Steamboat Springs residents A.J. Pierson, left, and Alana Ratzell show their opposition to the Steamboat 700 annexation Tuesday in front of the Routt County Courthouse downtown.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Steamboat Springs residents A.J. Pierson, left, and Alana Ratzell show their opposition to the Steamboat 700 annexation Tuesday in front of the Routt County Courthouse downtown.

Steamboat says ‘no’ to 700

City voters reject annexation 61 to 39 percent

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What's next?

Steamboat 700 developer Danny Mulcahy talks about what is next now that voters have chosen not to allow the annexation.

Steamboat 700 developer Danny Mulcahy talks about what is next now that voters have chosen not to allow the annexation.

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Mulcahy addresses supporters

Steamboat 700 developer Danny Mulcahy addresses his supporters after learning voters voted down the annexation.

Steamboat 700 developer Danny Mulcahy addresses his supporters after learning voters voted down the annexation.

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Voting precincts

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How Steamboat voted

— City voters denied the Steam­­boat 700 annexation by a margin of more than 20 percentage points Tuesday, making a strong statement about how and when growth should occur in the community and culminating a resident-led opposition effort that began with a petition drive in the fall.

The vote rejects what would have been the city’s most substantial annexation since the Mount Werner ski resort area was folded into city limits decades ago.

Steamboat Springs residents cast 2,592 ballots against the annexation and 1,661 ballots in favor, a 61 to 39 percent result for the mail-only vote that began in February. The Steamboat 700 annexation lost in each of the city’s eight precincts. The largest margin came in Precinct 13, which includes much of Old Town. Precinct 13 voted 383 against to 179 for the annexation, or 68 to 32 percent.

“I think the voters made a great choice,” said Tim Rowse, spokesman for the Let’s Vote committee, which opposed the annexation. “We have a fabulous community. This vote shows our community cares about its future.”

Total turnout in the election was 4,253 votes, or 64 percent of the 6,640 registered, active city voters at the time of Tuesday’s final count.

The result is a resounding victory for Let’s Vote, which formed in October to circulate petitions for a public vote on Steamboat 700, and then, when that effort was successful, focused on a campaign to oppose the annexation. The group faced a David and Goliath scenario in terms of campaign financing — Steamboat 700 developers spent more than $100,000 through February on the Good For Steamboat campaign, and Let’s Vote spent about one-tenth of that amount, less than $10,000, through February. Let’s Vote was funded primarily by small contributions from local donors.

Danny Mulcahy, Steamboat 700 principal and project manager, said his development team was prepared for a referendum denial. Steamboat 700 paid for the election and supported it throughout.

“We didn’t come into this naïve,” he said. “We always knew this (result) was a possibility.”

The city’s “no” vote came three years after Mulcahy and Steamboat 700 LLC closed on the $25 million purchase of 540 acres of land owned by Steve Brown and Mary Brown, just west of current city limits, and put an adjoining 170 acres under contract.

The voters’ decision overturns the Steamboat Springs City Council’s approval of the Steamboat 700 annexation Oct. 13. Loui Antonucci was president of that council and expressed his disappointment Tuesday night.

“Fifteen years of community planning was undermined by a sentiment of fear,” Antonucci said, referring to the public process to create the West of Steamboat Springs Area Plan, which began in the mid-90s and identified the future Steamboat 700 site as a location for growth.

Whether Steamboat 700 and its annexation agreement with the city met the goals of the WSSAP was at the heart of debate leading up to the vote. During the campaign, members of the Steamboat 700 team, including attorney Bob Weiss and consultant Chad James, accused the Let’s Vote group of “fear-mongering” in its advertising and public statements, which questioned the annexation’s potential costs, risks and drain on local resources, among other issues. Rowse flatly denied the fear-mongering claim.

“They are entitled to their feelings,” Rowse said about Good For Steamboat earlier this week. “That has not been the case.”

Rowse said throughout the Let’s Vote campaign that the committee was seeking to “point out the gaps” in Steam­boat 700’s annexation agreement.

Antonucci said the economic recession likely played a role in the vote.

“In this economic environment, it makes people more afraid and less open to change,” he said. “A lot of economic factors played into this.”

Plan B’s

Mulcahy said earlier Tuesday that his development team was not sure of its next step after a denial.

“There are multiple Plan B’s, and I haven’t finalized any of them,” Mulcahy said. “Unfortunately, there’s not a Plan B of approaching the city with another annexation.”

Members of the Let’s Vote committee, opposing the annexation, said throughout their campaign that the city could renegotiate with developers for a better annexation agreement. Mulcahy, Weiss and members of the Good For Steamboat committee maintained throughout, however, that renegotiation was not an option.

Steamboat 700 put significant funds into the annexation up front, for everything from traffic and environmental studies to legal fees related to creating the annexation agreement, and the cost of the election.

Mulcahy emphasized those efforts Tuesday.

“Cost is a small part of it, but after 300 hours of public meetings, meeting all the requirements of the West of Steamboat Springs Area Plan … there’s nothing that would give any certainty or any likelihood that going through this would result in a different outcome,” Mulcahy said. “Why would there be a different outcome in another three years?

