Good For Steamboat committee: Housing for the future

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Most Steamboat Springs residents — not everyone, but most of us — accept that our region will grow, so having a long-range plan to manage growth is essential.

Managing growth requires dealing with our imbalance between the supply of and demand for affordable housing. So our community has identified west Steamboat Springs as the best area available to plan for new affordable housing for today’s workers and to manage future growth.

Affordable housing confronts our community even in today’s economy. Far too many of our workers live outside the city not by choice, but because they cannot find adequate rental or for-sale housing in town.

That’s why now is the time for us to vote yes on Referendum A and annex Steamboat 700.

Land and money

The core of the Steamboat 700 affordable housing plan (read it at www.good4steamboat.com) has two parts:

■ Land donation program: Steamboat 700 will donate free parcels of land selected by the city in each phase of development. Analysis by city staff concludes that the land donation program alone will result in 400 affordable units at Steamboat 700.

■ Money: Steamboat 700 will have a transfer fee on property sales to fund affordable housing community-wide, estimated to generate between $12 million and $39 million during the next 20 years.

With these funds, the city and the Yampa Valley Housing Authority can focus on supply by financing new apartments or deed-restricted homes. Or we can focus on demand, such as making loans for down payment assistance programs as some local employers have for their employees.

These new housing resources also are good news for Steamboat jobs. They will help Steamboat retain our current businesses, attract new employers and diversify our local economy so we’re not so dependent on snowfall, softball and tourism to pay the bills.

More building blocks

The annexation also includes a robust plan for moderately priced housing for our community’s middle class. At least 30 percent of Steamboat 700’s market-rate housing is required to be priced for these households. And if that requirement is not being met, the city has the power to halt the next phase of development.

There’s also an anti-speculation provision to strongly discourage flipping of work force housing by imposing a financial penalty on quick re-sales.

This multi-pronged approach gives the city flexibility to meet changing needs throughout decades — a big improvement compared to a rigid, one-size-fits-all program of small, deed-restricted condos that don’t serve our community’s diverse needs. The city staff and the Yampa Valley Housing Authority support this approach, and so do we.

Let’s get serious

The Let’s Vote committee says there are no guarantees that affordable housing will be built at Steamboat 700. This is ludicrous.

The city will be in control of free land and tens of millions of dollars in new revenues from Steamboat 700 expressly for affordable housing. The insinuation that the city will shirk its own affordable housing goals is only meant to scare and confuse voters.

Further, Let’s Vote now proposes an “infill” solution to our housing needs: lock in the city’s current boundaries and build more density on empty parcels. Here’s the truth: the high land costs of those properties make significant housing development challenging and affordable housing virtually impossible. Also, Steamboat residents have shown little interest in accepting more density or traffic in their neighborhoods.

Moreover, what “guarantees” are there that infill developments will pay anything for school impacts or fixing U.S. Highway 40 congestion, for which Steamboat 700 is contributing tens of millions of dollars?

With Steamboat 700, the city has land and a perpetual revenue stream to control its destiny on affordable housing.

Being proactive

We know the economy and real estate market have changed. But voters should keep in mind that there have been three recessions in the past 20 years, two of them since the initiation of the West of Steamboat Springs Area Plan in 1995.

The last time the economy bounced back, there was no plan for work force housing, contributing to what the Steamboat Pilot & Today called an “insane run-up in home values.”

Looking forward, today’s third-graders will be 40 years old when Steamboat 700 could be nearing completion. For many, those are our kids and grandkids — and we want them to have the opportunity to live here, if they choose.

The other path is the slow evolution into an elite, “economically gated” community. Instead, let’s choose Steamboat 700 — a phased, long-term housing plan that’s good for Steamboat. Vote yes on Referendum A.

Comments

CedarBeauregard 4 years, 2 months ago

"the high land costs of those properties make significant housing development challenging and affordable housing virtually impossible."

I would counter by saying the high cost of additional infrastructure needed for sprawling development makes affordable housing virtually impossible. One aspect of this that I have yet to see the paper cover is the additional cost to future residents out at SB 700. I just heard recently that each lot will be indebted $80,000.00 to be collected with mills (property tax). SB 700 likes to take credit for fronting these expenditures but they will be shouldered by us the future residents of SB 700.

My question.. What do the developers contribute vs. the future residents of SB 700? When comparing infill costs to sprawling costs these #'s need to be clarified. If these improvements are being paid for by future resedents how can we define it as a public benefit?

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jk 4 years, 2 months ago

Whoever wrote this did a wonderful job of sugar coating this bitter pill.

