Officials hope for large turnout at Steamboat 700 meeting

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If you go

What: Steamboat 700 open house and town hall meeting

When: 4:30 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Steamboat Springs Community Center, 1605 Lincoln Ave.

Call: City Planning and Community Development Department at 871-8258 for more information

Agenda

4:30 p.m. Topics including affordable housing, transportation, parks and open space, fiscal impact and water rights covered at individual tables.

6 p.m. Group question-and-answer session

On the 'Net

Visit www.steamboat700.com/ and steamboatsprings.net/departments/planning_department/steamboat_700_july_2009 for downloads and more information about Steamboat 700.

Steamboat 700 timeline

- 5 p.m. today

City Council meeting; review of fiscal impacts for capital improvements

- 4:30 p.m. Wednesday

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

- 5 p.m. Thursday

Planning Commission meeting; annexation review and traditional neighborhood design amendments

- Sept. 17

Planning Commission meeting; annexation review and traditional neighborhood design amendments

- Sept. 29

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

- Oct. 13

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

By the numbers

- 1% - A real estate transfer tax at this rate will be instituted within the project to help pay for items such as affordable housing and a school

- 12.5 - The number of acres Steamboat 700 will donate to the city for the development of affordable housing

- 20 - The number of years property rights will be vested if certain requirements are met

- 80 to 95 - The estimated property tax mill levy within the development

- 487 - The size of the development in acres

- 2,000 - The number of homes - from apartments to large-lot single-family houses - proposed

- 17,600 to 21,900 - The number of daily vehicle trips the development will generate on surrounding roads

- 380,000 - The square footage of commercial development proposed

- $280,000 to $600,000 - The average price of housing within the development, in present day dollars

- $960,000 - The amount being paid to firm up some of the city's existing water rights

— City officials hope for a large turnout Wednesday at an open house and town hall meeting designed to provide information about the proposed Steamboat 700 annexation.

City Council members and city planners have expressed disappointment in the low attendance at Steamboat 700 hearings during the past year, and they hope Wednesday's event will provide a better format for discussing the complex project. City employees and representatives from Steamboat 700 will be available to provide information and answer questions at the beginning of the meeting, which will conclude with a group question-and-answer session with City Council.

"This is really the kickoff for the final set of annexation hearings," city Planning Services Manager John Eastman said. "The main purpose is to get anyone who is interested into the room."

Eastman said the event is designed for people to get their questions answered, but not to express their opinions about the project. Eastman said there will be plenty of opportunities for that at the subsequent annexation hearings and that people should use Wednesday's event as an opportunity to arm themselves with as much knowledge as possible to form their opinions.

"I think it's important that people come," Councilwoman Cari Hermacinski said. "This is probably the biggest potential development proposal for our city since the (ski) mountain. : They'll have a meaningful opportunity to gather information."

Steamboat 700 is a proposed master-planned community on 487 acres adjacent to the western city limits of Steamboat Springs. The project proposes about 2,000 homes - from apartments to single-family home lots - and 380,000 square feet of commercial development that would be built to the standards of new urbanism (dense, walkable and transit-friendly).

Steamboat 700 principal and project manager Danny Mulcahy and his Las Vegas partners purchased 700 acres west of the city in 2007 for $25 million. The project is within the boundaries of the West Steamboat Springs Area Plan, a document that provides guidelines and strategies for growth and annexation to help accomplish a number of community goals, principally affordable housing.

The Steamboat Springs City Council is scheduled to take a final vote on the annexation Oct. 13.

Supporters say the project helps fulfill the goals of the WSSAP and pay for several sorely needed city improvements. Critics say the impacts of the development - on items such as traffic and city services - are too great.

In preparation for her re-election bid, Hermacinski has begun soliciting residents for their thoughts about Steamboat 700. Hermacinski said she has received about 50 phone calls and e-mails thus far in addition to the opinions she's received walking door to door.

"There are a lot of people who have an opinion on this but don't show up to the meetings," she said.

Hermacinski said the majority of residents she has spoken with have said either that they oppose the project or that they don't know enough about it to give an opinion.

- To reach Brandon Gee, call 367-7507 or e-mail bgee@steamboatpilot.com

Comments

Fred Duckels 5 years, 3 months ago

Generally speaking people are against change, and only begrudgingly accept even a good idea over time. Condemnation gives the drivebys a chance to take a position with no risk or effort involved. This project involves a lot of logic and makes more sense than any of the alternatives to address inevitable growth.

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freerider 5 years, 3 months ago

So Fred , it's no secret that I'm against the 700 farce , just wondering how much $$$ do you figure your going to make off this project ?? And this story is stupid , we already know what's going on with the 700 club . Why would anybody want to go to this meeting ?? Hermacinski says people have an opinion but don't show up at the meetings...well duh ...what's the point ?? I'm against it ...nobody's going to change my mind about it ..Eastman says the meetings are not about expressing your opinions...well if they let us express our opinion's as they should then I would show up...Hey city council kind of a one sided meeting don't you think...?? spewing your bias towards this crock and not letting the opposition have a say about it...typical....put this to a vote and I will respect the decision of the Routt county residents ...not a a handful of unqualified council members ....hey city council how's your mantra today ?? let the next guy fix it..let the next guy fix it..let the next guy fix it...let the next guy fix it

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Fred Duckels 5 years, 3 months ago

Freeby, Tell us how you really feel. If the project goes to construction it will be constructed through a metro district and publicly bid out to all contractors. My effort here is to promote a development that will contribute to paying for needed improvemetns. Growth is inevitable and the alternates will not be paying their way. This is the lessor of evils in my opinion, I would have shut the gate in the early eighties if I had my druthers.