“What will happen is the county will be in a position to really look at how they will manage growth because obviously the city will have shut their borders to growth.”

Tom Leeson, the city’s director of planning and community development, said Monday that a Steamboat 700 denial would cause the city to re-examine its growth policies, as well.

Mary Alice Page-Allen, asset and program manager for the Yampa Valley Housing Auth­ority, said the vote is a setback for the YVHA, which supported the annexation and now will look toward other sources of land and funding to provide local affordable housing.

“You always have to be nimble and change and be ready for opportunities,” she said.

Mulcahy said the Steamboat 700 development team would “be fine” financially if the annexation failed.

“What we have doesn’t go to zero,” Mulcahy said, referring to the land’s value and other options for development as part of Routt County. “We have very little debt on this property, so that gives us lots of options. … We’re prudent businesspeople. Everything about it still makes sense today. We’re not overly concerned on a monetary standpoint.”

He expressed regret, though, that the proposal did not win the support of the community.

“The fact is, we came here to contribute to the place that Steamboat is,” Mulcahy said. “The annexation agreement is the best way to accomplish that. But there are other options at the end of the day.”

Steamboat 700 timeline

■ March 19, 2007

Steamboat 700 LLC, led by principal and project manager Danny Mulcahy, closes on the $25 million purchase of 540 acres of land owned by Steve Brown and Mary Brown, just west of current city limits. Adjoining 170-acre plot of land put under contract. The land is within the boundaries of the city’s West of Steamboat Springs Area Plan and has been identified by city staff as a site for future growth.

■ July 26, 2007

Steamboat 700 LLC hosts an open house to gather public input on preliminary designs and planning for the Steamboat 700 property. More than 170 people attend the event at Olympian Hall in Howelsen Hill Lodge.

■ Nov. 20, 2007

Steamboat 700 developers submit to the city Planning and Community Development Department their most detailed vision to date for the 700 acres. The plan foresees between 1,837 and 2,243 residential units with as many as 448 of them being deed-restricted community housing units.

■ Jan. 15, 2008

The first major public presentation of the Steamboat 700 development drew mostly enthusiasm from a packed Centennial Hall audience during a joint gathering of Steamboat Springs’ City Council and Planning Commission. The city’s main goal was to discuss the process by which the annexation request and proposed development would be reviewed.

■ April 16, 2008

The Steamboat Springs School District asks developers of Steamboat 700 to provide 14 acres for a new elementary school — and cover half the cost of building it.

■ May 30, 2008

Local officials tour the former Stapleton International Airport in Denver, which has employed new urban design principles that Steamboat officials hope to see implemented in Steamboat 700.

■ Aug. 13, 2008

Steamboat 700 developers tell city planners they intend to move forward with pared-down development and annexation proposals after their application to extend the urban growth boundary by 185 acres was denied Aug. 12, 2008.

■ March 3, 2009

City Council votes unanimously not to require the developers of Steamboat 700 to bring water rights or large-format retail to the table as a condition of annexation. Instead of water rights, Steamboat 700 is asked to pay for improvements to put the city’s existing water rights to use.

■ Aug. 13, 2009

Developers and the school district agree on a 0.5 percent real estate transfer fee to help pay for new schools.

■ Sept. 29, 2009

Routt County Board of Commissioners votes, 2-1, to send a letter in support of Steamboat 700 to the city. Later that day, City Council gives preliminary consideration to a collection of ordinances and resolutions annexing Steamboat 700.

■ Oct. 13, 2009

City Council votes, 4-3, to approve the annexation of Steamboat 700, a project ultimately expected to bring about 2,000 homes, 380,000 square feet of commercial space and 4,700 residents to the western edge of the city.

■ Oct. 20, 2009

Steamboat Springs residents Omar Campbell, Greg Rawlings, Terry Armstrong, Tim Rowse and Cindy Constantine form a committee known as Let’s Vote to lead a petition drive to send the Steamboat 700 annexation to a public vote. The group begins collecting the 829 signatures needed to put the issue to a vote.

■ Nov. 17, 2009

City Manager Jon Roberts confirms there are more than enough verified petition signatures to put Steamboat 700 to a public vote. Constantine says Let’s Vote collected about 1,500 signatures.

■ Dec. 15, 2009

City Council unanimously approves a public vote on Steamboat 700 and schedules a mail-only referendum election to conclude March 9, 2010. Earlier in the week, Let’s Vote submits questions to City Council about Steamboat 700’s impacts on city funds, traffic, water supply and more.

■ Dec. 22, 2009

Good For Steamboat, Let’s Vote campaigns formalize efforts for and against Steamboat 700, respectively. Around this time, the groups file as campaign committees with City Clerk Julie Franklin.

■ Jan. 14, 2010

Steamboat 700 opponents, advocates debate the impacts on the housing market in a meeting hosted by the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association. Public debate intensifies through January and February.

■ Feb. 18, 2010

As ballots are mailed to city voters, residents pack Olympian Hall for a public forum that focuses on a variety of Steamboat 700 issues.

■ March 9, 2010

Tally is in: City voters reject the Steamboat 700 annexation.

