top priority - as residents we do not want to pay for it. If the SB700 mill levy associated with the special metro district was instead shared across the entire property base (commercial and residential) within Steamboat Springs city limits it would lessen the expense burden proposed to be allocated solely to the property owners within the SB700 metro district. To put this another way I struggle with trying to find the equity in the approach if we say housing affordability is a top community priority.

I want SB700 to be wildly successful in achieving the housing attainability goal. I would be willing to compromise on the revenue neutrality goal if it assures attainability is achieve. To me attainability it is the most import goal. I do not think we can accomplish 100% of both the attainability and revenue neutral goals. I believe that it is Pollyanna to think we can. These goals are working at cross-purposes to each other.

This is why I am conflicted about the annexation. I do not think I am alone with these conflicted feelings. This is likely why the approval of the annexation agreement has been a split vote in the Planning Commission, the County Commissioners and eventually with City Council.

How would I vote today if given the opportunity? I do not know. I have yet to be convinced that attainability can be achieved with a fanatical commitment to revenue neutrality. (I am beginning to sound like Cari.)

Would the citizens of Steamboat Springs be willing to pay a little more in the form of a property tax to lessen some of the infrastructure and impact costs associated with the annexation? To achieve SB700 housing attainability I would.

BTW - I think if appropriately presented even Fred would support this taxation approach because it is truly fair. (I am sure I will hear from Fred and look forward to it.)

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Scott Ford 5 years, 1 month ago

Hi Scott W - Your comments are very insightful regarding AMI. I am no expert in understanding AMI, but I think your assessment is correct. The AMI calculation takes into consideration all sources of income - investment and wage/salary.

Here is what I do know. In the very broadest sense, income can be separated into two broad categories. Labor and non-labor sources. Non-Labor sources would include all investment income (capital gains / dividends), transfer payments such as SSI and Social Security, private pensions, interest, and royalty payments.

The ratio between labor source and non-labor source has been consistent for the past 30 years. It is about 80% labor source 20% non-labor source. This simply means that while we have grown more affluent the primary source of this affluence is from labor source activities.

The income and job growth since 2001 (that is when the data got more specific to allow for this type of analysis) is not coming from the Accommodation/Food Services, Retail Trade, or Arts and Recreation industry sectors. Constructions has remained consistent being the source for about 20% of the personal income and about 20% of the employment.

The new net job creation and income generation on a percentage basis has been occurring in the Information, Health Care and Professional/Technical Services industry sectors. Although these sectors are still relatively small in comparison to the magnitude of other sectors mentioned they are growing at a faster rate. For example locally in 2005 the health sector eclipsed the mining sector. In the two subsequent years Health Care Industry sector has increased well beyond mining.

Demographically on the local level we are growing older, richer, faster when compared to the rest of Colorado and the nation as a whole. Yet we remain an economy that continues to derive most of its personal income from working. Go figure there is a lot more going on than meets the eye.

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Karen_Dixon 5 years, 1 month ago

Scott F. I do not disagree with you. I am on record as saying that revenue neutrality was the "no-growth" measure in the growth plan. The tactic worked on Cari - I hope you think long and hard about this before you let it work on you. Housing is always - to use an old econ term - a loss leader. If a city wants its economy to thrive, it must recognize that those who participate in the economy need housing. Servicing housing costs a city money : the people who occupy the housing pump money into the city's economy : ergo, loss leader.

Most cities institute property taxes to offset the cost of servicing housing to some degree. I was surprised, actually, at a comparison between property taxes in the valley. Per $100k of assessed valuation, it looks like this: Stagecoach Meadowgreen - $1,229 Estimated SB700 - $756 Alpine Mtn. Ranch - $644 Stagecoach general - $608 Oak Creek Sierra View - $597 Steamboat II - $570 Hayden - $528 Steamboat - $356

Residents in Steamboat pay the least amount of taxes by far to cover our own impacts on the system than any other residents. I find it strangely ironic that some who are the most vocal about "share the wealth" socialist ideology are also the most vocal about not wanting to share the costs. "Take from you to give to us, but don't take from me to give to anyone."

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Scott Wedel 5 years, 1 month ago

If the job creation and income generation is coming from Information, Health Care and Professional/Technical Services industry sectors then I ask you, can you tell if local companies report having substantially increased the number of those employees? In particular, the Information and Professional/Tech Services categories.

I'll tell you what I see. I see local information and tech jobs getting tons of local applicants for advertised openings even during the boom. So while there was some local job growth in those categories, it was far less than the number of locals with those skills.

I also see a good number of people working in those categories whom were able to chose where they live and picked SB.

I keep hammering on the idea that things may turn out quite the opposite as planned or expected because it happens all the time. I remember talking with John Eastman, then county planner, in 2001 and then making the observation that the WSSAP was the biggest sell out. That all developments within city limits were allowed to proceed with (then) no affordable housing concerns. That by phasing annexations east to west on one particular path (as compared to including 20 mile along the south side of the Yampa River) that they guaranteed that nothing is going to happen until prices had increased so much to compensate for the 30% affordable requirement. And the one thing I remember him saying is that there was an effort to have multiple growth paths, but it was shot down from higher ups.

And so instead of the annexable land selling for a couple of million back then and lots of lots being produced that simple market forces would have meant were all attainable (most lots in SB were attainable back then), it sat until somebody figured they could pay $20+M and still make a profit.

So why in the world should the rest of SB agree to a property tax so that developers that paid Mary Brown $20+M are basically guaranteed a profit? If they had paid $10M less then there would have been more options for creating affordable units.

So I say give the current SB 700 plan a shot for a couple of PODs because maybe it will work as hoped. But when it works much different in practice than hoped then we can have another discussion based upon what has been learned of what to do next that might provide housing for locals.

The irony of SB 700 is that it is claimed that it will shift development from Stagecoach and Hayden to SB 700. The price points between SB 700 vs 20 miles out are so great that Stagecoach and Hayden will grow regardless. Maybe they'll grow faster due to the jobs building SB 700. Maybe they'll grow slower because SB 700 will provide some housing for locals.

Adopting a plan allowing for developing 2,000 units for 20+ years is compounding (with interest) the mistakes of the past.

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Scott Wedel 5 years, 1 month ago

Karen Dixon, How about looking about total revenues per citizen? SB get so much sales tax revenues that it has general fund revenue of something like $2700 per resident while Oak Creek general fund revenue is about $350 per OC resident.

The ongoing challenge for SB is to effectively spend the money it receives. Only a city with too much cash would consider something as stupid as buying the Iron Horse.

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Karen_Dixon 5 years, 1 month ago

Very good point re: revenue Scott. That model works well when tourism, our primary economic driver, is strong. I am curious what that number is right now.

I couldn't agree more on effective and responsible spending.

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Scott Ford 5 years, 1 month ago

Hi Karen- I always enjoy your information, insights, and perspectives. Without question, we are a community that has played a sophisticated game of "not-it" when it comes to taxes for a very long time. I do not think we are going to change in the near future.

Without question, I view housing of the workforce as a core economic infrastructure. I do not think anybody will argue with this assessment. I hope the "attainable" housing that is planned for SB700 provides more opportunity specifically for workforce with young families. I think your perspective that "revenue neutrality" has resulted in a "no-growth" provision in the WSSAP is correct. I do not think that is how this provision was envisioned - but that may be the end result.

I need to look to folks like you that are far more familiar with the development process and associated expenses. My question is essentially this:

Although I believe, the folks associated with SB700 will make their best attempt to provide an "attainable" housing mix with prices in the range of 400% to 600% of AMI. (Homes prices averaging between $325,000 and $485,000 in today's dollars). Can these folks, and for that matter any developer, really pull that off?

Are there any provisions in the annexation agreement that will significantly impact the goal of "attainable" housing from occurring?

Although I do not always agree with Cari, she is no dummy. At the end of the City Council meeting on Sept. 29th, she challenged the folks at SB700 to prove to her that they could achieve the "attainable" goal if they wanted her vote. Apparently, they could not prove it to her two weeks later. I know that Cari did not make that decision lightly. Something caused her to vote no on an issue she views as very important to this community.

The community may be given the chance to decide the fate of SB700. If, (Big IF), we do get to vote a lot of us will be in the same situation Cari faced, "If you want my vote - prove it!" I think we would all benefit from your insights.

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aichempty 5 years, 1 month ago

More houses does not equal lower prices. There is a bottom level, but not a top. The bottom is defined by costs of land and construction. The top is defined by demand.

The bottom level is already unattainable for wage earners in our local market. Unless you can move the New York Stock Exchange to Steamboat, the pay to support the purchase of our expensive housing just won't be there.

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AGM 5 years, 1 month ago

I can never understand why affordable or attainable housing in this community ALWAYS rotates around purchasing a home.

Do you know what the first product type of housing will be built on this land will be? Apartment buildings. No, it isn't set in stone, but there is a very high probability that apartments will be built initially. Affordable and attainable places for normal people to live in every community except for the fact that we haven't had an apartment building built in this community in over 10 years.

Affordable housing isn't only about people buying homes. Every other community in the world has rental housing and homeownership. Somehow our community feels that the only type of affordable/attainable housing is home ownership. It makes no sense. Please open your minds a teeny bit and think......

I would love to hear from the Constantines of the world why on earth they would oppose apartment buildings being built. Maybe because "those types of people" would be living in them.......? I'm listening.

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Scott Wedel 5 years, 1 month ago

Karen, The $2,700 per resident number for SB was for this year's budget. It used to be even more.

AGM, If Curt Weiss at Walton Pond cannot economically build apartments then there is no way that SB 700 could build apartments economically.

