The Steamboat Springs City Council and YVHA Annexation Process for Brown Ranch


The Annexation Agreement

Annexation Agreement Highlights

Brown Ranch Annexation Committee

History of Brown Ranch Land

West Steamboat Springs Area Plan


The Brown Ranch is a 534-acre parcel located on the westside of Steamboat Springs in the designated growth area outlined in the City of Steamboat Springs West Steamboat Springs Area Plan written in 1999 and updated in 2006.

A $24 million anonymous donation allowed the the Yampa Valley Housing Authority (YVHA) to purchase the parcel with the intention that it would be designated for workforce housing.

From January to August 2023, YVHA and the City of Steamboat Springs worked together to develop an annexation agreement to bring 420 acres of this 534-acre parcel into the City of Steamboat Springs. A group called the Brown Ranch Annexation Committee (BRAC) which had representatives from YVHA and City Council worked tirelessely to come to an annexation agreement that was approved by City Council on September 19, 2023.

Annexation into the City of Steamboat Springs is important because density requires services. The 2006 West Steamboat Springs Area Plan (WSSAP) which was developed by the City of Steamboat Springs and Routt County stated that “an important goal of the plan was to bring housing to the working people of Steamboat Springs.” When density is created, urban services like snowplowing, water and sewer utilities, roads, trails, and parks are needed. The Annexation Agreement lays out the plan for how the City of Steamboat Springs will provide these services and how the services will be paid for by YVHA.

The Annexation Agreement

Annexation Agreement

Annexation Agreement Highlights

The following describes the Brown Ranch Annexation Agreement Highlights:

Housing and Commercial

  • Twenty-year plan: 57.5 % rental homes and 42.5% ownership homes based on independent third-party housing demand study. The unit composition mix shown in the table is subject to change based on future housing needs.
  • Housing based on need for every income level of local workforce (20% AMI to 250% AMI)
  • Phase 1: 1124 homes – 122 single family detached homes; 230 townhomes, 772 apartments/condos
  • Phase 2: 87 single family detached homes,127 townhomes, 357 apartments/condos.
  • Phase 3: 85 single family detached homes,127 townhomes, 357 apartments/condos.
  • 395,000 square feet of community supporting retail, services, offices, community assets and a public safety facility.

Parks and Open Space

  • YVHA must provide land for at least 62.71 acres of parks as well as 8.5 acres for an indoor sports facility (the Sports Barn), 125 acres of open space, and trails throughout the annexed property.
  • YVHA will maintain the 114 acres north of the Urban Growth Boundary, which is not part of this annexation, as open space for a minimum of 20 years and develop trails for public use. YVHA retains all development rights in this area to meet future community needs.
  • Parks and open space = 45% of annexed area
    • All housing units within two blocks of park of open space area
    • Land dedicated to City for two community parks totaling 39.66 acres.
      • Park A – 22.49 acres
      • Park B – 17.17 acres
    • See more details about parks and open space in the Brown Ranch CDP – Click Here


  • Section 3 provides that YVHA is responsible for design and construction costs of all onsite utilities, including the ones that will ultimately be dedicated over to City (water and sewer).

Onsite Infrastructure

  • Section 4 stipulates that YVHA is responsible for the costs of the design and construction of all onsite infrastructure serving Brown Ranch.

Water and Wastewater

  • The City will provide water and wastewater services to Brown Ranch.
  • YVHA will pay tap fees for every unit on the same basis as other City water utility customers.
  • Before Brown Ranch is developed beyond Phase 1 (1,124 units), the City must construct the Elk River Water Treatment Facility. The City will use all reasonable efforts to complete the facility prior to the completion of Phase 1 and estimates it will be operational by 2030.
    • The estimated cost of the facility is $40,000,000-$58,000,000, and YVHA’s estimated share is 66%. This facility will benefit existing City customers by providing resiliency and redundancy to the City’s water treatment infrastructure.
  • The City’s existing water rights are sufficient to serve Brown Ranch. The City’s most pressing water supply need is funding for the Elk River Water Treatment Facility to develop its water rights on the Elk River. YVHA will provide most of the funding for this facility.