Comments

Paul Hughes 4 years, 6 months ago

Okay, all you "pull up the drawbridge" people, the ball is now in your court. We can expect, within 6 months, a detailed plan for affordable housing, traffic mitigation, schools, infrastructure, etc. Right?

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best4steamboat 4 years, 6 months ago

This goes to show that half-truths, big promises and special interest groups, as well as a slanted and biased local newspaper, are not going to succeed in our town which has a great sense of community and high intelligence level.

What a great day for those of us who really love and care about the town that is Steamboat Springs.

Common sense prevailed!

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CedarBeauregard 4 years, 6 months ago

Thank you Steamboat for giving clear direction. My worst fear was a close vote leaving us all in limbo.

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crimble 4 years, 6 months ago

Don't Jersey Steamboat!

We did it!

I am so proud of our "little" city, we stopped the half truths and "everything is gonna work out, ya just gotta see the big picture" wolves in sheep's clothing. Good job everyone who voted no!

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toboyle105 4 years, 6 months ago

If these clowns had had any sense, they would have built first to prove themselves and asked later thus generating goodwill. Obviously they were just scheming for short term financial gain. The old pump and dump.

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Jon Quinn 4 years, 6 months ago

I know many good men and women on both sides of this issue who truly love this community. This was never a battle of good vs. evil. We simply differ on the best way to maintain the community character of this place we call home.

To all of you who took the time to participate and contribute along the way, thank you. The vote is done, and thank goodness it is behind us. I for one am relieved that the wedge which has been driving us apart has been removed.

Now I truly hope that we can take the opportunity to regroup as a community. We have a wonderful celebration coming up April 2 to honor our Olympians. We should honor the incredible achievements of our athletes on the largest stage in the world, and we should honor the community spirit which nourished them and gave them strength along the way.

Steamboat is a special place. It was Eden when I woke up this morning and it still will be tomorrow. And for what it's worth, in my opinion, that would have been true no matter what the outcome had been tonight.

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Zac Brennan 4 years, 6 months ago

Well said, Jon. Let's party! Its time to welcome back the Olympians and celebrate their tangible success.

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John Fielding 4 years, 6 months ago

I got the news late, I was at the "Exploring the Sacred" Overcoming Divisiveness discussion. That is exactly what our community needs do do now.

There was really only one reason to vote for it, a big one, it was a plan for growth generally in keeping with the WSSAP.

There were a lot of reasons given to vote against it, each of which focused on a part of the plan. Among these were: it's too big, bad timing, not enough affordable housing, traffic issues, not close enough to the WSSAP, the WSSAP needs revision, water issues, and many more.

There will never be a plan for growth that satisfies everyone, but if each of these concerns is adderssed, and some compromise reached on most of them, we will probably find it supported bu most of the community.

It would serve us well if our Council began that process promptly, to stand in the lead for pulling us together, to have all our concerns clearly outlined and on the table.

But they will need our help. All those who have been most active in expressing these issues should continue their effort so the next proposal can be successful.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 6 months ago

I guess this result suggests that spending tens of thousands on consultants and restaurants is not the way to win an election. I actually got a call Sunday night in which I answered with my name and the person was so clueless to ask "Can we count on your vote for SB 700?". Apparently, being a vocal opponent didn't suggest to them that I might be opposed to it.

I do not agree with Tom Leeson that this should cause SB to reexamine it's growth policies. The WSSAP was cited by both sides. The debate was whether SB 700 met or failed to satisfy the WSSAP and not whether the WSSAP was a good plan.

I think SB 700 would have far less opposition for a phased annexation that has the same promises and plans. The massive difference between phased and all at once is that if the reality does not match the promises then the developer cannot fall back onto the existing legal language of the annexation, but would have to come back to get the next phase annexed which the City could then adjust to better meet the promises.

Just as long as the phasing has phases of not more than 5 years of development then I think they'll have no problems getting that approved.

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John Fielding 4 years, 6 months ago

I agree with Scott on this one. And I for one hope that a smaller request still have the same overall master plan and the first phase include at least part of the new commercial center.

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Steve Lewis 4 years, 6 months ago

I also agree with Scott. The plans are still valid. We should just add one more paragraph: Annex much less at one time.

The City asked Danny to come forward with less. He went for the whole enchilada. A gamble that didn't work out.

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Steve Lewis 4 years, 6 months ago

Obviously Danny's favorite "Plan B" will be switching to 5 acre parcels in the County. Yes, a new "trophy home" TDR regulation the county commissioners are looking into. It will be at the County Planning Commission on April 1, and voted on by the Commissioners on April 24 or so.

I guess you can try to do it in 3 years, the City's way. Unfortunately that way you have to risk a vote of the people. But hey, if that falls thru you can get it done in 6 weeks by the BCCC.

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Bergie13 4 years, 6 months ago

The people have spoken, I totally respect that. I just hope that we can see real solutions come to the table and that in a couple years we don't feel like we missed an opportunity. I also hope int he upcoming votes that more people in the county have a voice. You have to wonder what the outcome would have been if folks from Stagecoach and Hayden would have had a say......