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AGM 5 years, 1 month ago

While I'm ranting....the other point that everyone seems to not pay attention to, even though Curtis Church pointed it out earlier when he said...

In the newest version of the annexation agreement relating to attainable housing, the developer must, I repeat must, provide housing in the price range that familes making 120% to 200% of Routt County AMI pricing for a variety of housing product. If the developer, does not provide that according to the agreement the City has the ability to stop development until the developers cure what has not complied with the agreement.

This is not a minor issue. Many of you are playing the role of lender here. Well...I don't think with the costs of the land, improvements, cap improvements that the developer can do this. Well, who are you to determine that?? You are working on nothing more than emotion in your decision. You have no spreadsheet, no pro forma.

Bottom line is that the market that SB700 is going after is the lower priced product. Their current plan has over 80% of the lots being less than 8000 square feet - most are significantly less than 8000 sq ft - that's tiny folks.

The developer has their acquisition and carrying costs, they know what the city has extorted from them for future costs, they know what the normal improvements will cost. If they are willing to have a go of it, who are you to say they can't? It is their money.

If they fail and go bankrupt in some fashion, guess what.....it doesn't cost you any money. The downside is that our city has followed through on a 15 yr old plan and annexed some land into the city and maybe you have a street of empty lots or two. Someone else will come in and follow through with the plan. But, again I ask....so what? I don't want SB700 to fail financially but if they do is it any skin off my butt? Before you emotionally reply take a look at the large annexation in grand county where the developer went bust - the city comes right out and says....well, it is too bad but it isn't costing us anything.

Should the current developers of SB700 fail, the biggest cost will be the opportunity cost to the all of us (the city). We won't get that $68 Million or so dollars that the developers are going to pay us for improvements that have to happen with or without SB700.

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AGM 5 years, 1 month ago

Scott W....you are famous for throwing out opinions without facts. Curt doesn't have 489 acres to work with. Go visit with the 700 people and ask them what they plan to do. Don't just spout off opinions without facts. Don't just dismiss ideas because you fail to get YOUR head around them.

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Scott Wedel 5 years, 1 month ago

AGM, If the first thing that SB 700 builds is apartments then that indicates how long it will be before they start to provide housing out there.

The same 1,000 sq ft unit that would fall in the 100-120% AMI price range would be far more profitable being sold as a condo than trying to rent it as an apartment.

Rents moved up much less than housing prices during the boom and now look at all of the rentals available. The Iron Horse could only fill 28 of 52 rooms at $600 a month.

If they say their development starts off by building apartments then they are either incompetent or liars.

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Scott Ford 5 years, 1 month ago

Hi Archempty & AGM - I agree and appreciate you comments. Rental housing has to be a part of the mix. I have had folks far smarter than me with development explain the challenges associated with developing apartments. I think that the housing the city plans to develop on the 15 acres that SB700 is giving to them will focus primary on rental housing targeted to folks earning 80% or less of the AMI income. For a household comprised of 2 people the AMI is $51,200.

Assuming the household is comprised of two equal wage earners working full time jobs this would translate to $12.30 per/hr job. Jobs paying hourly wages in this range +/- are typically associated with the following industry sectors in our economy: -Retail Trade - Food Services/Accommodations - Arts/Recreation

This is a very quick and dirty analysis. Based on 1st Quarter 2009 Department of Labor Data these three industries accounted for about 40% of private sector the jobs in Routt County. Assuming that about 5% of the jobs are filled by Moffat County residents, these three industry sectors account for 35% of the jobs. These same industries accounted for 23% of total private sector income. From entry level to senior management these industries have a combined average hourly wage of $14.84 per/hr.

I do not think anybody is looking for home ownership for this group - it does not make sense. Rental units are the strategy for this group.

The push to increase from 12.5 acres to 15 was that it will allow the development of more 2 bedroom units which the housing needs assessment have said where the demand is. We need to remember that the City or whoever it designates will develop this 15 acres. It is not SB700.

I would not be surprise that we will see the focus of this development effort on city land within SB700 place a higher value on the social/environmental "good" - and minimize the financial aspects. Simply put these will like be very expense apartments rented cheaply. (Only the government can do this.) The city housing staff will spend a lot of times celebrating the success of the project by citing the demand for the units. Their slogan ought to be, "this apartment is worth $2,000 per month - anybody interested in renting it for $1,000?"

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Scott Wedel 5 years, 1 month ago

Isn't the City already renting apartments at Iron Horse at a huge subsidy? If Iron Horse would lose $500K a year and has 28 units rented then that works out to $1500 a month per unit. With rent paid it becomes $900, but having an unit occupied has costs (wear and tear, management, etc) that a vacant unit does not.

I think it would be interesting if the City were to ask Curt Weiss of Walton Pond what it would take for him to change his recent town home proposal into apartments. Even if it is straight cash with no restrictions other than they be rented, it might be a heck of deal compared to what apartments at SB 700 will cost. It'd certainly be a huge deal compared to Iron Horse and the City wouldn't have to worry about finding someone competent to manage the units.

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aichempty 5 years, 1 month ago

Again, why should the City of Steamboat Springs subsidize housing for able-bodied people who could find better housing and suitable employment elsewhere?

Why should a person who works for another business have their tax dollars diverted to paying for housing occupied by employees of restaurants, retail stores or the Ski Corp?

If we were talking about housing subsidies for City employees or others whose services are required by the population in general (cops, nurses, teachers, etc.) then it might make sense. But why should anyone subsidize housing for a guy flipping burgers so that the restaurant can keep its prices down by paying the help less. For that matter, people who live in town have the ability to purchase food and prepare it at home. Why subsidize restaurant employee housing?

If this seems harsh, think about it. If you are paying your mortgage, insurance, electric bill, etc., then why shouldn't you also be getting a subsidy from the City to ease your housing burden.

I once found myself in a situation where I could not pay my bills on what I could make in Steamboat, and so I moved away and took a job in another town until I could afford to move back. It took seven years. During that time, the closest ski resort was 200 miles away. I think I understand the controversy very well.

A college kid living in the Iron Horse is one thing. A family living there with no prospects for better digs is another. At some point, we are only subsidizing misery for the sake of living near a ski resort. Life has simply GOT TO BE easier in other places where there are jobs to be had and nicer housing for cheaper prices. Working in a slaughter house in Oklahoma may not be as good a job as waiting tables in Steamboat, but there are people living in decent homes in Oklahoma and working in slaughter houses without subsidies from the local government, deed-restricted housing and the other socialist trappings of our local plans.

Publicly funded housing should be reserved for those who are public servants (like military housing for military families) or mentally/physically disabled people who would be on the street without it. Exceptions for emergencies (such as FEMA trailers) and transient conditions (like the current mortgage crisis) are okay, but not for the support of permanent housing needs for people who only need the housing because they are not willing to move elsewhere to find a job and suitable housing.

I, and millions of others, have spent our lives moving from one place to the next in order to advance professionally and economically. Steamboat is a place that comes at the end of those lives more often than at the beginning.

We are not diverse. We seem bound to grant the wishes of those who can't face reality, while those who can live in Craig or Hayden or Oak Creek or another state.

If you want to live in a community with young families and singles, maybe you should move to where they live, eh?

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AGM 5 years, 1 month ago

Wow....talk about making things more complicated than they are.

This is a planning document. We have a town. People like our town - they have for years. It has slowly grown over the years. It was only so big before and guess what - they annexed some land beside the ski mountain to accomodate its continued growth. I wonder how many of the fear-mongerers live in the Whistler area of the mountain. Most probably have no idea that their precious homes were once not part of our city. Only because some responsible people annexed the land into the city do their homes exist today.

Today, our town it is just so big and has no more available land. Just so happens we have some land right next to our town that is open, undeveloped land. We've been looking to make this land part of the city for 20 some years. We can either add a supply to our town or we can put up a big fence and not add that supply to our town. I realize that there are a number of people in town that feel entitled to the fact that they were allowed to move here and they believe the gate should close right behind them and not let anyone else in. I feel sorry for those with such selfish views.

If we add the new land, we then have the opportunity to plan for what will be built on it. That planning process will take years.

This is an annexation - it really isn't so complicated.

Although, it is so amazing to watch the minority of people spread the FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN.

It is so much easier to spread the word of fear than it is to spread facts.

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JLM 5 years, 1 month ago

The simple truth of the matter is that annexation is a "control" issue.

Annex a property and it falls within the annexing political entity's development controls. Choose not to annex it and it may not. Simple difference.

The balance of the considerations are almost all market driven given the regulatory scheme the property falls under.

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robert nestora 5 years, 1 month ago

I find it curious that dixon, ford, wedel et all are spouting their different pros and cons and nobody seems to mention or care about the people who live in the neighborhood surrounding 700 maybe we all should ask someone to do a poll of their opinion before we seal their fate from afar.

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Kathy Stokes 5 years, 1 month ago

Well, since you asked... I live on Deer Mountain, out past the end of the Steamboat airport runway. My view looks straight out over the site for the 700. My peaceful tranquility will be shattered once the 700 starts to proceed. The thought of 20 years of construction noise does not thrill me. It would be very easy for me to rail against the development for all sorts of selfish reasons but I can't. I have learned too much over the past 3 years working on Vision 2030 to do that. This is what the people who came before us planned for. This is what those who come after us, our children and grandchildren need to be able to live here, near us. I have watched the annexation process closely. With all that I have learned I feel I/we have no right to say no just because timing dictates that WE are here now and have the power to say yes or no. I urge everyone to consider the past and the future when deciding their view on the 700. And if it goes to a vote, PLEASE take the time to educate yourself before you make a decision on behalf of so many. I live in the county so I will not be able to vote.

