Frequently Asked ?’s

In an environment where disinformation and misinformation are rampant, the Yampa Valley Housing Authority (YVHA) has compiled information about the Brown Ranch

KNOW THE TOP TEN FACTS ABOUT THE BROWN RANCH

According to a 2022 survey, we know we need 1,400 housing units now for existing workers.

Businesses, schools, the hospital, and non-profits cannot hire the staff they need because there is no housing workers can afford.

In anticipation of the future needs of the Steamboat Springs, the West Steamboat Springs Area Plan identified the west side of town for growth.

That is why they created the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) in 1995.

The first phase of Brown Ranch is envisioned to deliver 1,100 units in the next ten years.

The existing short-term rental tax, is dedicated to the Brown Ranch and will allow YVHA to leverage local funds to gain federal, state, and private grants.

In the state of Colorado, any new tax needs to be approved by voters.

The agreement includes the ability for Steamboat Springs to deny building permits at Brown Ranch if the City cannot fund its share of offsite infrastructure expenses, primarily US Highway 40 improvements.

According to City Attorney Dan Foote, “…There is absolutely 0% chance that the annexation agreement will cause the city to become insolvent or bankrupt…”

The Annexation agreement has strict guidelines to ensure that YVHA meets its obligations to build affordable housing, construct parks, trails, and community spaces, and contribute significant funding to city-wide infrastructure.

For example, during peak commuting hours, traffic on US Highway 40 west of downtown is a challenge that needs to be solved now, with or without Brown Ranch.

YVHA will contribute $20 million dollars through short term rental tax revenue to the City to pay for the share of impacts Brown Ranch will have to traffic on US Highway 40.

This diversity of housing types available to all types of local workers – teachers, nurses, cooks, construction workers and more – will create housing choices and encourage housing mobility through life changes.

The current plan based on a third-party, independent demand study is:

60% rental units and 40% ownership units with the following types:

  1. 65% apartments and condos
  2. 22% single family townhomes
  3. 13% single family homes

More than 40% of the annexed land area is dedicated to parks and open space, including an extension of the Core Trail from Sleepy Bear Mobile Home Park to Silver Spur. There will be no short-term rentals or second homes at Brown Ranch.

Rental units will have restrictions on annual rent increases tied to Area Median Income, which means they will not pay more than 30% of their income.

Ownership units will be deed restricted to limit appreciation while accounting for capital improvements and sweat equity owners put into their homes.

YVHA already manages deed restricted homes in Steamboat.

The master plan for Brown Ranch was developed after input from more than 3,500 individuals at 230 meetings as well as with other community stakeholders over 15 months.

YVHA created the Brown Ranch plan with the community, long before seeking development partners for public-private partnerships to build infrastructure and housing at Brown Ranch.

The City’s existing water rights are sufficient to serve Brown Ranch. After the first phase of Brown Ranch is completed in approximately 10 years, the community will need a new water treatment plant. This plant will benefit the entire community by providing redundancy for the City’s water supply in case of wildfire in the Fish Creek basin.

YVHA will provide most of the funding for this facility, in addition to paying tap fees like all development in Steamboat Springs.

Brown Ranch Frequently Asked Questions

Updated January 9, 2023

The Brown Ranch gives the community an unprecedented opportunity to create, stable, affordable housing in the Yampa Valley.

  • Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, the Yampa Valley Housing Authority (YVHA) purchased the 534-acre Brown Ranch in 2021.
  • The Brown Ranch is immediately adjacent to the western city limits within the designated urban growth boundary (UGB) for the city of Steamboat Springs and Routt County. The West Steamboat area has been identified for more than 20 years as the ideal location to our decades-long housing problem.