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housepoor 4 years, 6 months ago

danny, the bcc is open to 5ac parcels get in there while the fire is hot

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Fred Duckels 4 years, 6 months ago

Steve, In order to make huge commitments Danny needs more than one piece of the pie. This reinforces my often comment that we are a town of small thinkers. 700 came at our invitation and worked to please all, in return we kicked them in the teeth.We have looked this gift horse in the mouth and we may well never get a deal like this again. I'm sure that developers can find greener pastures. We are back to all the unadressed problems of the past with small thinkers at the wheel.

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TWill 4 years, 6 months ago

I'm not so sure this was a gift horse from Vegas or about those greener pastures either, Fred.

Danny will be back in the news in no time, just wait and see.

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challange1 4 years, 6 months ago

Well I am going to speak for the people that do not live in Steamboat and did not have a say in the SB700 vote. Could we please have some thing else to read about in the paper now!?!?! Thank you!!

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jmetz 4 years, 6 months ago

They tried bringing out the big guns and it didn't work, former city council members, members of the community that believe they are far more better and powerful than the true locals that live here. This whole project was a short fix for the construction area and a big headache 15 years down the road. Why do I still see dirt on the walkway where Cook bought up everything removed the park and said this is the start of affordable housing yet affordable to Cook is 100,000 dollars. Sorry to Louie, Kathy, Ken and all you supporters of this it's good to see Steamboat residents stand up and say enough is enough.

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StarTrek_Shakespeare 4 years, 6 months ago

Alright Steamboat, we opposed the 700, but guess what? Change happens, we have a touron economy, and we have to get to the books and strategize smart growth. 40 is already backed up & public transportation, while great for townies, cannot get you to Craig and back. Affordable housing is nonexistent, displacing the workforce to outlying communities with depressed economies aka the Aspen Effect. Please, enlighten me... How can you get to work if you're paid service sector wages, live 45 minutes away, and do not have the means to transport yourself from point A to point B?

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aichempty 4 years, 6 months ago

The photo with this article is interesting. Look at all the crap and crowding in the background between town and Mt. Werner, and give thanks that it's not going to look like that on the west side of town.

Growth is not inevitable. If it was, we'd be seeing it even now. With surplus homes on the market and vacant building lots all over the county outside of the city limits, if growth was going to happen, those conditions would not exist.

The foreclosure epidemic is not getting better. It's getting worse all over the country. It will be several years before they stop, and then more years for recovery. All that lost money will translate into fewer dollars spent on ski vacations, so stand by. We haven't seen the worst to come.

Doesn't it make sense that a large part of the cost of a lift ticket goes into Ski Corp's parent company servicing debt? If that money dries up, how will Ski Corp continue to operate? Is it possible we could see the liquidation of Ski Corp before this is all over?

Everybody who would pay 10 cents on the dollar for a ski resort, please raise your hand. (What? Nobody?) Ever heard of a world class resort called Sarajevo? They held the Winter Olympics there, didn't they? And where is it today?

Sales tax numbers don't lie. Business is down, and it's getting worse. People are spending less. Tuesday's vote is a reflection of how people really feel about our future. This was just not the time to start a project of this sort, because it would never succeed without outside dollars, and they have dried up.

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Bergie13 4 years, 6 months ago

Jeez @aichempty, are you really comparing us to Slovenia?! I'm glad the majority of our community doesn't share your unbridled pessimism.

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John Fielding 4 years, 6 months ago

Yeah, they had a civil war there, that,s got to have some impact.

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matthartman 4 years, 6 months ago

sarajevo is in bosnia. the world is much bigger than the yampa valley too. this issue echoes that as well. simple supply and demand. tourism dollars are what makes steamboat turn, not cheap development. the housing "crisis" in steamboat will fix itself as well, they will be more affordable when people start asking what for what there homes are worth, not what they paid for them plus 50-100 grand. if you flood a market, prices go down and this market is in full ebb. people in steamboat are smart enough not to devalue there own property even more. this has little to do with fear and more with prudence. it is time to save, not spend. democracy in action and time will tell. when the time is right developers will come back. that is what they do.

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mmjPatient22 4 years, 6 months ago

aich-

I think it's hilarious that you feel compelled to comment on an issue who's 'hatchet has already been buried.' You seem to have no problem finding the time to make a stink about something that's been settled by the voters. Everything seems to be pointing towards you being the world's greatest person in your own mind. And speaking of finding the time, my armada of rebuttals on the pot-boards is getting lonely. I guess it's more important for you to rain down your pessimism here.

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Matthew Stoddard 4 years, 6 months ago

mmj- LOL! Get'im!!

challenge1- I live in the county...right next door to the 700. Don't speak for me, please. I don't share your view. I'm sure others don't, also. Unfortunately, just like you, we didn't get to vote, either.

Aich- Growth has been happening, but unfortunately, most of the places to grow within Steamboat are purchased as 2nd homes. It's a resort town. Were you one of the people complaining in good times about how out-of-country H2B/J2 workers were "taking jobs from locals" and now...you're happy about not having a neighborhood go up where local families can live and maybe work those jobs instead when times get better? Makes as much sense as one of the signs being held up in the picture. Could have sworn NIMBY wasn't spelled with an "aich."

Oh well: it's not like those who got to vote are the ones always experiencing the traffic at "the Bottleneck" (not the old liquor store).