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Scott Ford 5 years, 1 month ago

Kathy - Well said. I sincerely appreciate the leadership role you had in making Vision 2030 a reality.

One of the things we need to remind ourselves consistently is to approach any decision that affects the Yampa Valley in the context of a stewardship. No one owns the Yampa Valley. We only get to enjoy it for a time.

We have benefited from the wise decisions of those that have come before us. We have the responsibility to benefit those that will follow us. John Fetcher, Bill Hill, Jim Temple, etc., had a philosophy of stewardship and although they are now gone - this place is better for their involvement and leadership.

I know you well enough to say that in 50 years the chances are good that you and I will not be in a position to be actively involved. At best, we can hope to haunt a few folks. However, in the interim between now and then - I appreciate your leadership that is characterized by an attitude of stewardship.

No one owns the Yampa Valley.

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robert nestora 5 years, 1 month ago

kathy my point wasnt for against it was just that the ones most affected by it should be have the bigger say in their future not eastsiders or those looking down from mountaintops. its important to plan for the future but not without giving those most affected a voice. your view seems to reflect your involvement with 2030 and i pat you on the back for your efforts but dont pretend to think you know whats best for your neighbor. ask them how they feel dont play god.

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Kathy Stokes 5 years, 1 month ago

I'm sorry, I thought you were looking for a neighbors opinion. I am a neighbor and I gave you MY opinion. I was not speaking for anyone else, just me. And I certainly have no intention of playing God.

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robert nestora 5 years, 1 month ago

what i saw in your comments is more concern and reverance for vision 2030's view of the future than for how it affects the people who will be most affected by it. your altruism is commendable and i am sure your vision 2030 cohorts would laud your position but sometimes its important to give your neighbor a voice. as the town pr is buy local i think here we should all respect the locals rights and think local.

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ElevenFootPole 5 years, 1 month ago

Wow. I did not see that in Kathy's comments at all. What I saw was a true neighbor of the property saying she supports it. She is not screaming "not in my back yard". It sounded to me like her involvement in a community process such as vision 2030 provided her with some education on the matter which gave her another perspective and a deeper understanding of needs and goals for the community. Studionsl, you must be a part of this Community Alliance group. You ask a question or make a demand, then someone answers you, and if it's not the answer you thought you'd get, you lash out.

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robert nestora 5 years, 1 month ago

i am not a member of community alliance group and i apologize if my comments gave the impression of lashing out, its just frustration at the thought of others deciding the fate of the locals of 700

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Greg Rawlings 5 years, 1 month ago

For petition collectors it's been great getting out and talking with all of our neighbors. People in our community are thinking about Steamboat 700, sharing there knowledge and opinions with others directly and through forums like this one. Nice work Steamboat Springs.

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steamboatbusiness 5 years, 1 month ago

Definitely more people need to read the Annexation Agreement which is posted on the City website to answer your questions and get facts. Wiki: "Fear is an emotional response to a threat.... fear is related to the specific behaviors of escape and avoidance....Worth noting is that fear always relates to future events..." Lots of people fear traffic, they fear over development, they fear THE UNKNOWN. There is nothing unknown in the Annexation Agreement, it is all in black and white. For those of you who fear growth, if you have lived here less time than since the day you were born (IE: you moved here) YOU... ARE... GROWTH. Too bad if someone had stopped YOU having a right to live here. If you fear traffic, really THINK about it. You put more people in the outer areas in the future, they have to commute to get here to work and play and volunteer, no-one is around to help subsidize road improvement - you really believe your traffic is going to get better? Remember, S700 is not only revenue neutral, it brings with it tens of millions of dollars of improvement of infrastructure inside AND outside the Annexation area. Where's Wildhorse's money for improving roads and fire houses? Where's Ski Time Square and Edgemont's money going to schools and parks? Barn Village, how much was their check for improved facilities? Yes all these base area developments had to pay for public benefit and some affordable housing, which I think I read somewhere is collectively less than $10M, but look at all the density impact they will have and nothing from them for infrastructure improvements, at least certainly not on the scale of S700 offerings. Again, S700 will provide as part of the Annexation Agreement, tens of millions of dollars worth of public benefit and infrastructure improvement. To the petitioners: Many of the people who most want to vote on S700 are not allowed to vote because they are county residents. Do you not care about ALL the people who it affects? The City voters are mostly uneducated on the specifics of the Annexation Agreement, to be able to make a decision which affects the entire county. I challenge you to go and speak to County residents as well to get a true barometer of education and interest on this topic, or maybe that doesn't serve your purpose so it's a waste of time? Remember: 15 acres - 400 units will go to the City for Affordable Housing, another 30% HAS TO be within the attainable parameters. The remaining % will be attainable simply due to this: if YOU were going to buy an $800,000 townhome, would you choose the one at the base of the ski area, or the one with the neighbors kids running across your yard that takes a drive across town to get to the ski area for your holiday. Why on earth would the developer want to build a bunch of high end properties out in the relative boonies, and try to compete with slopeside and downtown prices? He'll never sell them. If he builds units people can afford, he will sell them. No brainer.

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AGM 5 years, 1 month ago

Cindy,

This quote from you is what makes me continue to cringe from what you've blogged online and who knows what you say to get people to sign your "petition":

"It really does not matter what the reason's are for voting for or against Steamboat 700."

Cindy, you are a disgrace to our community.

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cindy constantine 5 years, 1 month ago

Steamboatbusiness,

Having walked several neighborhoods and seeing a number of county residents, I don't think you are correct in your assumption that county residents WANT this development. Once you have knocked on doors in Steamboat II, Heritage Park and Silver Spur you will fully understand how many of these people are furious with the project and furious they cannot vote on it.

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aichempty 5 years, 1 month ago

The people in Steamboat II and Heritage Park have nothing to fear. By the time anyone builds a house in there, the prices will be so high that the neighborhood "comparables" will increase property values in both of the other neighborhoods.

Assuming that the cost of infrastructure improvements is sunk, Steamboat II and Heritage Park residents can look forward to improved roads with very few extra cars as a result of SB700 for many years to come.

The economics of the current market (as evidenced by lack of interest in purchasing building lots in Hayden for "affordable" homes) mean that SB700 will be a partially developed eyesore for years to come, if anything is ever built there at all.

The developer won't be building spec houses. They'll be waiting for people to buy the lots and hire builders. People won't buy lots until the water, sewer and roads are in. It's going to be a long, slow process.

If anyone builds for spec in there, they'd better be going for the 800k+ market if they want to make any money. The more square footage you put on the lot, the higher the price and the greater the profit. There's no incentive to build anything small enough for local working people to afford.

And the 15 acres devoted to the City will never be developed either. It's a money-losing proposition from the get-go. If it was a viable idea, people would already be lining up with ideas and money to spend. The City can't take on such a project in its own name; they're laying people off because of a busted budget already. Where will they get the money to build empty apartments?

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Karen_Dixon 5 years, 1 month ago

The Silver Spur HOA spoke in support of the development during Public Comment.

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Tubes 5 years, 1 month ago

if you've read ms. constantine's past commentary in these blogs you would know that she has absolutely no knowlege of the facts of this development and everything is based on nothing more than hearsay. it is all a non-factual smear campaign and fear mongering tactic designed to catch the attention of those uneducated on sb700. the above is a prime example. i am confident that most see through that.

my favorite was her theory of mass exodus due to an intollerance to cold weather. like no one has ever left this valley because they're "sick of the winters." cmon! i'm only hoping she wasn't serious about that one.

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cindy constantine 5 years, 1 month ago

AGM, The only thing the petitioners are saying to the residents is "Would you like the opportunity to vote on the recent decision made by City Council to annex Steamboat 700?" If residents are engaging me in further conversation then I am taking notes. PERIOD. And further, if you were blogging under your own name you would not be making such cruel comments for all eyes to see. Shame on you!!

Cindy

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cindy constantine 5 years, 1 month ago

Thank you, Tubes, for your interesting analysis on my blogging since July. In canvassing several neighborhoods, I have recorded a list of 16 different reasons why city voters are against or rethinking Steamboat 700 at this time. They range from "the numbers are squishy and the city should not be wading into the bog" to "my gut tells me not to trust these Las Vegas developers' financial wherewithall to stick with this for the long haul in this economy" . It really does not matter what the reason's are for voting for or against Steamboat 700. It is a matter of having the RIGHT to do so. The petitioners's are just providing city residents with this right. The bright side is we will have a clear mandate from the voters which we did not get from City Council putting an end to further discussion and in the end isn't that what we really want?

Thank you

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Tubes 5 years, 1 month ago

Why, then, is your "petitioning" effort being conducted in Silver Spur, Steamboat II, and Heritage Park? Just curious.

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aichempty 5 years, 1 month ago

After sleeping on it, the following argument seems clear:

By the time someone spends $100,000 for a building lot in SB700 and then spends $200 per square foot for a home to be built, you've already got an unaffordable situation for people who make salaries in Steamboat Springs.

It's clear to me now that the business model depended on the junk mortgage industry that went defunct a year ago. It will never be back.

These guys are hoping to be able to sell off the lots and recoup some of their investment, and as they have stated, they CANNOT subdivide the property and sell it without the hookups to the city infrastructure in place.

They also cannot put the land into a conservation easement for enough tax credit to recoup the investment without annexation and the promise of city water and sewer service to support the assessments of actual value required to obtain a conservation easement.

I would invite any of the local active builders to comment on the viability of building a home that would sell for $300,000 or less in SB700. I'd also like to hear from any of the local bankers who would let out a building loan to finance such a project.