YVHA’s Service District & how we deliver affordable housing

1. Do we have a severe affordable housing crisis?

For the last forty years, the demand for housing affordable to the local workforce has greatly outpaced the supply and the magnitude continues to explode. This gap will continue to grow until we make a significant investment in housing. We know we need 1,400 housing units now for existing workers. We also know, according to the Health Equity Baseline Report by Colorado Futures Center (CFC) (June 2023) that only 16.6% of the local housing stock is affordable to the median income. CFC also identified that 25-45 year olds are leaving the workforce and 1/3 of our current workforce is over 65.

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2. How was the Brown Ranch master plan created? Is it consistent with the community’s vision for phased westward growth in the City’s urban growth boundary?
In anticipation of the future needs of Steamboat Springs, the West Steamboat Springs Area Plan identified the west side of town for growth and density. That is why the City and Routt County created the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) in 1995. The updated Routt County Master Plan also identified the west side of town as a place for growth. Growth in the west helps retain the unique character of Strawberry Park, the South Valley, and the Yampa River corridor and helps create distinct borders between urban and rural areas. The 536-acre Brown Ranch is located between the City of Steamboat Springs and the neighborhoods of Silver Spur and Steamboat II. The 420 acres of the Brown Ranch located within the Urban Growth Boundary reflect the West Steamboat Springs Area Plan that envisioned, “The West Steamboat Springs area will accommodate a series of new, affordable, year-round neighborhoods, with a range of lot sizes and housing types.” The first phase of Brown Ranch is envisioned to deliver 1,124 apartments, condos, townhomes and single-family homes built over 12 years at a pace of about 100 homes built per year.

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3. How is a strong, healthy workforce linked to a vibrant community?

Our community needs affordable and attainable housing options for our workforce including hospitality staff, nurses, teachers, law enforcement and others who keep our community functioning and our economic future vital. Without affordable housing, middle class families will continue to leave the community. The school district, the hospital, the City of Steamboat Springs, and local businesses have all identified housing as the number one barrier for staff recruitment and retention.

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4. Will the Brown Ranch be affordable to locals?

Yes. Through a combination of the $24 million land donation, the 75% short-term rental tax dedication, federal and state tax credits, and grants, YVHA is able to bring down the costs of homes to renters and buyers. YVHA’s pricing structure is not the same as a private developer because of the subsidies it is able to compile. YVHA strives to offer housing that is approximately 30% of a resident’s income, whether rental or for sale. Ownership units will be deed-restricted to limit appreciation while accounting for capital improvements and sweat equity owners put into their homes. Rental units will have restrictions on annual rent increases tied to Area Median Income (AMI).

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5. How is the Brown Ranch is designed and zoned? Is there a mix of housing types in each neighborhood?

The Brown Ranch is designed and zoned to create vibrant neighborhoods where teachers are living next to nurses, restaurants workers, and nonprofit staff. Home types will include rental apartments, as well as condos, townhomes and single-family homes for sale. Because of the tremendous need for all types of workers, there will be a wide range or incomes eligible to live at the Brown Ranch from incomes as low as $15,180 (20% Area Median Income (AMI)) up to $189,750 (250% AMI) for individuals and $21,660 (20% AMI) to $270,750 (250% AMI) for a four-person household, based on 2023 data. These rental and for-sale homes must be primary residences and there will be no short-term rentals allowed.

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6. Why can’t infill-only solve the affordable housing crisis?

Not enough infill land exists in Steamboat Springs to meet the need for affordable housing. 1,400 housing units are needed now for the local workforce with more needed for the future. When YVHA’s Anglers Four Hundred one, two and three bedroom affordable apartments became available, 700 households applied for 75 apartments. YVHA has bought the infill lots suitable for affordable housing and also bought the last suitable lot with the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) – the Brown Ranch.

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7. Are there parks and trails planned at the Brown Ranch?.

Per the Annexation Agreement between YVHA and the City of Steamboat Springs, 45% of the annexed 420 acres are parks and open space.

The Steamboat Springs Community Development Code requires 3% of a housing development to be parks and 15% open space. Brown Ranch exceeds that requirement.