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Alpru 5 years, 3 months ago

Many of those I've polled about this issue are not anti-growth, but they are anti-stupid. I don't know about you, but I'm not interested in leaving my home on a school night so I can listen to an infomercial. When they come on TV, I can elect to turn them off. You're hoping for a large turnout? Put it on the ballot!

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flotilla 5 years, 3 months ago

Alpru, maybe the best way to describe people who don't want 700. Anti-stupid. Love it!

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Fred Duckels 5 years, 3 months ago

I wonder if Steve Lewis will be answering questions as to how he surmised that annexation of this project would net 700 hundreds of millions. He seems to think that it is others responsibility to prove him wrong.

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Fred Duckels 5 years, 3 months ago

Scott, By going with the 700, we will increase our available inventory for a long time to come. This will lower the housing cost overall and provide more opportunity. It has been shortage that has driven speculation and prices into the stratosphere in recent years. The prospect of lower prices has probably helped drive support for the demise of 700. The CA has championed AH, in my opinion as a political tool, as evidenced by the fact that they want a vote here since they don't have the votes on council.

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Scott Ford 5 years, 3 months ago

A few hours ago City Council adjourned. The main topic of this evening's discussion was about the capital cost and who bears the responsibility of those cost and at one point in time are funds needed. The dollars being discussed were staggering. Cari Hermancinski did a calculation that the cost of transportation improvements in US Hwy 40 the developer is agreeing to pay will add $44,000+ to the cost of each dwelling unit in Steamboat 700. (Now to be fair this assumes that no funding source beyond Steamboat 700 such as CDOT will ever bring any money to the table.)

Add the other cost the developer is agreeing to pay - and its tens of thousands more. If one of the key goals of WASSP was affordable/attainable housing - it seems to me that the cost burden the potential future home owners will pay may make that goal of affordable/attainable unachievable. Fred I know this is a concern that you have voiced previously. What surprised me the most were the developer's representatives although acknowledging the added cost per dwelling unit did not seem too concerned. Maybe they were just tired tonight.

Gaining a better understanding of the added cost on a per dwelling unit is something I hope to gain from tomorrow's meeting. Could we end up with a development with homes needing to be priced higher than similar product in the existing city limits? I think this would be very silly, but I think that may be the direction we are headed. It seems perhaps we have lost sight of the goal of annexation stated in the WASSP in the first place.

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housepoor 5 years, 3 months ago

is it just me or does the developer seem to very agreeable? Wouldn't be suprised to see the the entire property go on the market as soon as the the annexation is approved... ??

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Scott Ford 5 years, 3 months ago

Housepoor - I had the same impression after last night's city council meeting. From my perspective, I think that the folks we are dealing with now will not be the folks we are dealing with either mid or long term. It appears to me that the final annexation agreement will be the "value added" feature that will allow Steamboat 700-LLC, to sell the annexed land in whole or in part. This is reality and it is OK. The folks at Steamboat 700-LLC are free to sell it for whatever price that they want to and think the market will pay to whoever will buy it.

This is even more reason to be very diligent in negotiating the terms of the annexation agreement leaving as little as possible to undocumented mutual understanding of the intent of the original agreement. One of the questions I have this evening is what if the ownership of the annex land becomes significantly fragmented? What if in 10 years we find ourselves dealing with a dozen developers all pointing their fingers at each other playing "not-it" when it comes to paying for costs outlined in the annexation agreement. The devil is always in the details.

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Scott Ford 5 years, 3 months ago

Fred - Although I think having us vote on the annexation agreement adds yet another wrinkle in the bed sheets - it may be the prudent thing to do as a community. Although a different time and a different circumstance, as a community we both remember the vote regarding Wal-Mart. Like Wal-Mart, some issues are just so divisive a vote is necessary. Is it a pain in the rear? Yes! Do we need to vote on everything that comes before City Council? Absolutely NO! But some things are so important a community-wide vote is the right thing to do just because it is so divisive. If I were the annexation applicant - I would re-think ever going through this brain damage again.

Voting does not diminish the important role our elected City Council members have played. They are doing their best in negotiating the agreement they think is possible in keeping with the goals of the WASSP. I have a huge amount of respect for their dedication, judgment and efforts. However, I think a vote allows individual members of this community to know that their voice, (pro or con) has been heard. I am not fearful of the voting process - although now I could not predict its outcome. What do you think the outcome would be?

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flotilla 5 years, 3 months ago

I think Fred's previous comment spells out exactly why Steamboat 700 will not succeed in meeting the goals of attainable housing. As Scott mentioned, as proposed, each home or unit will have a lot of extras attached to the price. The houses that Fred says are low in inventory are $200-$300K. Please show me anywhere in 700 where that inventory, in houses, not Shadow Run condos, will exist.

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