In order for people to make money building homes and loaning money for mortgages, there has to be land available to build. I haven't heard a peep from the builders and mortgage lenders in support of SB700. I suspect this is because they know the same truth I learned by building homes in Steamboat years ago. If you spend the better part of a year building a 1500-2000 square foot home that will sell for $300,000 or less, you only make $40,000-$50,000 from the project. There's no sense going to all that trouble and risk for less than $100,000 back. If a builder wants that much back, then the product has to sell for over $400,000.00. Coincidentally, that's around the current limit for FHA and VA loans.

While it may be "possible" to build a home that will cost less than $300,000 (if you think that's "affordable" or "accessible") you probably won't find anyone doing it for spec, or even on contract. Owner-builder is about the only way to do it, and then you'd better have cash up front to fund the project to completion, after which you can probably get a mortgage.

If the housing market recovers, the SB700 spec market will go high-end because nobody will build low-end. It's not smart business. So, the place will either be high end, or greenspace in the end. The difference is that the taxpayers in Steamboat will be stuck with the bill for running water and sewer lines out there and upgrading treatment facilities.

The Las Vegas developers are the only ones with anything to gain here, because they can't sell the land for what they paid, or place it in a conservation easement, without annexation. I'm sorry for their sunk $25,000,000 investment, but "stuff" happens. They took a risk and now they're stuck. It happens to the best of us.

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AGM 5 years, 1 month ago

Aich,

you write, "The difference is that the taxpayers in Steamboat will be stuck with the bill for running water and sewer lines out there and upgrading treatment facilities."

Sorry, but this is factually incorrect. Just so happens there is a oversized water line that currently runs through/near the property. All additional water/sewer lines are the responsibility of the developer as well as. You simply can't sell a lot in a development in the city without water/sewer lines in place. Under no scenario will the city be stuck with this perceived bill. Any upgrade to treatment facilities will be done when there is sufficient supply to upgrade those facilities. It certainly won't be done during the first few phases of this development.

Also, where did you come up with a mandate for having homes for sale for under $300k? This is not a development that will have 2000 homes. It will have apartments, condos, townhomes, duplexes and single family homes. Please read the annexation agreement. As was posted by Curtis Church earlier in this thread:

"In the newest version of the annexation agreement relating to attainable housing, the developer must, I repeat must, provide housing in the price range that familes making 120% to 200% of Routt County AMI pricing for a variety of housing product. If the developer, does not provide that according to the agreement the City has the ability to stop development until the developers cure what has not complied with the agreement."

Why is it so difficult to focus on facts?

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Scott Wedel 5 years, 1 month ago

That 120% to 200% of AMI requirement is no requirement at all. That says family income levels up to $150K counts as attainable. So right now with low mortgage rates, it is possible that a million dollar house meets that definition of attainable.

Taking a median number such as AMI which is typically a bell curve and applying a multiplier is an abuse of statistics. It would be mathematically plausible to say AMI plus a standard deviation or such so that not just average income but income up to 80th percentile or whatever definition is acceptable can have attainable housing.

But to take AMI and then multiply by 120% to 200% can result in the absurdity than over 80% of current SB housing is considered attainable.

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Karen_Dixon 5 years, 1 month ago

aich, You have lost all credibility. It is obvious you have not read the agreement. You have many good questions and concerns. Rather than letting the Sandman inform your conclusions while you "sleep on it", I recommend that you write down your questions, then read the agreement in search of the answers. If you do not find them, then by all means, raise the concerns. Please stop spouting misinformation, untruths, speculation & irrelevant arguments.

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aichempty 5 years, 1 month ago

The only way the developers can "cause" anything to happen is by putting their money where their mouths are.

Have they posted collateral sufficient to fund the construction of the "affordable" and rental units in advance of land sales or any other condition needed to "trigger" their action in this regard?

What's to prevent them from subdividing, installing roads, water and sewer lines, and then selling out to investors to escape their obligation? 1000 lots at $100k is $100,000,000 and that's enough to bring them back a $25,000,000 profit (profit, net, back in the pockets) on the initial investment without ever building a single dwelling unit. 1000 lots at 7000 square feet is about half of the available land, and leaving the rest of it for the city or other to do what's necessary seems like a real possibility.

If the developers have put up enough collateral to cover the construction of rental apartments and "affordable" housing units starting on day one, then okay. If not, then it's only a promise, and not a contract with money at stake for them, and ANY smart businessman is going to give himself an escape route.

So, don't tell me anymore what they have promised to do. Tell me what they have done that guarantees they will DO it. If you can do that, then I'll be a believer.

Right now, the "affordable housing" promises sound sorta like the people who volunteer for Habitat for Humanity to meet chicks. I'm not so sure they're not handing us an emotional line as a marketing ploy to get into our . . .

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Fred Duckels 5 years, 1 month ago

Cindy, Would the dispute between 700 and the rifle club be stoking your vandetta?

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AGM 5 years, 1 month ago

Cindy,

Just so you don't forget to answer Tubes' question, I'll post it again.

"Why, then, is your "petitioning" effort being conducted in Silver Spur, Steamboat II, and Heritage Park? Just curious."

Because I'm more than curious to your answer.

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aichempty 5 years, 1 month ago

Karen,

Struck a nerve, eh?

How about you pointing me to the page and paragraph where these concerns are addressed? Got a link?

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AGM 5 years, 1 month ago

Aich,

That link was already provided above in this thread.

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aichempty 5 years, 1 month ago

Okay, I followed the link.

Here's the kind of stuff that bothers me:

ITEM # 24F UTILITIES REQUIREMENTS: 6) WASTEWATER SYSTEM IMPROVEMENTS CONSISTENT WITH REQUIREMENTS OF APPLICABLE CITY MASTER PLAN AND SITEWIDE MASTER PLAN. Details Does not include upgrades to wastewater plant normally funded through tap fees

Translation: Steamboat 700 gets off the hook for infrastructure improvements that would be funded by tap fees, even though the tap fees don't get collected until AFTER the water and sewer capacity to support the taps is available. That means the City pays up front, and it gets the money from . . . where . . . wait for it . . . FROM THE EXISTING CITY RESIDENTS/TAXPAYERS. If Steamboat 700 was paying the up-front costs and then being reimbursed by tap fees, I'd support it.

3.1 Default/Remedies. Except to the extent expressly set forth otherwise herein, the sole and exclusive remedy available to the Parties under this Agreement shall be specific performance of a Party's obligations under this Agreement, including, but not limited to, payment of any amount due and owing under this Agreement, and no Party shall have the right to terminate this Agreement, or to seek consequential, special, indirect, exemplary, punitive or any other types damages for breach of this Agreement beyond direct, actual damages resulting from the specific enforcement of the terms of this Agreement. None of the constituents of any Party hereto (whether partners, shareholders, officers, directors, members, trustees, employees, beneficiaries or otherwise) shall ever be personally liable for any judgment obtained against a Party. EACH PARTY EXPRESSLY WAIVES (i) ANY OTHER REMEDY ON ACCOUNT OF ANY BREACH OF OR DEFAULT UNDER THIS AGREEMENT AND (ii) ANY CLAIM FOR DAMAGES BEYOND THOSE SET FORTH IN THIS SECTION.

Translation: The developers can pull out whenever they want and none of them are personally financially liable for anything left undone or done improperly.

Ooh, I also read the part about the "District" (Steamboat 700) having the power to levy a 50 mil assessment against the property in there to cover their "maintenance expenses," which means you'll have the Homeowner's Association from Hell taxing you and you don't get to vote on the budget.

Also, the 30-year deed restriction provision that won't allow you to sell your deed-restricted property to anyone who doesn't meet the AMI criteria means that no reasonable person will buy a deed-restricted lot unless they plan to die there.

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aichempty 5 years, 1 month ago

The Routt County AMI is $80,600 according to Fannie Mae.

This means that units built on the CHP lots must be "affordable" by someone making 80%, or $64,480.00.

That's going to limit the selling price to something between $200,000 and $250,000, I think.

When you add up the cost of land, tap fees, permit fees, realtor's commission and the cost of building a minimally fancy unit at around $150 per square foot, the only thing missing is the builder's profit. Oops.

So, unless you can attract owner-builders who meet the AMI requirement and are willing to build a 1000 square foot home, or you can find someone to build multi-plex homes with enough units to make it worth the builder's time and risk, nobody will be able to build anything and make enough money to justify the risk and effort.

Either the City will have to find a non-profit way to construct the required units (meaning some city employee manages the project and hires labor to build them, not a "general contractor" who would get paid to manage the construction) or the developers will have to do it. I don't find specific plans to implement either scheme in the annexation agreement.

I don't have anything against the SB700 developers.

I don't have anything against the council members who voted to annex.

I don't have anything against the idea of affordable/attainable housing.

I just don't see a practical way to provide the required housing units at the 80% of AMI affordability price so that anything can actually be built without doing it as an owner-builder.

The people pushing this annexation either don't understand the realities of the CHP requirements or they do understand and are hoping that nobody figures it out.

So, I've read the agreements, and I've done my analysis (as someone experienced in building modest single-family homes in Routt County) and if I got it wrong, then please show me how, and I'll support SB700.

My concern is that selling this project as an affordable housing solution is a deception of the public and the city council which will not come to light until people try to build the affordable units.

If the voters want to foot the bill to provide sewer and water capacity and all the other infrastrucure improvements in order to serve a market-rate housing development west of town, okay. Fair enough. I won't be the one paying for it, because I live in the county, and I can avoid the City sales tax easily enough.

