Members of a steering committee that spent months studying the region’s housing woes are hoping elected officials in Steamboat Springs are willing to start taking some action and “do things differently” than the city has in the past.
“The status quo is not getting us there, so we have to change our behavior, our policies, and hopefully, generate more housing in all of the four segments” where we have identified that there are shortfalls, Yampa Valley Housing Authority Executive Director Jason Peasley said.
In December, the housing steering committee estimated the area was 179 beds short of meeting the demand for seasonal workers and 153 units short for entry-level home buyers.
The group also warned local elected officials that if no action is taken, the region will continue to lose its middle class.
“We are growing older, richer, faster,” housing steering committee chairman Dan Pirrallo said.
The Steamboat Springs City Council on Tuesday will discuss the steering committee’s recommendations in a workshop setting.
City leaders will have a chance to weigh in on such proposals as pursuing a tax on short-term rentals to support community housing, establishing a dedicated funding source to support the creation of seasonal, low-income, entry-level and move-up housing and modifying the city’s development codes to remove some hurdles and make it easier for some projects to make it through the planning process.
Other recommendations include funding infrastructure that will support new development within the city’s urban growth boundary and investing in roadway and transportation options in concert with new housing developments.
In December, City Council President Walter Magill suggested a sales tax proposal to support the development of housing might be the most worthy tax initiative this year.
Routt County commissioners are also discussing the steering committee’s recommendations.
Commissioners recently sent the Housing Authority a letter outlining the steps the county has taken to help facilitate affordable and attainable housing.
Their steps include such things as liberalizing regulations on accessory dwelling units to encourage more units, improving county roads to provide safer travel between communities and keeping units in the long-term rental pool by prohibiting short-term vacation rentals.
The council’s work session on the housing recommendations starts at 5 p.m. Tuesday in Citizens Hall.
The council typically does not take any action at work sessions but can direct staff to prepare for future action items.