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mmjPatient22 4 years, 6 months ago

And forgive the grammatical horror of using "who's" instead of "whose."

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John Fielding 4 years, 6 months ago

Windel,

Don't think what can't happen here, the religious civil wars?

It's true we live in paradise, but that is because we built it. We took what nature provided and by hard work and dedication to improvement we developed it into a place where we can thrive.

We did it as a community and as individuals. We did it for personal gain and to secure the blessings of liberty for our posterity. We will not let it be undone.

Everything was developed, our homes, roads, schools, water resources, recreation areas. Other than in the wilderness areas the hand of man is omnipresent. For the most part, it is a good thing, as long as we remember to replenish the earth.

Some might think paradise is a place where no development exists. If so it's a nice place to visit but you wouldn't want to live there.

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aichempty 4 years, 6 months ago

Kielbasa,

No, I'm not happy about it. The problem is that even if SB700 had "gone up," it would have been far too expensive for people living on local wages unless, like you and me, they already owned a house they could sell to "move up" to SB700. That was the fallacy of the whole idea from the beginning when the "affordable" promises were made. That was ALL BULL$#I+ and shame on you for not figuring it out for yourself. You're a smart guy. The promise was always an EMPTY promise.

Bergie and the rest of you who missed the point;

I'd refer you to Silver City, Nevada, where the veins of silver ran out and then, so did the people, and the businesses.

Wanna see what Steamboat looks like without a ski hill? Maybe, Hayden, Craig, Walden, Oak Creek and Yampa? At least Phippsburg has the railroad to provide some jobs.

In other parts of the country, the breakout of peace when the Berlin Wall came down caused tens of thousands of high-paying defense jobs to be lost. There are towns outside of military bases where half the homes went into foreclosure, and some sat empty for years because there was nobody to rent them.

People who take ski vacations are mostly not people who spend the vacation money first, and hope they've got enough for everything else. We live on the marginal, disposable income tourists bring to town.

If the economy continues to tank, and ski resort prices continue to rise, what do you think will happen? Fewer people will visit, less money will come to town, jobs will be lost and homes will be lost when the occupants can't pay the mortgage or the rent.

Ski Corp's parent company is having trouble paying its debts. Are they going to cut lift ticket prices and lodging prices to attract more business, or is that even possible? Is there enough demand for ski vacations to see us through?

The vote on SB700 didn't change the economy, but it did take the City off the hook financially, and that's a big deal. If we were sitting here two or three years from now with an obligation to spend $34.5 million and the City budget was shrinking due to loss of sales tax revenues, things could be a lot worse than they are now.

Next time we get a chance to vote for City Council and County Commission candidates, we'd all better choose the people who know how to go lean and mean until the recovery happens. Affordable housing won't be the issue. Having money to pay for ANY housing, affordable or not, is going to be a lot more on people's minds for the next few years.

My fear is that we'll see empty houses all over the place because owners will have lost them through foreclosure, and nobody will be able to buy them because jobs have disappeared in the poor economy.

What about you, Matthew? Is your business up? Tell us how you think things are going to turn out.

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pitpoodle 4 years, 6 months ago

Well, I see the newspaper doesn't want to hear that this vote was also a no vote on the Steamboat Pilot, city council and city staff. How sad.

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Brent Boyer 4 years, 6 months ago

pitpoodle: You actually posted your initial comment on this story, and it's still there:

Thanks, Brent

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Matthew Stoddard 4 years, 6 months ago

Aich- business isn't up exactly, but we've had a better winter than I expected considering the lack of total snowfall. Good thing is, after skiing this last weekend, it was some of the best snow all season. Not as good as 2 weeks ago or so, but still great. We're also close to full occupancy this week, so things aren't that terrible. These are just my observations- I'm not a company spokeperson.

I think the economy and the low total seasonal snowfall coincided at just the right time. It's been almost 30yrs since we've had this type of snowfall year (last I remember, right before implementing the snowmaking) so I'm hopeful for a better (meaning earlier) snowfall next winter. By then, I'm betting the economy will be doing slightly better than now. The market has been doing better in the last 6 months.

As for 700 being for people moving upward? Great! That's what we did in Silver Spur when it was still the right price for lots at the beginning. What you then say also should help dispel fears about "2000 more homes worth of people all coming at once!!!" It might not happen that way- it might be people in town selling and maybe spending less to move there...making their profit on the difference. Doesn't mean it will, but it happened out in Silver Spur. A lot of this neighborhood is filled with people who have lived in Steamboat prior to it's development.

Pitpoodle- if you also click on your Name, it will take you to where you can see all your own posts, should you ever lose track of them. Definitely helps when in a long, drawn out debate.

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aichempty 4 years, 6 months ago

Kielbasa,

I frequently get out to different parts of the country, and the situation out there is that people are staying put because their inflated housing values have fallen just like their stock portfolios did. The stocks have recovered a high percentage of the lost value (notice how you're not seeing those stories on TV anymore about the retirees who "lost everything" in the crash?). They think it will happen for homes, too.

The problem is that stocks and home prices are driven by two different factors, and the easy credit days are gone for our lifetimes.

