Steamboat 700 at a glance
1.2%: 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
13: Miles of trails
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
126: Acres of open space
487: The total 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
Visit www.steamboat700.... and steamboatsprings.net/departments/planning_department/steamboat_700_july_2009 for downloads and more information about Steamboat 700.
Steamboat 700 timeline
- Thursday: Planning Commission meeting; annexation review, traditional neighborhood design amendments and recommendation to City Council
- 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
Concerns continue to be addressed, but hesitancy continues to be expressed about the proposed Steamboat 700 annexation.
The Steamboat Springs Planning Commission reviewed the project in its entirety Thursday. The hearing was restricted mostly to presentation and discussion. Commissioners aim to make a recommendation to City Council about the project next week. Steamboat 700 is a master-planned community of 487 acres that proposes about 2,000 homes and 380,000 square feet of commercial space just west of current city limits.
"Tonight, we're talking about the really, really big decision," Planning Services Manager John Eastman told commissioners as he opened a hearing that was guided by a nearly 300-page staff report.
Eastman said commissioners were not being asked to decide whether Steamboat should grow and annex property in western Steamboat - he said 15 years of community plans already have determined that and provided a recipe for how that growth should occur.
"Your job is to determine whether all the different cooks in the kitchen followed the recipe well," Eastman said.
City staff's answer to that question is "yes." The staff report found that Steamboat 700 provides advantages to the city in the realms of land use, affordable housing, fire services, parks, open space and trails. The report states that Steamboat 700 will have a neutral effect fiscally and on schools, water, U.S. Highway 40 improvements and sustainability.
"We're here to implement these plans and what the community has decided they want to do," Steamboat 700 consultant Peter Patten said.
Included in the revised annexation agreement were new backstops to protect the city against recently expressed concerns.
As part of its affordable housing plan, Steamboat 700 plans to donate 12.5 acres to the city and institute a 0.5 percent real estate transfer tax within the development. Despite near guarantees from the city's annexation attorney, Jerry Dahl, that such a funding mechanism is legal if negotiated as part of an annexation, several concerns have been expressed about its legality. The revised annexation agreement presented Tuesday includes a provision that requires Steamboat 700 to dedicate additional land if the transfer tax is ruled illegal.
In an additional effort to protect affordability, City Council recently requested that some sort of anti-flipping measure be incorporated into the agreement to prevent speculation. Steamboat 700 attorney Bob Weiss presented one proposal Thursday that would require property owners who buy and sell a home in the development within three years to pay a percentage of their net gain to a fund being used to pay for Steamboat 700's required capital improvements.
The city just received the proposal Thursday and had not had a chance to review it.
Despite these steps and city staff's comfort with the project, concerns and hesitancy continued to be expressed Thursday. Resident Steve Lewis, chairman of the Community Alliance of the Yampa Valley's growth committee, presented a letter with questions and concerns about topics including density, water and affordable housing.
"The amount Steamboat 700 has been required to pay from its own pockets is too small," Lewis' letter states. "This leaves the city and/or homeowners with a large financial burden, with uncertain benefit to the community as a whole."
Lewis also requested that, in addition to the units that will be created through Steamboat 700's affordable housing plan, the developer deed restrict additional free market units for sale to residents and employees of Routt County only.
Steamboat 700 is being required to pay for improvements to U.S. Highway 40 from 13th Street to their project, but resident Bill Jameson said it was irresponsible to approve the project without first formulating a plan to fix the 13th Street "bottleneck," where traffic constricts as it heads through downtown and south of Steamboat.
Commissioners expressed their own concerns about issues such as affordable housing and the pace of the development. In their questions and comments, commissioners Sarah Fox and Cedar Beauregard suggested they would like to see additional measures that would restrict the rate of growth in the development through means such as requiring that the project be annexed in smaller phases.
"I don't know if it's our purview to say where the build-out should be for the next 50 to 75 years," Fox said.
Patten said that splitting Steamboat 700 up would undermine the benefits of a master-planned project and lead to less cohesive development.
The Planning Commission ended its hearing at 10 p.m. and will pick up where it left off next week.