Community Benefit Projects

  • YVHA will pay its proportionate share of the cost of offsite infrastructure necessary to offset the impacts of the development of Brown Ranch.
  • YVHA’s estimated share is $20,206,447, which is mostly comprised of projects to improve US Hwy 40.
  • This estimate does not include the Combined Public Safety Facility and Elk River Water Treatment Facility, which are described elsewhere in this document.
  • Short-term Rental (STR) funds allocated to Brown Ranch will first help pay for projects that benefit the entire community including US Hwy 40 improvements and Core Trail extension.

City Services

  • YVHA will construct and the City will maintain internal streets, including snow removal. YVHA will pay the capital costs for additional snow removal equipment (estimated $847,000).
  • The City will extend bus service to Brown Ranch at the entrance on US Highway 40. YVHA will fund a micro transit service within Brown Ranch, similar to the City’s Yellow Line.
  • YVHA will construct and maintain the neighborhood parks and greenway parks, and the City will construct and maintain the community parks. YVHA will construct trails and open space, and the City will maintain the trails and open space within the Urban Growth Boundary.
  • YVHA will work with Steamboat Sports Barn, Inc. to build an indoor sports facility, along with a public outdoor playground and shade structure on the site.
    • If a building permit for the Sports Barn is not issued within 5 years or if construction is not completed within 8 years, YVHA must develop the site as a neighborhood park.
    • The City will have no responsibility to construct, operate, or maintain the Sports Barn.
  • The City’s police department and fire rescue will serve Brown Ranch, and YVHA will dedicate a site in Phase 1 to the City for the construction of a Combined Public Safety Facility.
    • YVHA will pay 75% of the construction costs of the facility (estimated $16,087,200) and 78% of the costs for fire apparatus and start up equipment (estimated $2,509,648).
    • YVHA will pay the costs for police vehicles and start up equipment (estimated $438,000).
  • YVHA will pay the City’s annual operating cost deficit for extending services to Brown Ranch, estimated to be $1,203 per unit (as adjusted for inflation). YVHA will make this payment annually based on the number of units with certificates of occupancy as of the previous year.
    • If the City imposes a new or increased property tax or fee to offset these costs, YVHA’s payment will be reduced accordingly.

Affordability & Attainability of Housing

  • Affordability is the #1 priority guiding development: All residential developments at Brown Ranch will be subject to affordability and attainability requirements.
    • 100% local housing. Restrictions will require the owner or renter to work for an employer physically located in Routt County.
    • No short-term rentals.
    • No second homes. Need to occupy the unit as their sole primary residence.
    • Units will have maximum income restrictions.
  • YVHA will periodically update the Housing Demand Study to ensure that housing needs are being appropriately addressed through the unit and income mix.
  • YVHA will maintain the affordability of the units through deed restrictions and use covenants.
  • YVHA may sell or develop with market-rate housing two parcels that total 25 acres to offset development costs (they are in exhibit B and G of the annexation agreement)

Other details:

  • The range of incomes are based on Area Median Income (AMI) 20% to 250% or $15,180 to $189,750 for an individual. Check the chart for details. Area Median Income is a federal income is a federal standard established by HUD and adjusted annually. AMI changes based on household size.
  • YVHA will be the listing broker to save home buyers and sellers fees and derive additional affordability.

Check out the presentation on affordability.

Short Term Rental Tax Revenue

  • In November 2023, Steamboat Springs voted to allocate 75% of the STR Tax revenue to YVHA annually through 2042.
  • The City agreed not to reduce the 9% tax rate during this time.
  • Safeguards for the city:
    • If YVHA does not meet milestones for developing units after 6 years (420 units) and 12 years (1,100 units), the City may reduce or terminate this obligation.
    • If Phase 1 is not completed and YVHA has not secured the funding for Phase 2 and 3 capital costs, the City is not obligated to allocate STR revenue to YVHA starting in 2033.
    • STR tax funds for 2033-2042 are intended to be used on Phases 2 and 3.