I happen to care about my friends and neighbors who don't know enough about the details to figure these things out for themselves.

If I am wrong, then let's see the affordable housing plan DETAILS down to tap fees and cost per square foot that prove affordable housing can be built without Habitat for Humanity doing the work.

If I'm right, uh, it's not MY FAULT that the council didn't take time to study the situation and come to the same conclusions.

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bubba 5 years, 1 month ago

Aich, your analysis has one major error that I can see:

You state that 80% AMI is 65,000. I will take your word for it.

65,000/12=5,417 per month 5,417*.3=1,625 to spend on housing per AH guidelines (30%) 1,625-150=1,475 for mortgage after 150 of HOA and Property tax A 30 year mortgage at 5.5% and 1,475 per month is $259,780.60. $259,780.60/80%=$324,724.50 purchase price (with 20% down).

I'm not trying to convince you to support this development, but I'd assume you will, since I have shown you how you got it wrong and you said you would support it if someone did that, right?

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housepoor 5 years, 1 month ago

What about state and fed taxes, ss and medicare? They will take home more like $4k a month .

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bubba 5 years, 1 month ago

Housepoor, the AH guidelines are based on gross pay, not net. That is consistent both nationally and locally. I didn't mention where the other 70% of gross pay goes, because it is irrelevant to this discussion.

History lesson: Did you know the 30% rule, which is frequently 32% these days, crept up from an original 25%, which dates back to the days of company towns, when employers would provide housing to employees, and only pay them 3 weeks out of 4, with the fourth week paying their rent. The 25% has gradually crept to 30-32% over the years. What is even more interesting, is that the 25% and company towns' roots pre-date federal income tax, so while it appears that our housing cost has risen by 5-7 percentage points of our income, it has really risen 10-15 percentage points of our take-home pay.

Of course, before you get up in arms about that being unfair, our housing is quite a bit nicer than what the employers were providing way back when- I am happy to pay the extra amount to live in a house which I chose and can modify however I see fit, rather than in a dormitory style accomodation provided by my employer which I wouldn't own - while the portion of income we all spend on housing has increased, so has the standard of housing that people expect, so it does make sense that a home with running water, electricity, a refrigerator and no varmints should cost more than a cot in a room shared with a few co-workers.

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cindy constantine 5 years, 1 month ago

Bubba,

Thank you for the good analysis, but a couple of questions. What kind of credit rating would you have to have to qualify for this mortgage? And if you had a car loan. student loan, credit card debt or other debts my understanding is that would also lower the loan amount. And your analysis means you have to come up with $65,000 down plus closing costs--is that correct? Plus isn't 5.5% a historically low loan rate? What would it look like at a 7% rate since we are probably talking at least 3 and probably 5 years out.

Thank you for the additional information.

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mavis 5 years, 1 month ago

I agree with Cindy those are some great facts- but life also has expenses -- daycare, fuel, HEALTH INSURANCE and so on

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bubba 5 years, 1 month ago

Cindy, the price at 7% would be about 277,000. I have no idea what the credit rating requirement would be, but I am sure you are right, if you had all sorts of other debt, your ability to get a loan may be limited because lenders probably view excessive debt as a signal that you cannot handle your finances well. Until a few years ago, people who could not save 20% and display responsible use of credit were called renters, and those that could were called buyers. We all know what happened when banks loosened those standards.

Sure there are always other expenses in life, mavis, I think that is why federal and local governments use 30% as their guideline- that allows for roughly 50% of your gross pay (the other 20% going to taxes) to cover those other expenses. This is an affordability standard used by HUD, FNMA, and a great number of other local and national institutions that promote affordability, and that is a debate much larger than Steamboat 700.

The problem with affordable housing programs as I see it is that they target the median or 80% of the median, which means that by definition the programs are designed to help people who make more money than half (0r 40%) of everybody else in their community. If affordable housing program's goals were to truly help people in need, they would target people in the 10th percentile of income and work their way up, not the 50th percentile. The affordable housing requirements set forth thus far in Steamboat have been designed to help people who make over 60,000 per year, which isn't a group that needs that much help, this explains the lack of interest in the 'affordable' offerings that resulted. As nice as it would be, I don't think that programs will ever make homeowners out of those lower percentiles of earners, so once again the discussion comes back to creating a large enough supply of rental properties to drive rental prices down. I do not know if Steamboat 700 will achieve that or not, I voted for people that I trust to read the information and decide - I honestly don't have the time or interest to read all of the paperwork related to the 700 plan.

The dream of single family homes in steamboat for under 200k will never come to fruition because of construction costs- Aich's figure of 150 per foot sounds about right, so a 1,500 square foot home would cost 225,000 to build on free land with no tap fees, and no realtor commissions or builder profits.

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AGM 5 years, 1 month ago

WHOA folks.....(Aich, Cindy et al)

This discussion has gone off on a bit of a wild tangent. There has never been a community goal of having a proposed development west of steamboat providing all homes available for purchase at prices reflective of 80% of AMI. Never. That is amazingly unrealistic.

In this case they are attempting to provide 20% of the proposed units to be affordable. Scott F said it well earlier in this thread: "The affordable "subsidized" housing goal of 20% associated with SB700 is being accomplished by giving the City of Steamboat Springs 15 acres of land. The 400 units of housing on this land will be targeted to households at or below 80% of AMI. The goal is to have the remaining 80% of the housing in SB700 be "attainable.""

So, those of you losing sleep at night over how on earth someone could build a house at a certain price level, you can rest assured the land that these proposed units are sitting on will be FREE - no land cost. Sure there will be some incremental development costs but they are nothing in comparison to land costs in our community. So all of this 80% of AMI discussion must incorporate a unit being built on FREE land.

The other item that continues to drive me nuts is that providing affordable housing does not mean that everyone has to be able to BUY a home. Providing affordable RENTAL housing is also important - in fact, essential.

Where did the entitlement of owning a home come from in our country?

Bubba nice job on presenting realistic discussion with some facts.

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Fred Duckels 5 years, 1 month ago

I thought all these greedy developers were making a killing. Risking is best left to those with skin involved, armchair quaterbacking seems to be a fall sport devoid of a loser. The developers are probably looking at making the best of the situation and they deserve the shot. I disagree with the fearmongering of city liability. Cindy, you forgot to answer past posts about your reasoning. Go up on Copper Ridge and look down on the valley and tell me where the obvious place is for future housing. Let's look at the no growth scenario, this results are less inventory, higher prices, appreciating values which serves as a magnet for investors and we are off to the races. 700 will not escalate prices and we will have less growth in the long run. These residents will shop here, pay taxes here, and help pay for needed improvements. In the process our merchants will have customers in the mud season. It seems that we have a lot of wannabee developers trying to display competency here.

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aichempty 5 years, 1 month ago

The land will be free to the City.

Who says it will be free to the homeowner? Why should it be free to someone building a spec house to meet the 80% AMI threshold.

Even at the $324,000.00 figure supplied by Bubba, you have to break that down into what the builder can expect to get from the project, and it works out to around $60,000 - $70,000 gross if things go well. How does this happen?

Realtor's commission at $19,440.00 (6%)

Tap fees (water, electricity, sewer) around $10,000 (somebody with recent information might want to give the exact figure).

Plan examination fee and building permit at $6,578.55.

Labor and building materials around $160,000.00 for a simple home.

Loan fees, carrying costs, legal fees, insurance, foundation, grading, LAND COST, business overhead, LIVING EXPENSES, etc. -- $50,000.00.

Social security and income tax liability on the income from the project -- $15,000 to $16,000 . . .

And you end up with the builder making $63,000 - $64,000 for his time, trouble, and risk. During the same time, he could build another place for $650,000 and make $120,000 to LIVE ON IN THIS EXPENSIVE PLACE plus save some for a rainy day and all that stuff that nobody who's not in business for himself thinks about.

And I'll say it again; to build rental property with the idea of making income from it does not make sense. The return does not justify the risk and ongoing expense of running an apartment complex. Potential investors in such a project can make more money and build the units cheaper elsewhere. Any elsewhere but here. It doesn't get any more expensive to build than around here.

So, Bubba, unfortunately you only reinforced what I've been saying. The difference was that you assumed someone making $64,000 a year would have a 20% down payment. Somebody like me, sure. A young family just starting out . . . maybe not. How about a veteran with a no-money-down VA loan?

The CHP assumes that the guy taking the risk to build the housing will do it for chump change.

Try to get a construction loan without SIGNIFICANT collateral unless you are a well-established builder with a solid reputation.

Someone building their first project might want to start small, but is that who you want building your house? Is the City going to hire dudes with hammers to build housing without an experienced contractor in charge?

The guy who builds the house deserves more back for his time and effort than the CHP allows, and that's why it will be very hard to find anyone to build places that can meet the price cap.

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AGM 5 years, 1 month ago

Aich,

Just so I understand this completely. Based on your thorough analysis and comprehension of this project, your view is that:

Deed restricted housing has a 0% chance of succeeding. Rental housing has a 0% chance of being successful. The city owned land for affordable housing will be provided to spec builders?

Is that correct?

(see Karen's Dixson's post on 11/1/09)

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Karen_Dixon 5 years, 1 month ago

So much time analyzing CHP numbers with no apparent understanding that CHP housing is SUBSIDIZED. As you have figured out, it will likely cost more to construct, with reasonable P&O than it will be allowed to sell for. Enter Subsidy. A small amount of research will provide you with information on where the subsidy comes from. That particular philosophy and policy discussion absolutely needs to be revisited, but it's too big for this thread. The point is, your exercise in studying the numbers for CHP housing is futile.CHP housing is a requirement of the development, not a request. Whether or not it works is irrelevant to the discussion of whether or not SB700 should be annexed.