Housing prices are not coming back anytime soon. People who could have sold a house in Atlanta or Dallas or DC and retired in Steamboat two years ago don't have that choice today.

The best we're going to do around here is stay "flat" on home prices. People won't leave until they're forced to do so by the bank or the landlord. Taking your profit and running is a thing of the past.

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mmjPatient22 4 years, 6 months ago

Mr. Pessimism,

So the cat's got your tongue about marijuana but you've got plenty of glum and gloom to spread around about the national housing crisis? Maybe if the taxpayers weren't funding stoner-chasing they could afford a few more things like ski vacations...and houses. Maybe if the tax-payers would stand up to their government and demand the reversal of ridiculously racist and antiquated drug policy(ies), then maybe Wal-mart would be able to keep cancer patients employed(ya know...to pay for cancer and houses and stuff). But the way things are now, they get fired. Even if they've been employee of the year. It's a real shame that talent like that has to be wasted on racism and ignorance.

http://www.wzzm13.com/news/news_story.aspx?storyid=119421&catid=14

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John Fielding 4 years, 6 months ago

mmj,

I read a few hundred items in the long running discussion at "Pot ordinance goes too far", enough to get the idea. I am not surprised aichempty finally decided to move on. It would be nice if you did not chase him over here, this is a different discussion.

A reasonable observer would acknowledge each of you have valid points. We ought not to have pot be such a crime but we ought not to encourage its general use. Enough said.

It is clear to anyone neither of you two will persuade the other of anything. If you choose to persist in the attempt it ought to be in that forum, not here.

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aichempty 4 years, 6 months ago

John,

You are pretty much correct.

mmj,

Today's Pilot has an article on building permits submitted so far this year. Not even ONE single family residence so far; just a couple of expensive remodels of existing homes.

I can only surmise that our school systems have failed miserably to prepare local kids for the realities of life; they don't seem to be able to deal with realistic expectations based on knowledge and sophistication (knowledge of the way stuff really is) gained by growing up in a resort town. I guess the prosperous years fooled everybody.

Some people learn, grow, plan ahead and deal with life realistically, based on honest appraisals of the facts. Others take a risk, basically drive a stake into the ground, hold on for dear life, and hope for the best. I am proud to report that I've tried it both ways, and the second one led to disaster. It turns out that working hard, being honest and trying to build relationships with customers up here just doesn't pay off. It's all about what it costs to get set up, and how much you can make after you've done it, and whether the math works out to be plus or minus in the bank account at the end of the year. Local folks don't care much for quality and value; only what it costs to get through the next couple of weeks. That's all most of them can afford.

I was selected, along with about 1000 other kids, to attend college, and then later graduate school, on the taxpayer's dollar in return for about twelve years of my life in all. The purpose of all that was to grow employees who could study problems, analyze facts, predict the future and figure out how to deal with it. You wanna know the funny part? Nobody ever likes to hear the predictions they don't agree with. Right now, I'm in the position of having predicted something three years ago that's coming true today, after my employer spent millions over the past three years trying to prove I was wrong. So, I'm accustomed to people having a beef with what I tell them in good faith, and being right in the end, and then being hated for being right in the first place. It's all part of the job.

When I posted that things would be "flat" I didn't know that Tom Ross' story about the building permits would be published today. I didn't know anything about it. I just posted my opinion based on what I have seen, and how I think it will turn out.

Our society has certain people in tenured positions (not just college professors and teachers) because otherwise, the politicians would fire them every time they told "an inconvenient truth." Unfortunately, that's also how some of the real bull$#i+ stuff gets out. Every time something goes right, our government takes credit. It also turns out that every time something goes wrong, our government was warned about it in advance by people who were not listened to.

(cont.)

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aichempty 4 years, 6 months ago

A lot of people who are living paycheck-to-paycheck are going to be out on the street before it's all over. The tipping point has been hit and passed. Our economy is a pyramid, trickle-down system, and unfortunately, the foundations are crumbling under us. The President's stimulus package has failed because small business cannot create jobs when there's no money to pay for goods and services. It's too late for that to work. We're trying to bail out a ship that already sank.

Unless this country cuts the fat, starts producing enough energy domestically to support us, and recaptures the ability to manufacture the stuff we buy, it's only going to get worse. Have you noticed that gas prices are up even though the economy is still down? That's because of a de-valued dollar. The exchange rate is now making foreign goods more expensive. None of this is good news for the resort industry. Some people will keep their jobs, and I doubt that ski resorts like Steamboat would close, but they could be liquidated and run more economically without having to service the debt on over-built real estate investments (hotels and condos).

One of my colleagues told me recently that, "If you think things are bad for people in the suburbs, think about the people in the 'hood. It's getting rough out there." He's in a position to know. People are robbing their neighbors, and eventually it will spread out to the suburbs, because people with no income are not going to have a choice. I think we're still safe "up here" because of many factors, just so long as the goods and services continue to flow in from Grand Junction and Denver.

Look at what happened in Haiti and Chile recently. Disrupt the supply chain and looting occurs within minutes. People who don't know where their next meal is coming from run out to get it before everything disappears.

