The ordinance that used to force developers in Steamboat Springs to construct affordable housing units in their projects or pay a fee in lieu of their creation has been suspended for a fourth time.
The City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to accept city staff’s recommendation to extend the suspension another year, until August 2017, to give a steering committee that is studying the affordable housing issue time to come up with recommendations.
The ordinance was first suspended by a previous city council three years ago.
The suspension came after several local developers criticized the rule and called it an unfair tax.
Council members agreed, calling the ordinance flawed, wrong, ineffective and unfair.
The criticism of the ordinance had started years before 2013 when developers complained they were finding it difficult or impossible to sell the affordable units they were creating.
During the nearly eight years the ordinance was in effect, developers were obligated to construct 140 affordable units or to pay nearly $3.4 million in fee-in-lieu payments, according to city planning staff.
But the majority of those obligations were not fulfilled mostly because of some of the projects not going forward during the recession.
Council members will likely discuss whether the ordinance should be reinstated when the council has a broader discussion about community housing sometime before the year’s end.
Elected officials are poised to have a “tool kit” of options available to spur the creation of the types of housing units that the suspended ordinance was enacted to create.
The Yampa Valley Housing Authority also is overseeing a new steering committee that is studying housing issues in Routt County.
According to the application the committee members filled out, the group will “take on the difficult tasks of defining our community housing problems, developing goals and measures of success, and creating implementation strategies for achieving our community housing goals.”
Councilwoman Kathi Meyer said Tuesday the committee expects to present some final recommendations to elected officials before the end of the year.