That being said, a GOAL, not a REQUIREMENT, of the WSSAP was attainable (non-subsided, non-deed-restricted) housing. The WSSAP says that new development in the annexed areas must pay their own way - no cost to the city. Fine. Ironically, we as a city, then decided we had free reign (because they are an annexation & Jerry Dahl said we could) to pile on the costs.... to use Cedar's analogy, we ordered the Lobster instead of the Hamburger. And then, at the last minute, after doing everything in our power to raise the costs to the development, we said "oh wait, what about attainability - we don't think your numbers work." If I were the developer, I probably would have lost it at that point. (well, he kind of did - and that's why you have lawyers to shut you up) So how does that story end? They came back with PRICE CONTROLS on the market rate units........guaranteeing attainability for the people who make too much to qualify for the CHP housing but not enough to buy elsewhere in the city. I have blogged before about how brilliant I think that is, so I won't repeat, except to say that if they didn't believe they have a strong enough plan to make that work, they wouldn't have offered it.

You may question with disbelief how Discount Retailer X can sell a widget for $1 when no one else can. Does that give you control over their business plan? Does that give you the right to say "I don't understand how you can do it, therefore, we won't allow you to exist."

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aichempty 5 years, 1 month ago

AGM,

Someone must actually build the homes and rental units. That costs money.There's no way to get around the fact that there are many "hidden" costs that go into construction that a person who simply walks up and buys a house never knows about.

When I built a spec house in Steamboat, I had to put up my personal financial assets as collateral in order to get a building loan. When I owner-built the home I own now (so that I could install the electrical, plumbing and heating systems at "cost" instead of being gouged by subcontractors), I had to put up my personal financial assets again as collateral in order to get a building loan. When you go to the bank and ask for a loan, the people doing the lending know everything there is to know about construction costs, and financing. If you want to borrow money from them, you have to prove you know all those things too.

So, a person who wants to build a home on a CHP lot cannot do so without financial backing from somewhere. Everybody who swings a hammer. splices wire, solders pipe and delivers lumber and millwork to the site expects to be paid upon delivery. None of them can wait until the place is built, and you get a mortgage on it, to be paid.

How do YOU expect the construction to be funded and managed unless an experienced builder does the job?

If you think that people making $65,000 will come in and do the project as owner-builders, how are they going to get a building loan unless (1) they are experienced builders with good reputations or (2) they have enough cash and assets to put up as collateral to get a loan? Do you expect the target population of affordable housing eligible families to meet either one of those condtions as a general rule? Some will, of course, but how many people who can build their own home and have the money to back the project require "affordable" housing?

You need to think this through and consider the real-world financial considerations that go into building any kind of residential structure. Even if the City gives the land away for free, SOMEBODY has to build the home. Somebody has to manage the process, obtain financing, and jump through all the hoops. It's not a matter of getting a bunch of guys with hammers and saws to show up and go to work.

I cannot find a place in the annexation plan and supporting material that obligates the SB700 developers to do ANYTHING except give a certain amount of land to the City.

(continued)

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aichempty 5 years, 1 month ago

The 1/2% real estate transfer tax is intended to fund the City affordable housing initiative. That sounds fine until you understand that, to obtain $324,000 to provide one unit that meets the AMI condition, real estate sales will have to equal $64,800,000.00. Assuming that the basically median-priced local home will sell for $500,000 there are going to have to be 130 of them sold in SB700 to fund ONE affordable unit. Extend this to all 1600 of the market-price lots (80% of 2000 total) and you can easily see that selling out the whole development for an average of $500,000 will provide $4,000,000 to the City, and would fund construction of only 12 homes (12.35 to be precise, Captain). So, that leaves 400-12 or 388 CHP City-owned lots with no money to build dwelling units unless the City takes it out of the annual budget to build spec units and then sells them at cost. That's the reality of the situation, and nobody has explained it from the aspect of affordability and practicality in the actual execution of an affordable housing development plan at City expense.

I believe the annexation agreement puts the City solidly on the hook to do whatever will be done with the land after they take possession.

In order to make the affordable housing plan come true and provide the single-family, multiplex and rental units you are hoping for, the City is going to have to pony up the money up front to pay builders to construct them on the City land.

Otherwise, the City is going to have to give the land to spec builders who are willing to build for the 80% AMI and let them do the job.

I'm telling you right now that as a person who has built homes around here, it's not worth my own time and risk to build a home that will sell for $324,000 even if I got the land for free. If the City will pay me $100,000 per unit to supervise the construction, and will put up the money for labor, materials, tap fees and all the rest, I'll build two identical units each summer on adjacent lots and hand the keys to the City when they're done.

Your challenge is to find someone who will do the same job for free, or on a City salary, and do it without having the City losing money in the process.

Of course, if your idea is to have the City spend tax dollars to provide houses and rental units at whatever it costs to build them, and then sell them at the 80% AMI price or lease them at an "affordable" rental rate, that's a different story.

So how about some solid answers back? I'm trying to be honest and tell it like it is so that we don't end up with another white elephant project that benefits nobody from around here (like the airport terminal, the so-called justice center, etc.).

Let's see your numbers AGM. Prove that I'm wrong. What's the viable plan for 400 affordable units?

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bubba 5 years, 1 month ago

Aich, your analysis is so far off that you have cast me in the role of affordable housing advocate and steamboat 700 supporter - I am the opposite of the former and neutral on the latter in real life.

Anyway- you are now basing your analysis on it costing $324k to provide one affordable house to one individual. So your analysis assumes that the city builds houses for 324k and then gives them to people for free. I can assure you, this is not how this works- in fact the way things are going now, the city would probably use that $4m that you came up with to provide silent second mortgages/down payment assistance to people to help them get into houses.

Secondly, if affordability is a goal, the real impact of steamboat 700 will be to increase the supply, thus stabilizing price to some degree.

And you keep saying that someone cannot build these to make a profit- a small spec builder probably couldn't on one house, but if the demand is there, someone could certainly use economies of scale to make it worthwhile to build a bunch of them. If demand isn't there, then nothing will ever get built, so who cares if it's annexed or not?

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aichempty 5 years, 1 month ago

Karen,

Where's your subsidy? Is that the 1/2% transfer tax. If so, see above.

I understand that there are a lot of people who sit in algebra class in high school and ask, "When will I ever need this in real life?"

In reality, you need it in real life when you start dealing with money, because people smart enough to make it know that the easiest way is to get a sucker to give it away. That's where ethics and civic responsiblity come in, and if you want to know how that's working out, look at the mortgage crisis.

People suck. They cheat you when they can, and it goes double around here.

By the way, I'm accustomed to people hating me when I reveal facts to them, but that doesn't change the facts.

The SB700 annexation subsidizes water and sewer capacity for market-rate houses that will be built in there to profit builders and developers. The affordable housing dream was a shameful thing to exploit to push it through.

More shameful yet is that the people in charge did not figure all this stuff out for themselves. Or, maybe they did, and they have a personal agenda or incentive to let it get through.

One thing for sure is that more houses will generate more money for realtors in the long run, and that people fortunate enough to be able to afford to buy them will move here because this is a lovely place to live, in spite of the dopers and stoned counter help, surly grocery clerks, etc. The people working for the City and County are generally great people, and they are the best I've ever had to deal with. No doubt about it. The same is true for many small business people.

You said, "I have blogged before about how brilliant I think that is, so I won't repeat, except to say that if they didn't believe they have a strong enough plan to make that work, they wouldn't have offered it." Uh, how did you get that logic to work out? The plan that was offered is infeasible to accomplish the required goals. The reason they offered the plan is, possibly, that they didn't plan realistically.

All building costs have gone up due to the demand from China and other develping countries. Concrete is a frequent example. 5 gallons of paint costs $200. Carpet costs twice what it did 15 years ago because it's made from petroleum, and oil prices have increased. Lumber prices fluctuate, but as demand decreases nationwide, supplies decrease, and at some point prices have to go up or nobody can stay in business selling it. It's the number of suppliers that decreases, and they eke out enough to stay in business through volume sales.

The United States has sold out its ability to compete on the world markets by over-regulating and over-taxing until the fixed costs of doing business are more than the price people are able to pay for the goods. Something has got to give, and unfortunately, it's the expectations of people who don't understand that you don't get something for nothing.

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aichempty 5 years, 1 month ago

Bubba,

You're almost with me. $324,000 to build the house must be available up front. When you sell it for that and get the money back, you can build another one. That slows the pace of development to about 2 to 4 per year.

Economies of scale don't work here. We're not a mass market with a large supply of people with money to buy the low-end homes. It would work great in Atlanta, and has worked there and in many other overdeveloped markets for years. Like Las Vegas. Hint . . .hint . . .

The money to build the house, or a loan from which to draw, has to be in place before construction can begin. Whoever puts the money up front is at risk until the place is sold or refinanced. Like I said, you have to pay as you go. You can't tell everybody to wait to be paid until the house is sold. That's what the builder does -- wait -- and why he's at risk. He has to pay everybody else and he doesn't get paid until closing.

So, my point stands. If we wait for the 1/2% transfer tax, it will be a long wait. If not, then who provides the cash flow? The City? If not, then who?

My father recently played golf with a man whose career had been in real estate development. The man pointed to a housing development of townhomes and told my father that, "Half of the people in those homes will lose them." It's coming true. The junk mortgages and adjustable rates, etc., are the reason.