YVHA dedicated land for two community parks totaling 39.66 acres to the City of Steamboat Springs: Park A is 22.49 acres, a similar size to Emerald Park which is 24 acres, and an additional Park B is 17.17 acres. YVHA also agreed to dedicate $7.5 million of the short-term rental tax for the City’s community parks.

In addition, YVHA is leasing 8.5 acres to the non-profit, Steamboat Sports Barn to build an indoor field house and two regulation-sized athletic fields in the neighborhood planned off County Road 42, at no cost to taxpayers.

Smaller neighborhood parks totaling 24 acres will be funded and developed by YVHA.

The Core Trail will be extended to County Road 42. YVHA will pay for the Core Trail section that is in the Brown Ranch. The City of Steamboat Springs recently received a $1 million grant to extend the Core Trail to the entrance of the Brown Ranch. There will also be eight miles of trails within the Brown Ranch including a wild land firebreak ring around the neighborhoods, paid for by YVHA.

Overall, there will be 64.66 acres of parks and 125 acres of open space. There is also an additional 114 acres of open space north of the Urban Growth Boundary. Every home will be within two blocks of a park or open space.

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8. Will there be services and stores at the Brown Ranch?

Yes. YVHA is working with a number of community partners to provide services at the Brown Ranch including a food market, childcare facility, non-profit center, medical services and sports facilities. Some of the community partners include NW Colorado Health, UCHealth, The Health Partnership, Horizons, Better Tomorrow, Community Agriculture Alliance, CSU Extension, Yampa Valley Sustainability Council, Yampa Valley Community Foundation, Steamboat Sports Barn, Yampatika. Boys and Girls Club, Steamboat Creates, Routt County Riders, Yampa Valley Autism, First Impressions, Lift Up, Partners for Youth, NW Colorado Center for Independence. To learn more check out the Community Partnerships page.

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9. What is the indoor recreation facility and athletic fields known as the Sports Barn?

YVHA will lease 8.5 acres to a local non-profit, Steamboat Sports Barn, made up of local youth sports groups to build an indoor sports facility that has been discussed and proposed for years. There will be a fieldhouse with two full size athletic fields. It is planned to be sited near Sleeping Giant School. This community partnership leverages assets at no cost to Steamboat Springs taxpayers.

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10. How will the Brown Ranch will be financed?

YVHA has a history of leveraging community dollars to create affordable and attainable housing. Since 2016, YVHA has leveraged $4.5 million in community funds to build 285 new homes added to 150 homes already built for the community with a total construction value of $103 million. The Brown Ranch will follow a similar financing model. The 75% allocation of the City of Steamboat Springs’ short term rental tax will be our community investment used to leverage other funds, including federal, state, and philanthropic grants, the federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit, and traditional debt and equity financing. YVHA has already secured more than $8 million in grants for Brown Ranch.

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11. Will the Brown Ranch increase taxes for existing Steamboat Springs residents?

No. The dedication of the 75% of the short-term rental tax provides YVHA the revenue needed to build out the Brown Ranch. In addition, every Steamboat Springs household creates a $541 deficit to the City’s general fund for services such as snowplowing, parks, city road maintenance, etc. In spite of the deficit, YVHA agrees to reimburse the City to offset the Brown Ranch impact to the general fund on an annual basis. The payment shall be in the amount of $1,203 per residential unit that has been issued a certificate of occupancy in the Brown Ranch. There is no impact to the City’s general operating fund and no impact to the services of existing Steamboat Springs residents. Because Colorado is a TABOR state, no taxes can be levied without voter approval.

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12. How does YVHA work with Community Development Partners?