Hopefully, we will go through a period of peaceful economic contraction and shift our priorities to domestic jobs, manufacturing and energy. Everybody is going to have to work, save, and live more modestly to get through this. Think of it as credit counseling on a nation-wide basis.

In the process, homes are going to be lost, foreclosed, sold for pennies on the dollar (maybe even for back taxes) and that will lower the financial volume enough that life can get back to normal for working people. Oh, for the 50s! Will we ever see those days again?

We'd better.

Read up on the mansions in Newport, Rhode Island, how the owners lived "back in the day," and how things are now. Steamboat would do well to end up like Newport in the end; a nice, small town where people go to get away from the city for a while. It just has to be affordable, and I think we're getting there, like it or not.

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John Fielding 4 years, 6 months ago

aichempty,

Perhaps a more suitable nom de plume would be Cassandra.

That was a thoughtful analysis, and less dramatically negative that some of your recent postings although the essence was similar. You are probably quite close in your analysis, although the forecast based on it may be affected by factors not clearly evident at this point.

First let me say that you are absolutely right in that we must focus on domestic energy production, above all else, especially in the form of the renewable and / or highly efficient technologies we've been keeping at the fringe these past few decades.

My pet suggestion is for the electric utilities to promote co-generation by providing and maintaining then so thousands of single family residence size (and larger) heater / generators, one in every home and business. In the north country this could be very effective.

The factors that may help pull us out faster than just our wealth of resources, both material and human, are what one might call social / spiritual. For all our apparent fragmentation and divisiveness, (especially evident in forums like this one), there is a latent unity in the people of this nation which when engaged can have near miraculous effects.

It takes something like a war to get it energized, (remember the (9-11 patriotic resurgence), and when such forces are unleashed small things like personal liberty often are swept aside as being counterproductive, with the promise such suspensions will be lifted after the crisis has passed.

Perhaps a target for this war will be big bankers, perhaps usury in general. A war must have an enemy in sight, and fat cats, who took as yet uncounted billions from the housing economy as their bonuses, may have plied a bigger factor in our current mess than borrowers in over their heads.

Perhaps a new national bank will emerge, lending directly to home buyers at something like the prime plus a non profit processing fee. A 2 or 3 percent mortgage rate would boost the economy unbelievably, except for those who took huge salaries for handling money.

But you would have to get past a lot of powerful interest groups to make that happen, and the socialist implications would weaken support from many.

In the meantime it will begin at the local level. People are opening up to help their neighbors. My own family has received cash gifts from virtual strangers, prompted by the Spirit of that higher power. The same explanation was given by the woman who placed the ad in the freebies yesterday, offering $20 gifts to the first two callers, no strings, no questions.

Acts of this type create a momentum, as do acts of divisiveness and violence. I have no doubt as to which of those directions this nation will ultimately move in.

It is my fervent prayer we do so soon.

Thank you to those beautiful spirits who have helped my family and many, many others. May your lives continue to be blessed. Amen.

John Fielding

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John Fielding 4 years, 6 months ago

PS Aich, if you do not address your contributions to mmj perhaps he will disengage from the bitter exchanges, a small step in the right direction. The posting certainly had more general than specific appeal. And thank you for your eloquent enunciation of some of the unpleasant facts we need to face.

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mmjPatient22 4 years, 6 months ago

Sounds to me like the prohibitionists don't have anything left. I wouldn't want to debate the war on drugs with me either.

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TWill 4 years, 6 months ago

This is a grown-up conversation, mmj. Go out back with your buddies, smoke a doobie and debate the war on drugs with them.

I hate to break it to you, but there are more important issues than how convenient it is for you to get high.

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robert nestora 4 years, 6 months ago

my wife and i spend about 5 months a year in steamboat a town we have come to love. when friends ask us why we love it, you'd migh think we'd say the fishing, hiking or numerous other great features of the area but our reply is the people. it was great to see the community take this situation and let their voices be heard, whichever way it went its great to see the voice of the people heard. not to be personal but i have had a bone to pick with lou antonnucci who seemed to forget that we have a representative government which means he was elected to represent the positions of the people. he seemed so arrogant to think he knew better what is best for the people, thinking they are stupid and he knows whats best. i always felt that as real estate professional who may prosper from his vote he should have abstained from voting. the good news there is a place he can move where arrogance to the electorate is more in line with his thinking, a place back east on the banks of the potomac, bon voyage.

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mmjPatient22 4 years, 6 months ago

Twill, John, and aich-

I guess the truth hurts a little too much sometimes, huh?

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aichempty 4 years, 6 months ago

mmj,

Here's the thing. I checked my eidetic memory this morning, and in the past month, the only time I've spent thinking about marijuana in any shape, form or fashion has been when writing to you. Like right now.

So, when I've got something else to say to you about it, I'll write my answer on one of the other threads.

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mmjPatient22 4 years, 6 months ago

aich-

Thanks for the good laugh. Your icon is hilarious! Is it home-made?

And the reason that you've got nothing left to say to me is because you don't want to embarrass yourself any further than you already have. It's understandable. I'd shut up too.

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John Fielding 4 years, 6 months ago

OK he got the last word, maybe that's enough, at least for this location.