SB700 and affordable housing might have caught on back during the bubble, but the bubble is burst. Anything but high-end housing owned by people with the ability to obtain a solid mortgage and repay it, or to pay cash, will be rare.

As for the other argument, about "annexation costs nothing if nobody builds," that's not true. The water and sewer capacities must come before construction of homes. In reality, they must come before the vacant lots are sold, because otherwise, you can't build on the lot. Economies of scale would push the construction of enough capacity to serve 2000 units instead of attempting to phase it along as the new sections are opened. Money to build it, however, must come from tap fees (as shown in the annexation agreement -- see my post above) and tap fees are not collected until the capacity to support the taps is in place. It's a Catch-22 and the City is the catcher in this case.

I used the city's estimate sheet to see what it would cost for taps for a 1000 square foot unit with two baths. It's around $8,000. Multiply that times 2000 units and you get $16,000,000.00 in tap fees. If that's a reasonable estimate of what the City will have to spend to provide the capacity, where is the City supposed to get $16,000,000 ?

The entire budget for 2010 is $36,200,000.00, down from over $50M in recent years. http://www.steamboatpilot.com/news/20...

(continued)

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aichempty 5 years, 1 month ago

If the City doesn't build the capacity, SB700 cannot subdivide and sell lots, but uh - oh, there's this agreement in place . . . can the City be sued to force it to supply the water and sewer capacity?

It says:

The annexation agreement says:

"(e) Subject to Developer’s performance of all covenants contained herein, including the fees, construction obligations, and additional planning and design required by Subsections 2-7 of this Section VII below, the City agrees to provide potable water service to the Property up to the water demand and consumptive use numbers in the Water Demand Report, Exhibit I provided, however, that the raw water supply available to City has not been materially reduced at the time final plat approval is sought."

In return, the developers agree to pay $960,000.00 for use to improve City capacity. Such a deal . . . oy vay!

Do I need to point out that a million dollars is not what it used to be?

The sad part of this argument is that SB700 is starting to sound like a great place to build a market rate spec house. There's nothing to stop me from living in it and renting my current place until the market turns around.

Okay, forget everything I wrote. SB700 is a great idea, and we know that Steamboat is going to grow, so we should plan and provide for it NOW!

Vote for SB700. It's the future of our Valley.

(Uh, they can't put mobile homes on the CHP lots, can they? That would suck.)

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bubba 5 years, 1 month ago

Aich, thanks for the condescending tone, but I am completely with you. I recognize that houses have to be paid for when built. You stated earlier that $250,000 was enough to pay everyone except the developer to build a house. As I showed above, the target market for these affordable homes can pay 275-325k for the home. Now you are using my number of 324 as the cost to build it, not the selling price.

You don't need a major metro area to have economies of scale- the numbers that you accepted earlier imply that someone could make 50,000 per home if they built them at 250 and sold them at 300. Not a great profit for an individual spec builder, but if someone thought they could sell 10 of them, they could obtain this thing called a construction loan for 2.5 million, build them, and if they are right about the demand, they could make 500,000.

When demand starts returning, there will be people willing to take that risk, even if you are not.

You with me? Another thing that can be done, once this thing gets under way is to borrow against the future transfer tax revenues. This is called a bond, you may have heard of it.

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aichempty 5 years, 1 month ago

Bubba,

No condescention intended.

I used your figure of $324,000 because the more someone can pay for the finished product, the more incentive there is to build it. That's a best-case scenario for trying to make it a viable project.

Someone with 2.5 million to put up as collateral for a construction loan, hoping to make back $500,000 by building 10 units, could also build five homes for $500,000 each and sell them for more like $750,000 to $800,000 and make easily over $1,000,000 for their trouble. Economies of scale show that profit goes up faster than square footage because tap fees, etc., for a 3000 square foot home are not that much more than for a 1000 square foot home. Building a foundation for a 1000 square foot home costs 58% of what it costs for a 3000 square foot home on a square footprint, which you need for a 7000 square foot, square lot. Same for exterior walls.

Doubling the amount of material in the perimeter walls gives you 4 times the square footage. It's simple mathematics. That means it takes less in labor and materials to build increased square footage, allowing the builder to put money into nicer appointements and, uh, his pocket.

Again, you've got to provide a real incentive to a spec builder. The smart builder puts up what the market will bear, because that's how to make the most money. If you limit the cost for any reason other than what the free market buyers can afford to pay, and the size of the structure controlled by setbacks on a small lot, you're giving away profit.

HUD housing gets around this with federal funding. The builders bid for the work and make a fair profit, or they choose not to bid. Steamboat's market is controlled by different forces, and the incentive is to build bigger and more expensvie, up to the high end that people will historically pay.

Low-end housing in this market is not a money-making proposition when bigger homes will sell at higher prices. That's just how it is.

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AGM 5 years, 1 month ago

Aich,

You are exhausting.

I'll ask one simple question. How did Fox Creek Village get built and be full since completion just a couple of years ago?

There is a significant difference between market rates and affordable/subsidized housing rates. This is a real life example of something that actually happened with units that are not expensive today and continued demand for these units. I know you think any affordable housing plan is impossible in our community and I'm no advocate for subsidized housing but I'm open minded enough to understand one can make projects work. Free land is a heck of a place to start. Please be open to thinking about this. Please.

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aichempty 5 years, 1 month ago

That was a couple of years ago. Your dog could get a mortgage two years ago.

AGM, I am not against affordable housing at ALL. If I was retired, I'd qualify for it based on the 80% AMI requirement.

The SB700 developers and the "master planners" for west of Steamboat have come up with a way to disengage the requirement for builders to provide "affordable" units as part of their market rate development. Giving "free land" to the City for use in affordable housing programs means that people who do build in SB700 don't have to pay the fees or provide affordable units as in other developments in recent years. Is this not a correct assumption? Please correct me with a reference to the page and paragraph in the annexation agreement if I'm wrong.

The cold hard facts are that the people who are involved in this scheme on the side of affordable housing advocates did not "do the math" and carry through the planning process far enough to figure out that it doesn't solve the problem.

I don't fault the SB700 developers for coming up with such an innovative plan to push their annexation through the City Council, but I do fault the City and the housing advocates for not being smart enough to figure out that free land is no guarantee of affordable housing. Shoot, if somebody gave me a helicopter for free, I could fly it. The problem is that I couldn't afford to put fuel in it and pay for maintenance. I've got four free dogs, the latest of which cost me $800 last month in vet bills. Most things you get for free come with another price tag, and this is proof of it.

You don't need to beg me to think about it. What the #### do you think I've been doing? Am I the ONLY one who's been thinking about how to actually get it done? Do you mean to tell me that the entire bleeding-heart affordable housing movement doesn't have even one person capable of doing the analysis from a builder's point of view and discovering the same problems?

There are plenty of people in this country living in poverty and crippled by unemployment who don't need a $324,000 roof over their heads. If I was contemplating moving to Routt County today, and saw the housing prices, I'd just change my mind and say, "I can't afford it." I wouldn't be expecting the City and the taxpayers to subsidize my lifestyle choice simply because I wanted to live here.

But, back on point, the recent land auction in Hayden fell flat. There's no demand for it. Things may change in the future, and building costs could come down, and affordable housing in SB700 might be practical if conditions change.

If the City wants to solve the AH problem using SB700 land, then they need to zone it for mobile homes and LEASE the land to the residents. That's a viable solution.

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aichempty 5 years, 1 month ago

Got to follow this up by saying that I do not oppose affordable housing.

I am, however, appalled at the ignorance and short-sightedness of people who try to solve a problem without knowing the details.

I would very much like to be WRONG.

If there is a current builder in Routt County who will agree to build even one affordable unit on free land, then somebody involved in the affordable housing movement needs to locate him, work with him, jiggle the handle on the numbers and demonstrate how it can be accomplished under the conditions set forth in the annexation agreement.

So, all you AH proponents need to make some calls and get some estimates and fire back with a plan to make this dream come true.

I think the fatal flaw is that people around here believe that the problem can be solved using other people's money, and they have set up a plan based on that assumption, and it's not a feasible plan because they have ignored the real-world details that have to be dealt with in order to build a place for people to live in Routt County.

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cindy constantine 5 years, 1 month ago

Aich,

Isn't the Yampa Valley Housing Authority looking for a builder to build an apartment project on a parcel of ground across the street from TIC? Where does that project stand? Is there a builder out there who has figured out how to make that one work? Thanks.

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aichempty 5 years, 1 month ago

cindy,

I am not familiar with the details of that project.

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Steve Lewis 5 years, 1 month ago

Huh. The AH debate above is simply bizarre - none of you are even an AH advocate. We know each other a bit from earlier debates and I find it hard to believe any of you would vote no on SB700 because you think its affordable housing (subsidized AH) won't work.

Both the City and SB700 agree the adopted plan will satisfy the WSSAP requirement. I'm as close as this blog has to an AH wingnut, and even I'm o.k. with the subsidized AH plan. Let it go...

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aichempty 5 years, 1 month ago

I'm going to leave you with this.

Five years from now, if the AH plan has not produced any affordable housing, you'll be able to come back to this thread and figure out why.

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cindy constantine 5 years, 1 month ago

Good Point, Steve,

We have beaten that "dead horse" to death. So lets talk about what really bothers me (other than the horrible timing of the deal), 380,000 square feet of commercial space. Does anyone in reader land realize how much square footage that is? A lot more than ALL of downtown Steamboat combined. Reminds me of the days of dying downtowns when everyone was moving to the 'burbs and loved the idea of malls in their neighborhoods. I don't care if the space won't be built for 15 years. How is that going to play out with our downtown we have worked so hard to "prop" up. What kind of cohesive community with a thriving downtown signal is that? Anyone else put any thought into this aspect of the project?