YVHA has had private partners on all its housing developments. YVHA works with community development partners who assume the majority of the risk to build affordable and attainable housing. YVHA also always requires cost and completion guarantees from our development partners, meaning that construction cost overruns are never passed onto others. Our community investment of the mill levy revenue has allowed YVHA to secure $47.8 million in grants and tax credits for our developments. The community developers we have worked with in the past include the Overland Property Group that built The Reserves, Alpenglow and Anglers 400. Gorman & Company built Sunlight Crossing and Lone Tree Trust is working with YVHA to build Mid Valley. The Michaels Organization, the largest affordable housing developer in the country, was chosen to develop the infrastructure and rental units for the Brown Ranch. More requests for proposals will be sent for other parts of the Brown Ranch including commercial space and for-sale duplexes, townhomes, accessory dwelling units and single family homes.

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13. Who is the Community Development Partner for Brown Ranch?

After finishing the Brown Ranch Community Development Plan and getting advice from the Urban Land Institute to hire a community developer to expand YVHA’s capabilities, YVHA sent a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the Brown Ranch development nationwide. TMO was one of the companies that responded to the RFQ request. After interviews with the companies that responded, the YVHA Board of Directors selected TMO. They are the nation’s largest privately-held owner of affordable housing with 50 years of experience and $11 billion of assets under management. They have worked in 39 states plus DC, US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico in 596 communities.

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14. What happens to Highway 40 with the Brown Ranch?

Highway 40 is a problem that needs to be solved now, with or without Brown Ranch. The YVHA traffic study shows a need to widen Hwy 40 in four segments between Dream Island Plaza and CR42. In the annexation agreement, YVHA has agreed to contribute the first $20 million from the short term rental tax revenue to improve US40. With this YVHA contribution, improvements to Highway 40 will accelerate by 1-3 years. There are also federal and state transportation grants available that could be utilized to fix Highway 40.

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15. Is there enough water for Brown Ranch?

The City’s existing water rights are sufficient to serve Brown Ranch’s first phase of 1124 homes. After this first phase is completed in approximately 12 years, the community will need a new water treatment plant on the Elk River where the City of Steamboat Springs has water rights. This plant will benefit the entire community by providing redundancy for the City’s water supply in case of wildfire in the Fish Creek basin. YVHA will provide most of the funding for this facility, in addition to paying tap fees like all development in Steamboat Springs.

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16. How does the Annexation Agreement protect the City of Steamboat Springs’ residents?

The agreement includes the ability for the City of Steamboat Springs to deny building permits at Brown Ranch if the City cannot fund its share of offsite infrastructure expenses, primarily US Hwy 40 improvements. According to City Attorney Dan Foote, “…There is absolutely 0% chance that the annexation agreement will cause the city to become insolvent or bankrupt…”

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17 Who negotiated the Annexation Agreement?

The City of Steamboat Springs and YVHA negotiated over eight months the terms of the annexation agreement that can be read here. The agreement has strict guidelines to ensure that YVHA meets its obligations to build affordable housing, construct parks, trails, and community spaces, and contribute significant funding to city-wide infrastructure. The City Council approved the annexation agreement in October 2023.

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18. Do YVHA residents pay property taxes?

Yes. Although YVHA is a tax-exempt organization, all the for-sale properties at Mid Valley and the Brown Ranch will pay property taxes and mill levies. In fact, current YVHA residents in deed-restricted homes pay property taxes.

The confusion comes from our residents in federally-funded rental units which are at 80% Area Median Income or below, who are individuals making $45,540 a year or less according to 2023 Housing and Urban Development rates. These individuals do not pay property taxes. The property tax exemption is a state law that does not allow taxing districts to collect taxes from those rental units.

YVHA expects that 20% of the homes at Brown Ranch will be targeted for people making 80% AMI or less and they will not pay property taxes. But the other 80% of the Brown Ranch will pay taxes. So, there will be more property taxes collected than now.

In addition to paying taxes, Brown Ranch will be the only neighborhood paying for its general operating expenses.

Every Steamboat Springs household creates a $541 deficit to the City’s general fund for services such as snowplowing, parks, city road maintenance, etc.

