Yampa Valley Housing Authority seizes opportunity following positive 5A vote | SteamboatToday.com

Yampa Valley Housing Authority seizes opportunity following positive 5A vote

Gabriela Valdez is thrilled with her new kitchen in her apartment at the Reserves at Steamboat.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — When voters in the Steamboat Springs area voted last Tuesday in favor of raising their property taxes to help fund new community housing projects, Yampa Valley Housing Authority Executive Director Jason Peasley was prepared to act.

Peasley put the word out on Nov. 9, seeking formal proposals from private sector development groups interested in partnering with the housing authority on its next housing project aimed at either seasonal workers, low-income households or households in the entry-level category. Developers have until to Dec. 20 to respond with a formal proposal.

“This is the first step toward making good on our pledge to the community to build 350 low income-level units, 350 seasonal beds and 150 entry-level units utilizing the funds from the 1-mill property tax approved this week,” Peasley said.

YVHA asked voters to approve a 1-mill property tax to raise $900,000 annually for a decade in order to leverage the partnerships needed to build community housing here. And they responded last week by passing Referendum 5A by a margin of about 600 votes out of 5,000 ballots cast.

There's no estimate of when YVHA might break ground on a new housing project. And although the YVHA board has identified possible building sites, when asked if the board was in negotiations to purchase land, Peasley replied, "no."

YVHA is seeking to build upon the success of the 48-apartment Reserves at Steamboat project, which was completed this year on land owned by the authority. Federal income tax credits were sold to American Express for $13 million to help entice developer Overland Property Group to take on the Reserves project.

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While it's not presumed that YVHA would again apply to the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority for tax credits to help fund the project, the schedule allows for application for those tax credits in 2018, Peasley confirmed.

"It's one of the main avenues we'd like to pursue," he said. "That's the best deal around. That's our bread and butter."

Next, Peasley said it will be time to prime the pump in order to meet the authority's goal of building six to eight new housing projects in the span of 10 years. He acknowledged that to meet that goal his group needs to have two or three projects underway simultaneously but at different stages of the development process.

"This is what we've been working toward for the last five years, so I'm looking forward to it," he said. "It feels like we've arrived at a watershed moment at just the right time."

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1.

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