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mmjPatient22 4 years, 6 months ago

No, actually my real last word got deleted because someone's itty bitty feel-bads got all hurt.

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toboyle105 4 years, 6 months ago

Hey Ai, if ski corp goes down the tubes there will be plenty of affordable housing. As we New Englanders like to say, it will be wicked cheap to live here.

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Scott Ford 4 years, 6 months ago

Hi Studionsl -

I am glad to see some of our part-time residents join in the discussion. I am glad you have let this place and its people wrap round your heart. This wonderful place is your home as well and I am glad you feel that way.

I do not want to be misunderstood and I am not charter member of the "be nice" patrol on the blogs but what you said a few things about Loui Antonnucci that are a wee-bit bit harsh and unnecessary. Loui was a good councilperson. For those of us who have dealing with City Council we all know that it is a reasonably thankless job - and the commitment of time is a sacrifice few folks are willing to make. I am appreciative and thankful for those that are willing to serve this community in this way. To infer Loui had any motivation beyond what he felt was in this community's best interest is in poor taste. I know Loui will enough to assure you that he approached his role on City Council from a perspective of service and stewardship. Although I did not always agree with Loui, he did his best with integrity.

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pitpoodle 4 years, 6 months ago

Oh come on scott. loui always voted his own pocket book. The truth is not ever in poor taste.

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Karen_Dixon 4 years, 6 months ago

studio & pit Your comments about Loui are slanderous and uncalled for. Public servants open themselves up as prime targets for such slander, unfortunately, but there is still no excuse for it. You should be ashamed. And just for the record, you should not be able to hide behind your blog names for such accusations. studionsl = Robert Nestora pitpoodle = Loretta Van Norstrand

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pitpoodle 4 years, 6 months ago

I've got problem with that. I stand by my comments. It['s common knowledge anyway.

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pitpoodle 4 years, 6 months ago

oops. I got no problem I meant to say. Slanderous? They are his votes.

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TWill 4 years, 6 months ago

Ouch! Why does Karen Dixon have access to peoples' names? And why Karen, would you expose these individuals.

Louie held a public office. Such criticism as part of the job, there is no slander. He wasn't called out on anything but his voting record.

Karen, your response was uncalled for.

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John Fielding 4 years, 6 months ago

So the truth is never in poor taste?

I maintain it is often harmful to force the truth to be exposed. Much of positive human social interaction depends on mutually accepted concealment of facts that would cause reactions from embarrassment to violence if that consideration was not respected.

it does not mean that the facts are not known, nor denied, only that they need not be presented in a manner calculated to be destructive.

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robert nestora 4 years, 6 months ago

karen, your comment on being anonymous is how many residents feel they are treated by their elected officials, personally i dont mind you outting me your purpose i dont understand but your positions i disagree with. you must be disappointed that the voters disagreed with your position maybe hence the reason to name names, whatever. when i signed up to comment i checked the psuedo box thinking it different i have since figured out how to correct it not as easy as i thought it would be but done. as to reply to scott you are probably a longer resident here than me and i appreciate your sentiment and support for lou, i was only referring to his position on 700. i objected to his not re cussing himself because of what can be seen as a conflict of interest, even the hint of it, even if unfounded to me is reason enough.

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John Fielding 4 years, 6 months ago

Our city council are not professional politicians, (thank goodness) each of them must support themselves in their day jobs.

In a project as extensive as the 700 proposal, as in many much smaller undertakings which must come before the council for approvals, there is a potential economic benefit to many businesses and individuals in the community.

The fact that a project may create opportunity for realtors, (or attorneys or surveyors or architects), does not create an automatic conflict of interest for council members who also earn their daily bread at these endeavors. Any such business is more likely to go to their competitors, as each is only one among the many who will compete to serve the need.

There are surely also many instances of council voting in favor of proposals that would create added burdens on their own professional prospects as well as those of their fellows. The support is forthcoming because it promotes the general welfare, with which responsibility they are charged.

There are very few trades or professions that would not benefit directly or otherwise from a project like the 700. Does that mean there are that few individuals who would be qualified to consider it on the communities behalf?

If the statement "he voted his pocketbook" is valid it is because what is good for his pocketbook is just as good for those of his constituents. And there can be no doubt that those who vote for him expect him to regard maintaining their economic well being as critical to securing the blessings of liberty.

Thank you to all who choose to serve our community thus.

.

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John Fielding 4 years, 6 months ago

.

But the glass need never be empty if there are those who are willing to replenish it.

.

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rexrox77 4 years, 5 months ago

WAY TO GO 'BOAT PEOPLE!!!!, WE STRUCK A BLOW FOR FREEDOM!!, A PETITION DRIVE IN STEAMBOAT ACTUALLY WORKED AND WAS NOT SQUASHED BY CORRUPTION AS IN THE PAST!

STEAMBOAT 700 IS NOTHING BUT MORE SCUMMY DEVELOPER GREED, WHO IS GOING TO BUY 2000 NEW HOMES WHEN WE CAN'T SELL THE ONES WE HAVE?

DEVELOPERS GO SOUTH, TO ARIZONA, ITS 100% REPUBLICAN, YOU CAN GET AWAY WITH ANYTHING THERE!

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