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lowclasslocal 4 years, 2 months ago

Affordable housing has not been the biggest success. The wildhorse building had such a hard time selling their units as "affordable" that they wanted to put them on the market without deed restrictions. Iron Horse Inn? Speaks for itself. Right now the people that these are "affordable" to are not getting loans either, say what you want to about interest rates, but a first time homebuyer who is living and working in Steamboat will have a hard time getting the money down for one of these. Ask around to landlords in town and there are quite a few properties available, is the market really demanding more homes? Ask realtors. Few people want to drop their prices to what the market will bear right now, that is the problem. I think that homes that were bought at the peak of the market are going to become either bank owned in the next few years, or speculator owned. The homes that could be available to families who are valeable to the community that would like to purchase a home, not a 1000 or less sq/ft condo, are being competed for by a now worldwide and city wide group of either second home purchasers or speculators. The past few years of shark-like lending has made everyone think that anyone can own a home, in reality, maybe that isn't so realistic. So, now everyone thinks that they should own a home, subsidized or not, and the possibility of this is the carrot that 700 is holding out. I am sure people who live and work in the community and live at West Acres are going to be really excited to drive past their old homes and out the big road by the airport to a newer place, farther out. Maybe it will lower their rent. What a sad thing going on in Steamboat right now.

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bubba 4 years, 2 months ago

Cedar, do you really not understand business at all, or are you throwing that comment out there in the hopes that other people who don't get it will vote your way.

The residents of Steamboat 700 will pay for all of the improvements, regardless of whether there is an improvement district with bonds issued as you seem to think is passing the buck, or if the developer just increases the cost of each unit. If there is X million dollars of infrastructure built, the developer can either issue Improvement district bonds to get reimbursed, or increase the selling price to get reimbursed, but they are not in the business of spending money that they will not get back. Since most buyers will be financing their property at the going mortgage rate, which is considerably higher than the going municipal bond rate (at least when markets function properly), it is actually cheaper for the purchaser to pay off those funds via mil levy than if it was part of their purchase price.

And for what it's worth, I believe the pilot ran a story a while back titled '700's property tax rate will be highest in county,' which I believe would be the coverage you are looking for.

Don't get me wrong- I am not advocating a yes (or no) vote, I'm just saying that your post seems either disingenuous or naive.

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CedarBeauregard 4 years, 2 months ago

I can understand your perception of my comment and don't disagree with your statement.

What I was referring to was the fact that it will take all that money to build out at 700 vs. less money to build where existing infrastructure exists. When someone starts talking about how expensive infill property is to buy they need to also look at how expensive sprawling property is build.

That's all. I totally agree with the fact that you pay for new infrastructure costs regardless of how they are charged as you stated above.

I'm not looking for a handout I just want the build-out of our town to be properly prioritized and done in the smartest way.

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aichempty 4 years, 2 months ago

If growth was inevitable, why has it stopped?

There are lots of towns in the west where growth stopped when money ran out. We're probably already at the peak of what tourism can bring in, possibly past the peak in real dollars. Construction and development of luxury homes and second homes put a lot of money into the local economy, but that boom is over. There are plenty of places on the market, and it will be ten years before another boom can occur based on current estimates (that it will take 5 years to replace the jobs lost in the past two years, and then it will take some time to accumulate enough cash to purchase second homes in ski towns).

When "affordable" homes and homesites are not selling in Hayden, you can be pretty sure that working families are not able to afford them. Living in the shadow of Mt. Werner is certainly desirable, but people who have come up by their bootstraps tend to be more realistic than the offspring of trust-funders who just want what they want and don't understand why they cannot have it.

The SB700 developers got caught with a poorly-timed investment. That does not create an obligation for the City of Steamboat Springs and its residents to help them by throwing good money after bad.

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freerider 4 years, 2 months ago

This headline should read " GOOD FOR THE DEVELOPERS " Bad for Steamboat If you didn't live here and buy in the 80's then you missed affordable housing I paid about $68k for my first house here....that's affordable Now the seller's what you to believe that a half million or more is Affordable Affordable for Brad Pitt Or the South Park guys NO SUCH THING AS AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN STEAMBOAT unless you rent a house and split the cost with 5 roommates Long time locals are leaving town I personnally know many builders and tradesmen that have walked away Over 1500 properties on the market here already Many more foreclosures coming on the double dip No new jobs are going to save this 2000 more houses....really Oh yeah it's planned planned to ruin Steamboat SKI CORP has already done enough damage VOTE NO 700

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1999 4 years, 2 months ago

The SB700 developers got caught with a poorly-timed investment. That does not create an obligation for the City of Steamboat Springs and its residents to help them by throwing good money after bad.

that is exactly what happened.

this development has nothing to do with "good for steamboat"

it has everything to do with Good for the developers and good for the realators.

please don't be fooled ....AGAIN!!!

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