Development and Zoning

  • Safeguard for the City:
    • The City may withhold development or building approvals if the offsite improvements are not funded, and City Council determines that existing infrastructure cannot absorb the impacts.

Other details.

Sustainable Design Measures

  • The sustainable design measures that YVHA will implement, include:
    • a focus on renewable energy (geothermal heating and cooling with solar panels to recharge ground heat) and energy conservation  as well as water conservation and fire resiliency.
    • Reducing reliance on vehicles by optimizing for pedestrians, bicyclists, and electric vehicles;
    • Preserving and restoring the section of Slate Creek that runs through Brown Ranch.

Other details

Brown Ranch Annexation Committee (City/YVHA)

From January 2023 to August 2023 the Brown Ranch Annexation Committee (BRAC), consisting of representatives from both the City of Steamboat Springs and Yampa Valley Housing Authority, met and were charged with negotiating the agreement terms governing the proposed annexation of the Brown Ranch property into the city of Steamboat Springs. The Steamboat Springs City Council approved the Brown Ranch Annexation Agreement on September 19, 2023.

The BRAC met over eight months to discuss all the aspects of the Annexation Agreement from snow removal to neighborhood parks. You can watch any of the BRAC meetings on the City of Steamboat Springs you tube channel:

You can review the agenda topics and packets here:

  • 1

    February 1: General plan for development at Brown Ranch

  • 2

    February 15: Water, Wastewater, Stormwater

  • 3

    March 1: Transit and Streets

  • 4

    March 15: Funding for City services, use of Short-Rerm Rental Taxes (STR)

  • 5

    March 22: BRAC Town Hall

  • 6

    March 29: Exactions/Dedication of Land (Parks and open space, indoor field house, fire station, etc.)

  • 7

    April 12: Fiscal Impact Analysis

  • 8

    April 26: Public Transportation Infrastructure (traffic study)

  • 9

    May 4th: BRAC Town Hall

  • 10

    May 10: Affordability/Attainability of Housing (ownership, deed restrictions, Conformance with West Steamboat Springs Area Plan); Sustainability Measures (Energy Efficiency, Climate Action Plan, EV infrastructure, etc.)

  • 11

    May 24: Post Annexation Land Use Approval Process (zoning, subdivision applications, codes, vested rights)

  • 12

    June 7: Contingencies, Draft Annexation Agreement & Draft Fiscal Impact Analysis

  • 13

    June 23: Draft Fiscal Impact Analysis & Draft Annexation Agreement

  • 14

    June 28: BRAC Town Hall

  • 15

    July 12: Draft Fiscal Impact Analysis & Draft Annexation Agreement

  • 16

    July 26: Draft Fiscal Impact Analysis & Draft Annexation Agreement

  • 17

    August 1: City Council – Brown Ranch Annexation Discussion

  • 18

    August 8: BRAC- Outstanding Topics and Issues

  • 19

    August 18: BRAC- Draft Annexation Agreement & Proposed Ballot Language

  • 20

    August 29: BRAC – Review of Updated Annexation Agreement and Proposed Ballot Language for STR Tax

  • 21

    September 28: Planning Commission presentation

  • 22

    October 10: City Council presentation

  • 23

    October 17: City Council presentation


West Steamboat Springs Area Plan

The Brown Ranch is consistent with the community’s vision for phased westward growth.

West Steamboat was always designated for growth: Planned growth was outlined in the West Steamboat Springs Area Plan already in 1999, updated in 2006 and validated by the Routt County Master Plan in 2022.

The Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) protects against urban sprawl: The urban growth boundary is the centerpiece of the Steamboat Springs Area Community Plan, first adopted mutually by Routt County and the City of Steamboat Springs with buy-in from residents in 1995.

Now that YVHA, rather than a for-profit developer, owns the Brown Ranch, our community has an unprecedented opportunity to specifically direct our growth to phased, guaranteed affordable and attainable housing only for working locals.