Student releases Steamboat growth report

Gooding working on thesis in midst of Steamboat 700 debate



Gates Gooding

— A sampling of area residents ranked “increasing affordable housing” 11th on a list of concerns and values last month, contradicting widespread local debate about that issue and how it relates to the proposed Steamboat 700 annexation.

Steamboat Springs native Gates Gooding, 27, released a preliminary report last week titled “The Impacts of Development: Assessing Growth in Steamboat Springs.” The report measures how four future, growth-related scenarios — no accommodation for new growth, approval of Steamboat 700, county re-zoning, and infill within city limits — would affect four community values ranked highly by about 140 area residents at an event last month at Olympian Hall in Howelsen Lodge. Gooding organized that event to collect data for the report.

The values Gooding correlates to the growth scenarios are preserving community character, open space, ranching and agriculture, and affordability. The first three values are in the top five named by participants last month. Gooding said he included affordability in the study, despite its low ranking, because of the tenor of local debate.

Gooding is a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he is studying urban and environmental planning. The report is part of Gooding’s larger thesis, which assesses local growth scenarios and is scheduled for completion in May.

To produce quantifiable data, Gooding created an equation for each community value and applied those equations to results of each growth scenario.

The growth scenario with the best results for community values is infill within city limits, a policy promoted by the Let’s Vote committee opposing Steamboat 700. City voters will decide the fate of the proposed annexation in a mail-only vote that ends March 9.

Supporters of Steamboat 700 have argued that land values and other factors prevent the development of work force housing within city limits. Annexing Steamboat 700 has the second-best results for community values in Gooding’s study.

Gooding said he intentionally did not interpret the data the study presents.

“A conclusion is conspicuously absent because I don’t want to draw conclusions from this,” Gooding said. “I think it’s up to people to look at this and draw their own conclusions as to what it means.”


Scott Wedel 7 years, 1 month ago

Well, Mr Gooding should be glad I am evaluating his thesis.

Because if community values is the biggest concern then what is meant by "community values"? If community values means maintaining a diverse community where people live close to work to minimize traffic then that could imply that community values and traffic also support affordable housing and should be added to affordable housing which makes that the by far largest issue in SB.

Obviously, that is also not accurate, but if you have a survey that mixes broad issues and specific issues then the meaning of any answer is open to interpretation. It is also troublesome to have specific issues that can be considered part of an included broad issue. Did some pick "community values" because they were worried about both traffic and affordable housing?

Also, demographic diversity could be considered a somewhat loaded term that sounds like it might be advocating affirmative action.

Likewise, after all of the local controversies including buying the Iron Horse Inn, "affordable housing" is also a loaded term locally. If the phrase was "local workers able to work towards owning their own house" then that would probably score far more popular than "affordable housing".

It goes back to the whole issue of doing surveys. What does the surveyor think the questions and answers mean, and how does that compare with what the people taking the survey think the questions meant and what they meant by their answers?


greenwash 7 years, 1 month ago

What does "Community Character "mean?

Remember, This towns Real Estate and Development community about had a heart attack when some were calling for a historic preservation ordinance,to protect our character.Nothing is sacred in this town....If someone wants to demolish a historic structure....There is nothing in place to say they cant.


Steve Lewis 7 years, 1 month ago

A) Vision 2030: "After two years of surveying, polling, researching and meeting, the Vision 2030 report is ready for its final presentation."... "The final report - which has been in the works since the beginning of the year and has been presented to the commissioners and to town boards in Hayden, Oak Creek, Yampa and Steamboat Springs." –Pilot, June 8, 2009

B) Gooding: One night with 140 residents and his thesis based on that night.

Is the Pilot serious?

I searched this website for Vision 2030’s conclusions. Maybe I missed something? June 8, 2009 seems to be the last V2030 article by the Pilot. Was that it? My scrolling of Pilot archives suggests that V2030 is a special interest group - far more exists about V2030 in citizens' letters than in articles by the newspaper.

There was this June 21, 2009 Pilot editorial: “The responses to Vision 2030 surveys weren't much different from the responses 15 years ago to Vision 2020 surveys. It's good to be reminded of our community values, and it's even more important to determine whether we are taking the appropriate actions to achieve our desired outcomes.” “The final report also asks community members to step forward and assemble a Citizens' Stewardship Committee to…hold the community accountable for achieving our desired outcomes. We urge interested residents to take on that role and maintain the momentum gained by the hard-working volunteers who made Vision 2030 a reality.”

The Pilot and its publisher shouldn’t take on that role as well?

Has this publisher even mentioned Vision 2030 in the 8 months since these words?


Tammie Delaney 7 years, 1 month ago

Some info on Vision 2030: After the Vision 2030 report was released in June in a published, 'catalog' format, it was distributed directly to over 15,000 households in Routt County via direct mailings and available in all public venues (town halls, libraries, etc.) for the four municipalities in Routt County.

The report is also available on the web at . As Steve states, it was a two year research project of listening and learning the community values with over 1,600 county residents directly participating in the process.

'Community Character' and what it means is captured in a diagram on page 14 of the report or in the 'Discoveries' section of the report on the web. This boils down to the "unique features, resources, special places and core values that are interconnected, and, if lost, would fundamentally diminish the quality of community and sense of well-being."

Although it doesn't have the controversial angst of many community discussions, Vision 2030 is an informed 'compass' for what we value most ('Desired Outcomes') and the recommended actions to achieve these. Focus group members met in late January to prioritize actions and ideally action groups will embark on ensuring progress is made. (Tammie Delaney, past Vision 2030 Project Manager)


Scott Wedel 7 years, 1 month ago

oops, just reread my comment and first sentence is missing a word - he should be glad that I am NOT evaluating his thesis.

Hopefully the mistake was obvious from the context of the rest of my post.


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