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cindy constantine 5 years, 1 month ago

correction-a lot more that all of the COMMERCIAL space in downtown steamboat.

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Steve Lewis 5 years, 1 month ago

Cindy, As a former planning commissioner, I admit right away that I take the "planner's" view. Not always do we get the right end result, even when our advice is taken.

In my PC work on the WSSAP update, there was a very prominent goal that the west area residents not rely on downtown and even south Steamboat services and goods. Nor would it be smart if all of their jobs were downtown or even further south.

Reason one: sustainability = residents travel shorter distances to goods and food. Maybe even by foot or bus. Reason two: less traffic in the bottleneck. Though we have to acknowledge the SB700 commercial space will create some traffic in the opposite direction.

I'm on the fence. I want to know the product will be attainable by our workforce.

Good luck with your petition. Even if I do end up voting for the project Cindy, you've got my respect for putting your name and your time behind what you believe.

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Steve Lewis 5 years, 1 month ago

It may be SB700 has decided to run a push poll. That's a mass effort of phone calls which pretend some interest in your answers in a survey, while the real reason for the call is to pose questions which in themselves sway your opinion. Typically the questions within a push poll hold falsehoods out as fact. Their ethic often hinges on a calculated use of the word "if". I haven't heard the call personally, so I don't know if it really has these characteristics.

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Karen_Dixon 5 years, 1 month ago

And I suppose your blog isn't holding any falsehoods out as potential fact. It seems to hinge on the calculated use of the word "typically."

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JLM 5 years, 1 month ago

On the issue of affordable housing, it is worth noting that several cities have just received Federal GRANTS in excess of $15MM to build affordable housing units while simultaneously receiving awards of tax credits --- thereby virtually funding the entire project.

The local municipality has to apply for the grant and the project has to apply for the tax credits.

Taken together with a waiver of all fees and perhaps a few acres of land adjacent to the Haymaker, the project funding is complete.

LET ME REPEAT THAT --- this strategy would fund the project entirely!

Where did the Federal grants come from?

The Stimulus!

Somebody at the appropriate agencies in SBS better get off their duffs and start seeking a grant before they run out of money. Simultaneously, go find a friendly developer and get him to fashion a good project.

This would be a great cause for all you local big talkers who are always crying alligator tears about affordable housing. No offense meant. Well, just a smidgen of offense. Sorry.

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Steve Lewis 5 years, 1 month ago

Geez Karen, you are not able to say I held out a falsehood as fact, because you would be wrong. So you offer that I held out a falsehood as "potential fact"?

My post stated twice that I cannot confirm what the survey is doing. "It may be...". "I don't know..". I've heard two conflicting accounts, and the post is fair. I thought the blog would know more. Testing information is one of the upsides of blogs, no?

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Karen_Dixon 5 years, 1 month ago

Steve, I have not received a phone call, so I could not say one way or the other whether it's a falsehood or a fact, hence the word "potential." I called you out because your post appeared to be dispersion-casting rhetoric of something which you yourself cannot verify. A little sarcasm to expose the comment for what it is was warranted!

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aichempty 5 years, 1 month ago

I wonder if any of those cities receiving "stimulus grants" are providing subsidized housing for people making $65,000 a year . . .

Or 120% of $80,600 (our AMI) or even 200% of $80,600?

There are people in New Orleans still living in squalor from Hurricane Katrina. There are thousands of homeless veterans.

And you expect the feds to subsidize homes costing over $250,000 for people who flip burgers, drive shuttles, stock grocery shelves and teach school in a ski resort town?

Dream on.

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Steve Lewis 5 years, 1 month ago

Karen, It's fair to say you and the Pilot became strong proponents of the annexation months ago. (That's fine in your case.) But it's also fair to say, since you both became proponents the annexation has improved A LOT in the benefit it offers to this community. I don't recall you or the Pilot asking for those changes to the agreement. Maybe you did Karen?

To my knowledge, Community Alliance members were alone in this community in requesting improvements to the agreement. Certainly CAYV sought the improvements made to the affordability and attainability of the agreement. At the same time Community Alliance went through a nightmare of criticism in this blog and in the Pilot.

In the thread above I made comments that are both pro and con. Thanks so much for tagging me as an underhanded villain.

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Steve Lewis 5 years, 1 month ago

Sorry, Karen. I over reacted to your comments. I should be thicker skinned. We all think we are on a side that is doing what's best for Steamboat. No crime in that.

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aichempty 5 years, 1 month ago

One thing for sure. Small homes with high prices will raise the "comparables" all over the county and that's good for current home owners -- as long as you're not deed restricted and hoping to move up to something larger.

The statement that a greater supply of housing will lead to lower prices is a myth. It would apply in some places, but not here.

Resort homes are not a commodity subject to supply and demand effects at our position on the curve. We don't attract new residents because we have jobs to attract them. We have a resort environment that attracts buyers who don't have to work here to purchase a home here. Our first-home buyers are still competing with second-home buyers whose stock portfolios are recovering from the crash.

Two things have to happen before increased supply results in lower prices. First, there has to be unsold property on the market sitting vacant. This is the excess supply. Owners have to be compelled to lower the price in order to sell it. In the worst case, this is because of the threat of losing the property to foreclosure. In the best case, the cost of holding the property is so low that it makes sense to hold onto it until the market improves. A seller who is about to lose his shirt may be willing to sell to get ANYTHING back. A seller who has plenty of time to wait for things to change may choose to wait.

Second, there has to be a demand for the unsold property at the market price. In some cases, no matter how low the price drops, there will be no demand.

In extreme cases, sellers will even abandon vacant properties and allow them to be sold for the taxes due.

Our supply of low-cost housing is non-existent because there are enough people from other parts of the country willing to purchase anything that comes on the market for more than it's worth. This has created a situation where the bare minimum dwelling allowed by the building codes (I think it's 800 square feet for a single-family home) has got to sell for over $250,000 to break even. In other parts of the country, you can buy a 2000 square foot or larger home for well under $200,000.00. You can also get a year-round job there, and live comfortably.

Our local demand is not economic. It's emotional. People who have money to come in and buy a home without working here do so for the resort amenities and nautral surroundings. It's a reward for working hard, or in some cases, just for being lucky. Unfortunately, the people who work here have to compete with them for housing.

(cont)

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aichempty 5 years, 1 month ago

Land costs are a large part of the problem. Back east in places where the cities have expanded into former farm land, owners have been forced to sell out because the tax on their old farm land suddenly jumped to an unaffordable level as homes were built on adjacent parcels. Even then, the prices for acreage are low compared to this area, but former land owners make enough to retire comfortably and the developers use the cheap land to put up subdivisions. It's a one-time good deal.

In the case of SB700, the one-time good deal was had by the former owners of the land. I don't know where the SB700 developers got the money to purchase the land, but if the former owners got a lump sum at settlement it's going to be very hard for anyone to reduce the cost of the land without the SB700 developers losing a significant amount of money. I can't imagine all that land going into foreclosure (which could happen if it's financed) or to tax sale (if it's owned outright) or even being liquidated at bargain prices any time soon.

Given the cost of land, the costs of construction, the risks involved and the market sector where the money is to be made, I don't see a case where it would benefit any developer to put up homes selling for less than $800,000.00. Out of 300,000,000 Americans, not to mention people from around the world, how hard is it going to be to find 1,600 buyers (80% of the 2000 units to be subdivided) for luxury homes located 5 miles from Mt. Werner?

A square 7000 square-foot lot with 30 foot front and 10 foot side and back setbacks provides enough room for a ground-floor footprint of 2780 square feet. Make it two stories and you've got 5000 square feet. At $200/sq.ft. that's a 1-million dollar home.

Did you happen to see the article on the condos slopeside that are selling for $800 to $1000 per square foot?

There's definitely a market for the higher-priced homes and that's where SB700 and the builders are going to make a killing.

And THESE are the homes that your Steamboat tax dollars will make possible by providing the potable water requirement which the City must furnish under the annexation agreement.

I've got to give them credit for spinning this project the way they did. And, they are probably going to succeed. In the long run, this will be good for everybody who owns a home in town, and probably in the county, but it's not going to solve the affordable housing problem or allow the kids of wage-earning locals to be able to stay here and live as adults.

The next time somebody comes to the council with an idea like this, they should be forced to provide land and infrastructure for 200 manufactured homes instead, and give THAT to the City.

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Karen_Dixon 5 years, 1 month ago

Steve, No apologies necessary. You are entitled to your voice. In fact, I am grateful for your voice. Even though you are no longer serving on planning commission, you understand the importance of the public process and you choose to provide your input and suggestions through it. This is to be commended. As you know, everyone has their own area of expertise which sometimes leads to a myopic view. A diverse group of people with varying perspectives is critical to the public process, whether that diversity comes from members of the commission on which they serve or from the public. Thank you for investing your time to make the agreement better. I strongly believe that it was because of your input that it was made better.

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Steve Lewis 5 years, 1 month ago

That's a nice compliment. Thanks.

I know your PC also improved the AA, and appreciate your scrutiny with John Eastman of the 12.5 AH acres. That gave us all something to work from.

Its a little strange to look around. There are folks who were fans of the annexation from day one, and folks who were against it from day one. Few of them tried to shape any of its details into something better. But I have to appreciate those who stood up, even if outside Centennial Hall. I personally prefer what a professional racing veteran said. He rarely came in first but he made it to every finish line. He said, "You can't win if you don't show up". So I worked on it. So did you. Thanks for showing up.

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