Tiny home project in Town of Yampa, pop. 436? Another in Steamboat?
Tiny houses for a tiny town?
May 5, 2017
Steamboat Springs — There has been ample talk about tiny homes in Colorado mountain towns in recent years with not much to show for it. But tentative news about a couple of tiny home projects being contemplated in Routt County surfaced this week.
County Commissioner Tim Corrigan reported May 5 that he and fellow commissioners Doug Monger and Cari Hermacinski made a routine visit to a town board meeting in tiny Yampa, population 436, and were surprised to hear a developer is proposing a 50-plus tiny home community on a hillside within the town limits.
The town is too small to have its own planning department, and commissioners were not able to look at any documents related to the project, but Corrigan said longtime local planning consultant Peter Patten will likely represent the town if the project moves forward.
Corrigan added the possible site is 2.4 acres where Peggy Ann Klumker and her late husband, Richard, lived until last month, when Peggy Klumker sold the home. Coincidentally, Richard Klumker was a longtime member of the Routt County Planning Commission.
It didn't escape Corrigan, a resident of rural Yampa, that even a tiny home development would give the town a shot in the arm in terms of commerce and property taxes.
A second tiny home development is being researched by Chapman "Chappy" Geer, who is looking at a piece of development ground on Steamboat's west side.
Geer said via email this week that KABÜS (pronounced caboose) is a nod to the men and women who built the vital railroad lines in the American West. Geer said he has lived on the road for long periods of time while working on "coal power plant shutdowns" and, in the process, has gained a deep appreciation for railroad builders.
"Instead of the typical country western hospitality theme, KABÜS will pay homage to the the bravery and desire for adventure that the railroad workers had," Geer said.
The homes Geer envisions for his development may have the narrow lines of a railroad caboose, with modern comforts, and he sees the housing units meeting varying housing needs in different seasons.
"Since the homes are registered vehicles, they are considered RVs, which are available for nightly, weekly and, in the low seasons, monthly (occupancy). This is appealing to everyone interested in the movement, downsizing for a larger life, or looking for something different than the tired condo land," Geer wrote.
"In the low seasons, the camp would cater to locals in need of month-to-month housing in between leases and ownership. The park would feature eight caboose models from Wheelhaus and seven homes from Sprout. Anyone interested in a tiny home has an open mind and a passion for protecting the environment."
The development Geer envisions would also have a substantial community building to create a sense of neighborhood.
"It will have a communal area with a big kitchen, dining area, hot tub, happy hour deck, garden and dog park," Geer wrote. "In phase two, KABÜS will add four studio apartments, an apartment for hosts and a large gear storage and laundry room."
Geer isn't at the point of submitting a development permit application, but reports he has had informal conversations with the city of Steamboat Springs Planning Department.
As a demonstration of community spirit, Geer and a crew of friends recently removed scrap metal from the banks of the Yampa River, some of it remnants of cars used in another era to combat erosion.