YVHA is paying $1,203 per residential unit to pay for equivalent city services at Brown Ranch, per the annexation agreement

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19. How are housing and employment linked?

Businesses cannot thrive and grow because there is a staff shortage due to the lack of affordable housing options. Results from a 2023 survey conducted by the Young Professionals Network, as part of the Steamboat Springs Chamber, showed that two-thirds of the people surveyed fear housing costs will force them to leave town. More than 60% said they pay more than 30% of their income on housing, which is the federal recommended standard. According to the Colorado Futures Center, 25–45-year-olds are the fastest declining age group in Steamboat Springs. More young people and families are moving because they cannot afford to live here.

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20. How does YVHA use deed restrictions to maintain affordability of homes?

Deed restrictions are another way YVHA helps local families afford home ownership. With high market-rate housing, like in Steamboat Springs, a deed restriction ensures the affordability of a specific property now and into the future. The sale of a deed-restricted home is targeted to “qualified owners” who meet specific income, asset, and employment criteria. Buying a deed-restricted unit is not the same as buying a free-market unit. The value of the property is generally indexed to the growth of local wages and not to the broader housing market. This results in less value appreciation compared to free-market homes but keeps home prices affordable in the long-term.

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21. How does safe and secure housing contribute to a community’s health?

Safe, stable, and affordable housing plays a major role in one’s ability to lead a healthy, self-sufficient, and productive life. The design of Brown Ranch embraces health equity, meaning that every person can attain their full health potential, and no one is “disadvantaged from achieving this potential because of social position or other socially determined circumstances.” (source, Centers for Disease Control (CDC)). The Brown Ranch is designed to provide access to essential services that make people healthy: access to healthy food, access to medical services, access to parks and recreation, and access to transportation.

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22. Will my property values go down with the addition of the Brown Ranch?

While we cannot predict the housing market in the future, we can say this about the difference between market-rate and deed-restricted homes:

  • For sale homes at the Brown Ranch will be deed-restricted, meaning that the appreciation rate will not be the same as the market-rate housing.
  • In addition, restrictions like no short term rentals and only allowing people to buy who are local and work for a Routt County employer, restrict who can buy at the Brown Ranch.
  • Buyers for market-rate homes in Routt County are different and a larger pool than buyers for deed-restricted homes at the Brown Ranch.

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23. What is YVHA’s jurisdiction?

We are often asked about YVHA’s jurisdiction and why we aren’t building housing in Hayden and Craig.

The Yampa Valley Housing Authority’s jurisdiction is shown in the map below.

  • YVHA serves all of the city of Steamboat Springs, goes west towards Milner, without including it, south to Catamount but does not include Stagecoach or Oak Creek and north but not as far as Moon Hill or Clark. YVHA collects one mill in this jurisdiction to help fund the development of affordable housing. See our communities here.
  • Hayden and Craig have their own housing authorities and the town of Oak Creek has received funding for a housing demand study.
  • We are working with all three municipalities to share best practices and leverage our experiences to benefit the residents of NW Colorado.

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24. What is Area Median Income (AMI)?

YVHA uses AMI’s as the metric to determine eligibility for all of our housing communities. YVHA follows the traditional rule that monthly housing costs should be approximately 30% of one’s monthly gross income (i.e., income before taxes). Community members at a variety of income levels starting at $15,150 (20% Area Median Income (AMI)) to $189,750 (250% AMI) will live at Brown Ranch. See the chart below for the 2023 income levels for the Brown Ranch.

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YVHA Fact Sheets

YVHA Fact Sheet

YVHA
Fact Sheet

2023 AMI Fact Sheet

YVHA
2023 AMI Fact Sheet

To view the fact sheets in an interactive flipbook, click on the document image.  To download the full PDF click the “Download PDF” button.

En español

YVHA fact sheet en español

Hoja informativa de YVHA

2023 AMI fact sheet en español

Hoja informativa sobre el ingreso medio del área de 2023