The Brown Ranch Community Development Plan

Designed by the community, for the community.

5. The Details

5.1 Neighborhoods & Blocks

5.2 Sustainability Framework

5.3 Mobility

5.4 Infrastructure

5.5 Health Equity

5.6 Community Engagement Summary

5.7 Focus Teams

5.1 Neighborhoods & Blocks


Guidelines for building-to-sidewalk relationships that support a vibrant pedestrian experience.

Neighborhood Cores follow the Steamboat TND Zone frontage standards, with an adjustment for residential uses fronting the urban sidewalk. Brown Ranch also  recommends minimum ground floor ceiling heights for viability and quality of commercial spaces and live/work.


Guidelines for building-to-sidewalk relationships that support a vibrant pedestrian experience.

Greenway & Open Space frontages follow the Steamboat TND Zone frontage standards, with an adjustment for residential uses fronting the urban sidewalk.


Typical blocks consist of up to 20 parcels at proportions that create the compact and walkable character of Brown Ranch.

Typical blocks are 226’ wide by 380’ long, creating a walkable grid while allowing for the flexibility to combine parcels in multiple ways dependent on housing type.  Each block contains a 24’ wide alley for access, parking, and utilities, with a 5’ snow clearing easement on the parcels on either side. Typical single parcels  are 35’ wide by 101’ long, with corner parcels 45’ wide and 101’ long. Each block may contain a 10’ wide mid-block pedestrian connector. Alleys may turn  dependent on the block’s adjacency to greenways and emergency vehicle access needs. See the “frontage” sheets for suggested setbacks for buildings from parcel  lines.

North-south oriented blocks maximize the solar PV potential of roofs, create more equitablyshaded streets throughout the seasons, and maximize the passive ventilation potential based on the region’s prevailing wind directions.


Higher density blocks made up of mixed-use buildings with apartments above retail, small condo buildings, and townhouses.

Unit Types:
Open Space:
Unit Count:
  • 60-120 UNITS PER BLOCK

Lincoln Blocks: Land Area & Unit Mix

A majority of the multifamily apartment buildings (or condo buildings when ownership) will be located in the Lincoln blocks. 50% of the land area in the Lincoln  blocks is intended for for this building type. 40% of the land area is intended for single-family attached units (rowhouses, fourplexes/ sixplexes, or townhomes arranged around a courtyard), and the remaining 10% could be reserved for single-family homes with the option of ADUs above the garage.

Surface parking will be  required to accommodate any parking beyond 1 covered space per unit, to meet the average of 1.6 spaces per unit. Surface lots should be limited in size to no more than 40% of the land area dedicated to development parcels within any given block. Non-residential parking will be accommodated through street parking  and surface lots shared with residential parking. Shared-use agreements should be considered to allow commercial parking spaces to be used by residents at night.


Moderate density blocks that contain a mix of single family attached, single-family detached, ADUs, and small to medium apartment buildings.

Unit Types:
Open Space:
Units Per Block:

Oak Blocks: Land Area & Unit Mix

The land area in Oak blocks is intended to be divided almost equally between the three housing types (35% multi-family, 35% single family attached, and 30%  single family detached). The housing types may be clustered or scattered, but all three types will be present on each block.

The moderate density allows for more pocket parks in addition to small yards. Surface parking will be required to accommodate additional parking, beyond 1 covered space per unit, to meet the average of 1.6 spaces per unit. Surface lots should be limited in size to no more than 40% of the land area dedicated to development parcels within any given block.


Lower density blocks that contain a mix of single-family attached, single-family detached, ADUs, and small to medium apartments buildings.

Unit Types:
Open Space:
Units Per Block:

Pine Blocks: Land Area & Unit Mix

Single family detached homes will make up a majority of the land area in Pine blocks (60%). Approximately 25% of the block will be dedicated to single family  attached homes and the remaining 15% may include smaller multi-family buildings with apartments or condos.

Pocket parks, particularly adjacent to the multi-family buildings can be included in the block pattern. Any surface parking in these blocks to accommodate more than 1:1 parking should be clustered into small  lots and make up no more than 25% of the total block area.


The gridded network of streets, greenways, and alleys work together to create the necessary emergency access.

Within certain multifamily blocks, strategically-placed plazas, fire lanes, and surface lots with access lanes work as a system to meet the fire hose pull and access requirements. In general, alleys in the plan do not intersect the “Village Core” or “Residential Connector” street types, nor is there continuous vehicular access to  greenways. The plan at right illustrates examples of intentional access within these zones.


The design for Brown Ranch builds on the City’s recent work establishing the TND zoning code. While this zoning provides a solid base for the project, there are  some components that would need to be modified in order for the zoning to align with the proposed design. Additionally, we recommend a review of by right vs.  conditional use for certain elements in order to expedite approvals and deliver homes faster.

The following are some recommendations for thinking holistically about how the proposed design for Brown Ranch aligns with existing zoning.


The Brown Ranch development plan uses three of the five TND transect zones. T3- Neighborhood General medium density, T4- Neighborhood Center, and T5-  Town Core are the three designations that best align with the project goals tied to balancing project economics, demand, and sustainability.

Sec. 228, T2-NE & Sec. 229, T3-NG1

Reconsider if these designations are needed. It prevents lower income housing options from being located adjacent to regional open space and requires a  significant amount of infrastructure per household.


The Brown Ranch development plan is predicated on the idea that mixing housing types and housing densities will create a more diverse, integrated community.  The TND zoning currently alllows for and even requires mixed building types, but does not allow for the level of mixing suggested in the Development Plan.

Sec. 230, T3-NG2

Consider allowing 9+ unit buildings.

Sec. 231, T4-NC

Consider allowing single-family homes.

Sec. 605.E, Blocks

In addition to requiring 3 building types per block in T3-NG2 and T4-NC zones, consider adding minimum and maximum percentages for each type that roughly  align with the percentages captured in the block strategy section.

Consider adding a requirement for building type mixing for T5-TC as well.

Sec. 424.E, Multiple-Family Residential Building

Types, and Sec. 424.F, Mixed-Use Building Type

The Development Plan makes a distinction between Single-Family Attached, Single-Family Detached, and  Apartments. This is based on the Demand Study and Project Economics evaluations. Bungalow Courts, Rowhouses, and in some cases Triplex and Fourplex  types serve a different set of accessibility needs and economic levels than the apartments, and have different implications for loans and stewardship models.  Brown Ranch will likely have a significant number of LIHTC buildings that will fall closer to the 50-90 unit number, which might warrant a different type of approval process than a 10 unit building, but may not be “mixed-use”. Consider revising the Building Types to better align with the development plan.

  • Single-Family
  • Single-Family Attached (Bungalow Court, Rowhouse, maybe Triplex & Fourplex)
  • Apartments (5-8 units, 9-30 units, 30+ units)
  • Mixed-Use (as currently described)


The following elements currently proposed in the Development Plan for Brown Ranch would require conditional use approval in the TND zoning. Allowing these  elements to occur by right may simplify the development approvals process and help expedite delivery of units.


Sec. 605.C General Standards

This section precludes any subdivision larger than 160 acres. While Brown Ranch could be broken down into more than one  “subdivision,” this will likely create significantly more work for the City, and could cause significant delays in both horizontal and vertical development. Consider  revising this, or creating an exception for Brown Ranch.


Several mechanisms could be considered for establishing zoning that aligns directly to the proposed design for Brown Ranch, including:

  • Amend the existing zoning to better align with the variety proposed within Brown Ranch.
  • Establish an overlay district for Brown Ranch that allows for variation described in the Development Plan.


The Community Development Plan for Brown Ranch uses compact development strategies to preserve significant open space.

The table to the right provides a detailed breakdown of the areas captured in the development plan. The following terms are used:

  • Private Parcel refers to the net land area of the actual lots proposed for development.
  • Density Plan Acreage refers to the gross land area designated for the neighborhood. This includes roadways, greenways, and any required fire setbacks (if not  accounted for by park space). This is the land area needed to develop the proposed program of 2264 homes with the assumed percentages of building types listed  in the program, plus the community and commercial uses described in the program.
  • Potential Acreage refers to the total gross land area that could be used without undermining the design intent of the plan, should certain assumptions change (such as typical block dimensions, roadway widths, or should detailed site information about slopes or geotechnical analysis change assumptions about developable parcels).
  • Major Roads category accounts for roadways not captured within specific neighborhoods.

5.2 Sustainability Framework


The Brown Ranch is envisioned as a demonstration neighborhood that maximizes opportunity for innovation and community benefit around climate action,  resilience, and quality of life. The Sustainablility Framework articulates how these goals are integrated into the plan, and provides a road map for meeting these  goals through the Next Steps.


Learning to live in tandem with nature has never been more critical. The impacts of climate change are being felt in Steamboat Springs and throughout the world.  Finding ways to meet our human needs for housing, transportation, and healthy food access without negatively impacting the ecosystems that we rely on to sustain a healthy lifestyle is the challenge of our generation.

Affecting change in the way that we approach development requires projects of scale to take a new approach  rooted in health equity, sustainability, and resilience. The Brown Ranch provides just such an opportunity, to rethink how we approach development, and provide an infrastructure that will serve generations to come.


The Brown Ranch sustainability framework is broken into two specific, interdependent categories. Both categories use the principles established through the  Sustainability Focus Team meetings.

The Development Plan Scale articulates specific design decisions incorporated into the Development Plan. It also includes recommendations for sustainability measures that may not be visible in the Development Plan, but that need to be considered at a larger neighborhood scale in  order to be effective.

The building scale framework outlines recommended sustainability criteria for future development partners. This framework is intended as a starting point for  establishing sustainability requirements, as noted in the Next Steps section of the Development Plan.



Thinking about sustainability at the Development Plan scale is critical to maximizing the sustainability opportunity at Brown Ranch. Compact, walkable  communities are fundamental to minimizing heat islands and maximizing habitat. Development that is responsive to the land will support water quality.  Preservation of the creek corridor (beyond the minimum setbacks required) and minimizing development on steep slopes are key factors that can only be  addressed at a Development Plan scale.

The Development Plan for Brown Ranch is designed for flexibility, to respond to new information or changing conditions  as necessary. But certain aspects of the Plan must be fixed in order to retain the sustainability principles established through the Focus Team process.

This section identifies the critical sustainability elements embodied within the Development Plan, and includes recommendations for elements that either have not yet been determined (such as the energy system) or that may not be visible in the design.

Brown Ranch “Sustainability Stewards” will be needed to implement the  recommendations. In addition to solidifying the sustainability requirements for future work, these stewards could be responsible for resident education programs  and establishing ongoing community sustainability stewardship guidelines for Brown Ranch.


Sustainability rating systems are helpful tools in organizing priorities around sustainability, and also in communicating the sustainability story to a larger  audience, whether that be the local community or funders. A number of rating systems could be considered for the entirety of the Development
Plan, or distinct phases within Brown Ranch. Most of these systems can also be used for building scale ratings. Each of these systems has a slightly different way of  categorizing sustainability targets, and each has its own focus. But they all use a set of metrics to score projects based on a similar set of sustainability categories.

The following rating systems are options for Development Scale projects:

  • Eco Districts
  • RELi for Resilient Design & Construction
  • 2030 Districts
  • Sites
  • Living Community Challenge
  • Enterprise Green Communities
  • Fitwel Community Scorecard


The categories used for the Sustainability Framework are the same as those used to establish the sustainability principles through the Focus Team meeting  process. These include:

  • Ecosystem
  • Resilience
  • Energy & Atmosphere
  • Water
  • Materials
  • Wellbeing

These categories loosely align to many of the established rating systems. Once a rating system is selected, the specific categories and criteria of that system can be  used as a gauge for future development decisions.

Sustainability recommendations are sprinkled throughout the Development Plan. This section consolidates these recommendations into a sustainability  framework to guide future work and evaluate the plan with specific sustainability rating systems.


1. Provide a network of open space with minimal interuption by roadways and development to allow for wildlife movement.

2. Preserve and restore riparian corridors.

3. Develop dark sky guidelines (if zoning code criteria is not sufficient for habitat considerations).

4. Develop pollinator pathway strategies.


5. Design the street grid to maximize southern exposure for a majority of roofs and shared spaces (north-south blocks with east-west lots).

6. Collaborate with Yampa Valley Electric Association (YVEA) or other energy partners on energy delivery models that allow developments to maximize local  solar production and potential for battery storage.

7. Innovative technologies: Collaborate with energy partners to explore geoexchange and other leading technologies for energy efficiency.

8. Strive for zero carbon energy using all electric building systems.

9. Optimize and plan for electric transportationand the potential for bi-directional energy transfer.

10. Establish Peak Load Management strategies to eliminate over-building of systems.

11. Install Smart Meter Hubs to help track energy usage and target energy efficiency measures.

12. Create shading strategies for streets and paved areas to reduce heat islands.

13. Provide parking under buildings wherever possible to reduce heat islands.

14. Create a dust mitigation and stormwater quality plan for all stages of construction, particularly grading, to support air quality and ecosystem health.


15. