NEWS

Brown Ranch in the News and Media

News

Why some employers are building their own workforce housing

The Yampa Valley Bugle Street Light

March 18, 2024

Many American workers can’t find housing they can afford near their jobs, tying them to lengthy, expensive commutes.

Some eventually give up, finding new jobs in places where their work and homes are a bit closer together.

Some cities and employers hope to prevent a housing shortage from chipping away at their workforce and essential local services, like healthcare.

Mary Wirta is the human resources manager for UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. She said the hospital is experiencing its highest turnover rate yet, which she attributes to the cost and availability of housing.[…]

There are parks at Brown Ranch. What do they look like and when may they be built?

The Yampa Valley Bugle

March 18, 2024

Brown Ranch Annexation Agreement includes 63 acres of parkland, 125 acres of open space, eight miles of trails and the long-talked-about Steamboat Sports Barn.

The Brown Ranch annexation agreement includes nearly 63 acres of parkland, of which roughly 40 acres will be developed by the city of Steamboat Springs, and 23 acres will be developed by the Yampa Valley Housing Authority.

In addition to this parkland, the project also includes 8.5 acres that will have an indoor sports barn and outdoor fields built in partnership with a local community group that has long been pushing for a sports barn. The plan also includes 125 acres of open space and eight miles of trails.[…]

Brown Ranch is talked about as affordable and attainable housing, but what does that mean?

The Yampa Valley Bugle

March 18, 2024

The annexation agreement includes a section specifically focused on ensuring units will be affordable and attainable now and into the future.

The Brown Ranch promises to be affordable and attainable housing for locals in and around Steamboat Springs now and into the future, but what does that mean?

The term affordable has become a somewhat catchall term for housing being developed locally, with private developers often presenting market-rate projects as affordable when looking for development approval from city officials.

The Yampa Valley Housing Authority defines affordable as paying roughly 30% of a person’s income toward housing, a standard used across the country.[…]

How does Brown Ranch cover the increased cost of Steamboat Springs city services it will spur?

The Yampa Valley Bugle

March 18, 2024

The Yampa Valley Housing Authority has agreed to pay $1,203 per unit per year to offset additional operating costs for city services.
The Brown Ranch will lead to additional costs to the city of Steamboat Springs, but it also requires the Yampa Valley Housing Authority to make a $1,203 payment, per year per unit to offset these additional costs.

This payment is referred to in the Brown Ranch Annexation Agreement as an annual operating contribution.

The annexation agreement — which Steamboat Springs Voters will consider on March 26 — includes a section specifically devoted to the ongoing costs of city services, and how they will be paid for as the Brown Ranch Builds out. The section specifically addresses numerous city services like costs for police and fire response, a micro-transit system and street services like snowplowing.[…]

$1 million appropriation cinches funding for trail tunnel

Steamboat Pilot & Today

March 12, 2024

A Steamboat Springs engineering plan to extend the Yampa River Core Trail west to Sleepy Bear Mobile Home Park and to create a tunnel pathway under U.S. Highway 40 to the Overlook Park subdivision received notice Friday of the final $1 million in funding needed to move forward.

The $1 million was part of Senate appropriation bills announced by Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet for congressionally directed spending of almost $130 million in projects across Colorado.[…]

What is Steamboat Springs’ capital gap because of Brown Ranch?

The Yampa Valley Bugle

March 9, 2024

The Brown Ranch Annexation Agreement does not identify a specific number as the city’s so-called “capital gap” for project infrastructure, as the annexation agreement itself does not identify the revenue the project is expected to create.

Instead, the capital gap has been viewed by city officials in various ways and based on different assumptions through the annexation negotiation process.

Perhaps the most important factor in assessing the capital gap is how much of the city’s share of short-term rental tax revenues will be allocated to the project — a decision that will be made by future City Councils, not the annexation agreement being considered on March 26. […]

Why does the Brown Ranch annexation agreement allow for 2,264 housing units?

The Yampa Valley Bugle

March 9, 2024

A housing demand study conducted in 2021 by the Yampa Valley Housing Authority estimated a need of 1,400 units to meet current workforce demands, 1,961 units by 2030, and 2,400 units by 2040.

The Brown Ranch Annexation Agreement Steamboat Springs voters will consider on March 26 allows for up to 2,264 housing units to be built on the approximately 420 acres of land.

That number comes from a 2021 housing demand study that the Yampa Valley Housing Authority conducted with consultant RCLCO for the Brown Ranch Community Development Plan. […]

Polis, CDOT ‘enthusiastically’ support Brown Ranch after email from agency official implies otherwise

The Yampa Valley Bugle

March 8, 2024

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis still “fully and enthusiastically” supports the Brown Ranch, despite an email from a top Colorado Department of Transportation official sent last week saying the agency “did not fully support” key infrastructure needed for the development at the direction of the Governor’s office.

On Feb. 28, CDOT’s Region Three Transportation Director Jason Smith emailed the city of Steamboat Springs’ grants specialist to say the agency was not ready to provide a letter of support for a federal grant application due last week.[…]

A ‘cowboy ski town’ where high earners can’t afford a home faces a housing battle

NBC News

March 3, 2024

Despite offering a salary of $167,000, the city of Steamboat Springs can’t find a head of human resources who can afford a place to live in the remote Colorado community surrounded by ranches and famous for training Olympic athletes.

At the Steamboat hospital, doctors willing to pay more than $1 million for a home have been repeatedly outbid by all-cash, out-of-town buyers, and housing costs have caused some positions to go unfilled for more than two years. The local ski resort has been leasing a hotel for its employees to live in as the homes they once rented are increasingly turned into short-term rentals for visitors.[…]

What will Brown Ranch transit look like and how was it impacted by Steamboat’s struggle to fund current service?

The Yampa Valley Bugle

February 19, 2024

Transit plan in the Brown Ranch Annexation Agreement doesn’t require additional funding from Steamboat’s general fund, but it isn’t as robust as some had hoped.

While the vision for Brown Ranch has long included a robust transit network, the annexation agreement does not promise the level of service the Yampa Valley Housing Authority was initially looking for.

Under the deal voters will consider on March 26, the city will adjust the western edge of bus routes, moving a stop currently by the KOA Campground across U.S. 40 to the entrance of the Brown Ranch. The operating cost increase incurred by moving the stop is considered negligible.[…]

How will Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue need to expand because of Brown Ranch?

The Yampa Valley Bugle

February 19, 2024

Annexation agreement requires YVHA to pay for 75% of new public safety facility at Brown Ranch and 78% of the cost of new fire apparatus.

Annexing Brown Ranch into the city of Steamboat Springs will require the city and fire district to increase the capacity of Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue and accelerate the need for a fire station on the west side of town.

The Brown Ranch will include a combined public safety facility housing Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue and Steamboat Springs Police Department personnel as part of the development, according to the Brown Ranch Annexation Agreement voters will consider in March.[…]

Does Steamboat Springs have enough water for Brown Ranch?

The Yampa Valley Bugle

February 9, 2024

The city’s current capacity can accommodate more than 1,100 new units, but Steamboat will need another treatment plant on the Elk River before the full build-out of Brown Ranch can happen.

While water has been a major “tripping point” in previous annexation attempts, efforts the City of Steamboat Springs took in 2020 to lease water out of Steamboat Lake means the Elk River is a viable third water source for the city.

Because of the Elk River source, Steamboat Springs has access to enough raw water for the full build-out of the Brown Ranch and the city’s current water capacity can accommodate roughly half the project’s units without significant upgrades.[…]

Where did the Brown Ranch come from and what has been said about the anonymous donor?

The Yampa Valley Bugle

February 9, 2024

YVHA is the sole owner of the Brown Ranch, even though the land was purchased with a $24 million anonymous donation.

The Yampa Valley Housing Authority purchased the 536-acre Brown Ranch with an anonymous donation in August 2021, starting the third attempt to build a significant housing project on land directly adjacent to Steamboat Springs’ western city limits.

The donor — who remains anonymous — donated $24 million to the Yampa Valley Housing Authority, which then used the money to purchase the property from owner Steamboat 700 LLC. The housing authority owns the Brown Ranch, not the anonymous donor.[…]

Steamboat has been talking about affordable housing for more than 50 years

The Yampa Valley Bugle

February 2, 2024

In less than two months, Steamboat Springs voters will make a decision that will impact the community for decades no matter the outcome.

The vote on whether to annex 400 acres of the Brown Ranch into the city of Steamboat Springs has been in the making since August 2021, when the Yampa Valley Housing Authority purchased the property with an anonymous donation.

But the conversation about a lack of affordable housing in Steamboat dates back further. Much further.[…]

Where did the Yampa Valley Housing Authority come from and what has it built?

The Yampa Valley Bugle

February 2, 2024

The Yampa Valley Housing Authority was created in 2003 through an intergovernmental agreement between the city of Steamboat Springs and Routt County.

When established, YVHA took on assets held by the Regional Affordable Living Foundation, a private nonprofit founded in 1997 with the mission of addressing housing woes. When formed, a major upside expressed by the city and county of a housing authority over a standard nonprofit was the potential to ask voters for funding in the future.[…]

Introducing “Brown Ranch — Explained”

The Yampa Valley Bugle

February 2, 2024

I have written dozens of stories about the Brown Ranch. Other than maybe COVID-19, the Brown Ranch is probably the single topic that I have written about the most in my time career as a journalist.

I was there the day YVHA closed on the Brown Ranch, have attended nearly all of the annexation committee meetings in person and have rewatched much of these conversations again after the fact. While at the Steamboat Pilot & Today, I pushed to ensure we were covering those annexation meetings, and I have continued to do that for The Yampa Valley Bugle.[…]

John Chalstrom: Steamboat has a choice to make — Bedford Falls or Pottersville?

Steamboat Pilot & Today

December 19, 2023

It’s that time of year again — time to huddle around the fireplace on a cold, snowy day and watch holiday movies. I forego the Hallmark Channel with its abundance of predictable storylines and head straight for the classics. And no holiday movie is more poignant than “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Most are familiar with Frank Capra’s 1946 classic story of small-town dreamer George Bailey, who yearns for a life of adventure outside his rural New York mountain community. But commitment to family and friends in a town he dearly loves keeps him entrenched in a profession he resents — until he is given the gift of seeing what life would be like had he not been born at all.[…]

Steamboat Council eyes March 26 for special election to decide Brown Ranch Annexation

The Yampa Valley Bugle

December 13, 2023

Council could have waited until January to pick election date but informally chose the late March date on Tuesday.

Steamboat Springs City Council decided March 26 will be the date of the citywide election to decide the fate of Brown Ranch Annexation on Tuesday.

The move came as part of a discussion to certify the referendum petition submitted by the Let Steamboat Vote campaign, a step that needed to happen before Council could decide how to proceed. Council could opt to simply repeal the annexation ordinance, but there was no support on Council for that.[…]

Steamboat considers potential dates for voter referendum on Brown Ranch annexation

Steamboat Pilot & Today

December 7, 2023

With a successful citizens’ petition aiming to send the Brown Ranch annexation decision to a voter referendum certified by the Steamboat Springs city clerk on Nov. 27, City Council decided Tuesday on a tentative schedule over how to move forward.

Organized under the Let Steamboat Vote — Brown Ranch Annexation Committee, the petition collected 2,016 signatures, of which roughly 25% were rejected by the clerk’s office for a range of irregularities.

The signature campaign came after the previous City Council voted 4-3 to annex 420 acres of the Brown Ranch property in October as a way to see the construction of more than 2,000 affordable housing units on the land, owned by the Yampa Valley Housing Authority, by 2044.[…]

Recommended schedule has Brown Ranch vote lining up to be in late March or early April

The Yampa Valley Bugle

December 6, 2023

City Attorney trying to avoid overlapping special election with presidential or state primary elections.

An election to decide Brown Ranch Annexation could happen at the end of March or early April, based on a timeline laid out by Steamboat Springs City Attorney Dan Foote and moved forward by City Council on Tuesday.

In October, Council approved Brown Ranch Annexation without referring it to a public vote after initially planning to send it to voters. The Let Steamboat Vote petition campaign spent the next month gathering signatures to require annexation go to a public vote.[…]

Steamboat Springs clerk certifies Brown Ranch annexation petition; decision headed for a voter referendum

Steamboat Pilot & Today

November 29, 2023

Steamboat Springs City Clerk Julie Franklin announced Tuesday that her office has certified a referendum petition for the city’s annexation of Brown Ranch.

Organized under the Let Steamboat Vote — Brown Ranch Annexation Committee, the petition collected 2,016 signatures, of which 494 were rejected by the clerk’s office for a variety of reasons including names not being found on the city’s voter registration list, the address of the signature not matching voter records, and signatures being illegible or not including dates.

Despite the rejections, the accepted 1,522 signatures collected by committee surpassed the threshold needed to force the Brown Ranch annexation decision to a voter referendum.[…]

Steamboat Clerk certifies Brown Ranch petition, council to discuss election date next week

The Yampa Valley Bugle

November 29, 2023

Nearly 500 signatures were thrown out, but there were still more than the 1,133 signatures needed to force a vote.

Steamboat Springs City Clerk Julie Franklin has certified more than 1,500 signatures submitted by the Let Steamboat Vote campaign, well above the 1,133-signature threshold needed to force the question of Brown Ranch annexation to a city-wide vote.

Petitioners submitted more than 1,900 signatures to the city ahead of a Nov. 17 deadline, but just under 500 signatures were tossed out for several reasons. Some signers were not registered to vote, didn’t live in the city limits, or omitted some key information.[…]

YVHA gets $7 million in state grants for Brown Ranch infrastructure projects

Steamboat Pilot & Today

November 10, 2023

The Yampa Valley Housing Authority received a pair of notices this week that the Colorado Department of Local Affairs has offered two grants totaling almost $7 million to support onsite infrastructure development needed to build the Brown Ranch affordable housing development.

One grant, drawn from the state’s More Housing Now & Land Use Initiative and valued at $1.9 million, will support construction of wastewater infrastructure for the initial construction phase of the project, which will contain 400-800 affordable housing units restricted to local workforce households. In addition, commercial and civic amenities will include a child care center, fire station and a grocery store.[…]

Letter: Brown Ranch will provide housing for Steamboat Springs athletes like me

Steamboat Pilot & Today

November 8, 2023

My great-great-grandmother came to Steamboat Springs in a covered wagon in the late 1800s. My family has called Steamboat home for generations. I grew up in Steamboat and attended school in Steamboat.

I followed the dream of so many young athletes in our town. I trained with the Winter Sports Club and at 20, I now train and compete with the U.S. Ski Team. I am ranked third in the country in Freestyle skiing, and I am on the path to compete in the 2026 Olympics in Italy.

I represent Steamboat Springs with my whole heart as I chase my dreams on the international ski circuit. When I think of my future, I would love to be able to rent and own a home in the city I represent one day. Unfortunately, right now I am not even close to being able to afford rent.[…]

Statement from YVHA Executive Director, Jason Peasley, on results of Ballot Initiative 2i that dedicates funding to the Brown Ranch

Yampa Valley Housing Authority

November 8, 2023

“On behalf of the Yampa Valley Housing Authority, we would like to thank the voters of Steamboat Springs for dedicating 75% of the existing short-term rental tax to building affordable and attainable housing at the Brown Ranch. I’m just incredibly grateful for the commitment that the community is making. This financial commitment to Brown Ranch is foundational. The land donation was transformational, the investment of our local resources is foundational.

We would also like to thank the many community members that engaged in dialogue about the Brown Ranch. Your love of our community is the inspiration that moves us forward. Productive dialogue is not always easy, and it is not always civil, but your engagement is appreciated. We believe that we can come together to solve our problems and we at YVHA want to be part of the solution of solving our affordable housing crisis for our local workforce.[…]

‘The work begins now’: Steamboat makes historic commitment to affordable housing at Brown Ranch

The Yampa Valley Bugle

November 8, 2023

Steamboat Springs Ballot Measure 2I to dedicate 75% of short-term rental tax revenues approved by margin of 487 votes, with just 150 votes outstanding.

More than two years after the property was anonymously donated to the Yampa Valley Housing Authority, Steamboat Springs voters allocated dedicated funding to the Brown Ranch on Tuesday in another vote reaffirming the community’s desire for a solution to its decades-long housing crisis.

By a margin that grew to 487 votes through the night, Steamboat approved Ballot Measure 2I with votes falling 55% for ‘yes’ and 45% for ‘no.’ With 150 votes remaining, measure 2I was passing with 2,777 ‘yes’ votes and 2,290 ‘no’ votes. […]

Steamboat voters approve short-term rental tax revenue to fund Brown Ranch

Steamboat Pilot & Today

November 8, 2023

Steamboat Springs voters approved a ballot question Tuesday to allocate 75% of the city’s short-term rental tax revenues to the Yampa Valley Housing Authority through 2042 for the purpose of funding the Brown Ranch affordable housing project.

Unofficial election results released by the Routt County Clerk’s office Tuesday evening showed 54.8% of the 4,633 Steamboat voters who considered Question No. 2I opted to support the measure, which will lock in the city’s short-term tax revenue at a 9% rate levied on individual bookings in the city and direct the majority of the money collected to the housing authority to support the affordable housing development.

The remaining 25% of the short-term tax revenue will go to the city to support affordable housing projects.[…]

Guest column: Brown Ranch keeps Steamboat Steamboat

Steamboat Pilot & Today

November 4, 2023

Brown Ranch is the solution for keeping Steamboat Steamboat.

It is an unprecedented opportunity with benefits that range from providing affordable and attainable housing for all levels of the workforce to directing the growth west of town, which protects the South Valley and the feeling one gets when coming down the pass, marveling at how lucky we are to live here and knowing 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 City Council is a sound agreement.[…]

Guest column: If you support Brown Ranch, don’t sign the petition

Steamboat Pilot & Today

November 4, 2023

I am disheartened by the disingenuous messaging of the “Let Steamboat Vote” campaign. I’ve had several people come to me with concerns that the petitioners are misleading and “duping” our community.

Two people were at the ski and snowboard swap at Howelsen said the petitioners were claiming, “If you support Brown Ranch, sign the petition.” Another was told, “If you support affordable housing, sign the petition.”

The petition would delay Brown Ranch, and those who are running the petition are diametrically opposed to the Brown Ranch. If you sign the petition, you cannot remove your signature. So be careful what you sign.[…]

How a call from Colorado Gov. Jared Polis helped swing Steamboat’s Brown Ranch annexation vote

Steamboat Pilot & Today

October 29, 2023

“Please hold for Governor Polis.”

On the day before she and her colleagues were slated to vote on second reading of the Brown Ranch annexation ordinance, Steamboat Springs City Council member Joella West said the start of a phone call from Gov. Jared Polis felt a bit surreal.

“It was just like in the movies,” West said, adding that she had never received a direct call from the governor before and doesn’t expect to receive one in the future.

The week prior, West had joined the majority in a 4-3 decision to send the Brown Ranch annexation decision to a referendum tentatively scheduled for June, but at second reading on Oct. 17, a day after speaking to the governor, she changed her vote, opting instead to approve the annexation by a City Council vote.[…]

Guest column: Know the top 10 facts about Brown Ranch

Steamboat Pilot & Today

October 26, 2023

In an environment where disinformation and misinformation are rampant, the Yampa Valley Housing Authority Board compiled these facts to educate the community about the Brown Ranch.

More information is available at BrownRanchSteamboat.org.

1. Fact: Steamboat Springs is in a housing crisis. We know we need 1,400 housing units now for existing workers. Businesses, schools, the hospital and nonprofits cannot hire the staff they need because there is no housing workers can afford.

2. Fact: Brown Ranch is phased, responsible growth that has been contemplated for years.[…]

Gov. Jared Polis’ support for Brown Ranch factored into Steamboat Council’s annexation decision

The Yampa Valley Bugle

October 20, 2023

A letter from the Department of Local Affairs warned a delay to annexation could put $15 million in grant funding at risk.

In the 36 hours before casting the deciding vote to annex the Brown Ranch into the city of Steamboat Springs without a public vote, Council member Joella West got a call from Colorado Gov. Jared Polis.

“When you pick up the phone, you say this doesn’t look like I’m going to know who it is and the voice on the other end of the line says, ‘Will you hold for Gov. Polis please,’” West recalled at Tuesday’s council meeting. “So I talked to the governor for a while about Brown Ranch and tried to explain not only what my concerns were, but the potential solutions that I hope we could all find.” […]

Council reverses on public vote; Annexes Brown Ranch in dramatic vote to shape Steamboat’s future

The Yampa Valley Bugle

October 18, 2023

The 4-3 vote saw Council Member Joella West change her vote to support annexing the planned 2,262 unit development that promises to heal Steamboat’s decades-long housing pain without a public vote.

In a dramatic reversal, Steamboat Springs City Council approved Brown Ranch annexation in the early hours of Wednesday without subjecting it to a city-wide referendum — a move that only became possible when Council Member Joella West switched her vote.

Council’s 4-3 vote means annexation will not automatically be referred to a special election, an about-face from last week’s decision that saw West join the other three council members to insist annexation be in the hands of Steamboat voters.[…]

City Council passes Brown Ranch annexation ordinance on second reading; reverses course on public vote

October 18, 2023

Steamboat Springs City Council passed an ordinance to annex Brown Ranch during a marathon meeting that began Tuesday.

After more than five hours of discussion, public comments, questions to city staff and, at times, heated back and forth between council members, the ordinance passed 4-3 in the early morning hours Wednesday.

Council members Joella West, Dakotah McGinlay, Michael Buccino and Gail Garey voted to approve the annexation outright. Ed Briones, Heather Sloop and Robin Crossan voted against the annexation after stating their preference that it be sent to voters.[…]

How does the Brown Ranch Annexation Agreement ensure housing will be affordable for locals?

October 16, 2023

The annexation agreement includes a section specifically focused on ensuring units will be affordable and attainable now and into the future.

Social media posts are often quick to declare that the Brown Ranch will not be affordable housing, but largely ignore details in the annexation that are in place to ensure units will be kept affordable and attainable.

In fact, the annexation agreement city council approved last month includes a whole section about how housing built at Brown Ranch — whether rental or for sale units — will be kept affordable now and in to the future. An additional 13-page exhibit to the annexation agreement further lays out affordability. […]

Brown Ranch annexation timeline frustrates housing authority

October 15, 2023

With second reading of the Brown Ranch annexation ordinance set for Tuesday, Yampa Valley Housing Authority Executive Director Jason Peasley is hoping Steamboat Springs City Council members will change course on a decision to refer the matter to voters next summer.

The annexation of Brown Ranch would bring 534 acres west of downtown Steamboat under the control of the city after the housing authority purchased the land with a $24 million anonymous donation in 2021. Plans for the project would see 2,264 affordable housing units, available for rent and for ownership, built over the 20-year lifespan of the project.[…]

City Council agrees to send Brown Ranch annexation decision to Steamboat Springs voters

October 11, 2023

The question of whether Steamboat Springs should annex the Brown Ranch property for the purpose of constructing more than 2,000 affordable housing units will be decided by voters after a 4-3 City Council vote Tuesday night.

During the first reading of the annexation ordinance, Robin Crossan, Joella West, Heather Sloop and Ed Briones voted to approve the agreement with a stipulation that it be enacted with voter approval.

Unless changes are made at the council’s second reading of the ordinance next week, the annexation vote will take place June 25 of next year.[…]

Brown Ranch annexation will be decided by Steamboat Springs voters

October 10, 2023

Brown Ranch annexation will be decided by Steamboat Springs voters

The question of whether to annex the Brown Ranch into the city limits of Steamboat Springs will be decided in a public vote, city council decided on Tuesday, a move that will delay when the first units at the development will be available.

In a 4-3 vote, a majority of Council President Robin Crossan and council members Joella West, Heather Sloop and Ed Briones voted to approve the agreement and delay implementation until the voters weigh in. […]

Letter: Now is the time; Brown Ranch is the place

October 10, 2023

I am writing as a volunteer member of the development team of the Yampa Valley Housing Authority. My experience for almost all my career was as owner of 50% in commercial real estate development entity. My experience with the YVHA has covered the last five years or so.

This is all said only to show that I have some experience that informs my view on the current situation of the annexation and the ballot measure 2i. It does the same for insight into the working of the YVHA. At the outset, I will say without equivocation that this is a fine, well-run and motivated group set on one goal and one only: increasing the amount affordable and sustainable residential units, and every single dollar received or spent goes and has gone directly to that goal. […]

Guest column: The truth about Brown Ranch is Steamboat desperately needs it

October 10, 2023

Heather DeVos’ Oct. 3 column regarding the Brown Ranch project propagates a number of misconceptions about this important initiative. Contrary to her position, the evidence of our housing crisis is obvious, the ranch is the right location to address the need, the funding plan includes no new taxes and the development methodology — a public-private partnership — is a well-proven, time-tested approach to meeting community-development needs.

Our current need for affordable workforce housing, demonstrated through detailed market research, community surveys and social media forums, is immense. Our employers are desperate for workers, but most candidates — bartenders, plumbers, teachers, even doctors — can’t find decent, affordable places to live.[…]

Steamboat City Council member Michael Buccino on Brown Ranch annexation: ‘We need to do this’

October 9, 2023

In less than a month, a ballot question will ask Steamboat voters whether to direct 75% of the city’s annual short-term rental tax collections to the Yampa Valley Housing Authority to fund the affordable housing development at Brown Ranch.

If approved, the funding would support the planned development of more than 2,264 housing units on a 534-acre plot of land purchased by the housing authority in 2021 with a $24 million anonymous donation.

The project would provide deed-restricted affordable housing options intended for locally employed residents and would be constructed over three phases planned for completion by 2042.[…]

Zoning framework for Brown Ranch approved by Steamboat Planning Commission

October 2, 2023

The Brown Ranch affordable housing development took another step forward last week after the Steamboat Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve a zoning framework for the project.

The zoning framework, which must be finalized by a City Council vote, is needed to set development standards for the Brown Ranch property should the land be annexed into the city.

The Yampa Valley Housing Authority submitted the zoning application for Brown Ranch as part of the agency’s effort to guide the development of 2,264 affordable housing units on the Brown Ranch property by 2024. The authority purchased Brown Ranch in 2021 after receiving an anonymous donation of $24 million.[…]

Guest column: The Michaels’ approach to Brown Ranch will build community, not just homes

October 2, 2023

In Steamboat Springs, a new era in community development is underway. As Yampa Valley Housing Authority’s builder, developer and property manager partner, The Michaels Organization brings a distinct approach to housing communities, and that approach defines this project.

For close to five decades, Michaels has been a national cornerstone in affordable housing, prioritizing environments where individuals and families truly prosper. Building communities that lift lives is the heart of our work.

Now, let’s delve into the Brown Ranch project.[…]

Steamboat council sets stage for Brown Ranch annexation ordinance decision

September 20, 2023

Steamboat Springs City Council approved an annexation agreement for the Brown Ranch affordable housing development in a 5-2 vote Tuesday night, setting the stage for council members to decide on a formal annexation ordinance that, if approved, would officially bring the land into the city.

The Yampa Valley Housing Authority purchased the 534-acre Brown Ranch using a $24 million donation in 2021. The planned development would provide housing to qualified residents earning between 60% and 258% of the area median income. […]

Brown Ranch Annexation Agreement approved by Steamboat Springs City Council

September 19, 2023

Approval of the agreement is an important step, but does not annex the land into the city limits.

In a 5-2 vote on Tuesday, Steamboat Springs City Council passed a resolution approving the Brown Ranch Annexation Agreement with the Yampa Valley Housing Authority, a crucial — but not final — step on the path toward growing the boundaries of the city to include the proposed affordable housing development. […]

Steamboat Springs, Housing Authority arrive at Brown Ranch annexation agreement language

September 13, 2023

City council will consider a resolution approving the agreement next week, but that doesn’t annex the Brown Ranch. Actual annexation will be considered in October.

After another meeting that extended late into the night on Tuesday, Steamboat Springs City Council and the Yampa Valley Housing Authority have completed the draft of the Brown Ranch Annexation Agreement that council will consider approving in a resolution next week. […]

Brown Ranch ballot language finalized; City Council votes to remove regional park costs from project

September 6, 2023

After an extended and at times heated Steamboat Springs City Council discussion Tuesday night, officials approved sending a ballot measure to be decided in November asking voters to allocate 75% of short-term rental tax revenues to the Yampa Valley Housing Authority for the planned development of 2,000-plus affordable housing units by 2042.[…]

Brown Ranch annexation agreement closer than ever, but it now has a hard deadline

September 6, 2023

Steamboat Council intends to review the agreement line-by-line next week; will consider a resolution approving the agreement on Sept. 19.

Steamboat Springs City Council and the Yampa Valley Housing Authority made several strides toward a finalized annexation agreement on Tuesday, though that agreement now needs to be finalized before the end of the month. […]

Four votes put question of sustainable STR Tax revenues for Brown Ranch in Steamboat voter’s hands

September 6, 2023

Each of the four votes in support of the question Tuesday came from council members elected in 2021 to address affordable housing.

Four Steamboat Springs City Council members voted to ask voters to dedicate long-term funding raised by a voter-approved tax on short-term rentals to the Yampa Valley Housing Authority’s Brown Ranch affordable housing project on Tuesday.[…]

Guest column: The cost of doing nothing at Brown Ranch is real

September 5, 2023

FACT: Steamboat Springs has both a housing crisis and an employment crisis. For years now, we’ve seen the working-age share of the local population shrink, largely due to the high cost of living here. According to the Colorado Futures Center, Steamboat Springs has 1,000 fewer workers now than we did in 2010, and Routt County has one of the fastest declining workforces in the state. This labor shortage has reduced revenues and increased costs for local businesses. Those operating close to the margin will likely close their doors.[…]

Brown Ranch annexation getting closer to agreement as ballot question deadline looms

August 30, 2023

A key issue remaining is what performance metrics will be in the agreement, which could reduce or end funding for the project if not met.

Several key developments moved the city of Steamboat Springs and Yampa Valley Housing Authority closer to a Brown Ranch Annexation agreement on Tuesday ahead of an all-important city council meeting on Sept. 5. […]

Brown Ranch negotiations advance as development’s future hangs in the balance

August 24, 2023

On Wednesday, Jason Peasley, executive director of the Yampa Valley Housing Authority, said he had a “totally positive” outlook regarding the prospects of the Brown Ranch housing development becoming a reality in the coming years.

The outlook differed from the perspective he had expressed the night before.

Standing outside city hall during a break in the almost eight-hour Steamboat Springs City Council meeting, Peasley had described ongoing negotiations over the project as “a rollercoaster ride.”[…]

Steamboat Council drops demand for regional park at Brown Ranch

August 23, 2023

Council was vague in the reasoning for the change after discussing the regional park in an closed-door session.

Steamboat Springs City Council made a stark reversal on Tuesday, dropping their insistence that the Yampa Valley Housing Authority provide land for a regional park as part of Brown Ranch annexation after meeting in executive session.[…]

U.S. 40 traffic study shows Brown Ranch accelerates need for improvements, but doesn’t cause them

August 23, 2023

A significant part of the road upgrades are the responsibility of the city, but how to pay for them is an elusive question.

A 1,600-page traffic study conducted as part of the Brown Ranch annexation process shows that traffic on U.S. Highway 40 isn’t broken right now, but it will deteriorate over time — with or without the more than 2,200 housing units Brown Ranch plans to provide. […]

Key issues like ballot language, regional park and water rights remain for Brown Ranch annexation

August 22, 2023

Steamboat Springs City Council and the Yampa Valley Housing Authority are working to have a finalized agreement approved via resolution on Sept. 5.

After setting an aggressive timeline in January to pull a Brown Ranch annexation agreement together in a fraction of the time previous deals have taken to be struck, things are now getting down to the wire. […]

Council approves first reading of Brown Ranch funding question locking in 9% STR tax rate