Guest Column: Brown Ranch maintains the Steamboat Steamboat

Brown Ranch is the solution to Steamboat Preservation.

It is an unprecedented opportunity with benefits ranging from providing affordable and achievable housing for all levels of the workforce to directing growth west of the city, protecting the South Valley and the feeling one gets when one comes down, wondering how lucky we are. We have to live here and know that we are home.

The annexation agreement protects our community.

After months of negotiations between the city and the Yampa Valley Housing Authority, the annexation agreement approved by the City Council is considered a sound agreement.

Under the annexation agreement, the city has no legal obligation to finance its interest in Brown Ranch. At any time, the City Council may deny approval to land use applications if funding is not available for the necessary infrastructure, or if the City Council finds that existing infrastructure is insufficient to support development at Brown Ranch.

These provisions give the City Council the tools to protect the city’s public purse and to ensure that development does not occur without the necessary infrastructure being created.

Brown Ranch is being developed in phases.

YVHA will complete construction of 450 affordable and attainable units within six years and a total of 1,100 units within 12 years, or about 100 units per year. If YVHA does not construct the units by the specified dates, funds from the short-term rental tax allocated to affordable and accessible housing at Brown Ranch, including infrastructure, may be reduced accordingly or terminated.

The annexation agreement limits the total number of units that can be built to 2,264, which will be a mix of different housing types, including multifamily units, single-family attached units, and detached units for rent and purchase. There will also be a dedicated commercial space.

YVHA will conduct periodic needs assessments, and if there is no housing need, no additional units will be built, or the housing unit mix will be adjusted as determined by the assessments.

Although development of Brown Ranch is being done in phases, annexation of the entire parcel initially allows YVHA to leverage STR revenues for follow-on funding from state, federal and private entities to offset costs.

Housing will be affordable for the local workforce.

The agreement states that 100% of the housing units will be affordable and attainable for workers who earn between 20% and 250% of the median income ($21,510 to $189,750) and are employed or retired from a business or organization located in Routt County. Brown Ranch will follow the traditional rule of spending no more than 30% of an individual’s monthly income on housing costs.

Brown Ranch should be the primary accommodation. There will be no second homes or short-term rentals.

Is there a financial gap?

The gap would be filled if community parks were downsized and developed as STR tax dollars became available.

The majority of the financial gap is attributable to the two community parks with a projected development cost of $52 million, about $1.3 million per acre.

Meanwhile, Brown Ranch will have about 34 acres of neighborhood parks, pocket parks, greenways and trails, an indoor sports facility with playgrounds as well as 125 acres of open space.

Under the agreement, YVHA also committed to providing the city $1,203 per unit per year to cover ongoing operating costs.

2i Ballot question

2i is committed to allocating 75% of revenue from the voter-approved STR tax to YVHA to fund affordable and attainable housing at Brown Ranch, including infrastructure. YVHA’s 75% share of the STR levy, as required under the agreement, will provide funding for the construction of necessary infrastructure projects including those that also have community-wide benefits, improvements to U.S. Highway 40 and the Yampa River Core Trail, a farm Public assembled at Brown Ranch Safety Facility and Brown Ranch Community Gardens, as well as on-site infrastructure and vertical construction.

Every day we delay moving forward at Brown Ranch, another young professional or working family loses hope and leaves our community.

Brown Ranch is the solution to Steamboat Preservation.

It is an honor to serve on the City Council. I appreciate being able to state the reasons why I support the annexation of Brown Ranch and always welcome the opportunity to answer questions and engage in a healthy and respectful exchange of ideas.

Gail Gary
Courtesy photo

Gail Gary represents District 1 on the Steamboat Springs City Council.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *