Developer debuts plan to build 42 homes no bigger than 716 square feet in Yampa
July 3, 2017
Developer Steve Whittall has introduced his plans for a neighborhood of 42 "compact," single-family homes on the 4.48-acre former Klumker property in the town of Yampa south of Steamboat Springs.
The site of the future Yampa Home Simple development is on a hillside in the southeast corner of the town with access via First Street and overlooking the historic downtown, which first flourished in anticipation of the arrival of the first rail service in the early 20th century.
Whittall said he wants to provide answers to the 21st century workforce housing challenges in the Yampa Valley, while bolstering the economy of Yampa without disrupting its small town agricultural character.
"Yampa Home Simple has the potential to revitalize Yampa and significantly contribute to the town's master plan goals of residential infill, economic development and increasing revenue streams," Whittall wrote in a summary of his project.
Yampa is 29 miles south of Steamboat Springs and 42.6 miles north of the Wolcott Junction on Interstate 70, with Wolcott situated between the towns of Eagle and Edwards in the Vail Valley. Whittall told Steamboat Today he's considered the possibility that Yampa Home Simple could attract people working either in Steamboat or in the Vail Valley.
Residents would also be living on the northeast gateway to the vast Flat Tops Wilderness Area – Stillwater Reservoir, in neighboring Garfield County, is 16.6 miles away. The town has a general store with merchandise that includes groceries, and several restaurants and a history museum.
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With preliminary plans to build houses measuring 560 square feet, 660 square feet and topping out at 716 square feet, Whittall isn't branding his project as a "tiny home" community. Schematic drawings provided by Whittall reflect that all three home models feature patios on the front entry, offset by double-door, exterior storage closets. The back of each home has a 14-foot by 8-foot deck to enhance outdoor living spaces.
The floor plan for the smallest unit at Yampa Home Simple resembles an efficiency apartment or condo. The largest provides space for a more traditional bedroom.
Exterior design varies between traditional pitched roofs and shed roofs. Whittall is proposing in his preliminary plan to develop interior roads with gravel surfaces and provide a single gravel parking space per unit, with an additional eight parking spaces within the development.
Although the town of Yampa — population 436 in 2014 — has a formal master plan created 20 years ago, it does not have its own municipal planning department and has engaged a private sector planner to review the Yampa Home Simple project.
Perhaps the closest existing projects in Steamboat that could be compared to Yampa Home Simple are Steamboat Point, Butcherknife Co-Housing and River Place. But the smallest homes in those neighborhoods are significantly larger than the 716 square feet proposed by Whittall.
Steamboat Point brought 1,334-square-foot homes to the market in the late 1980s that sold for as much as $435,000 in 2009. And a River Place home of 1,200 square feet sold for $429,000 in May.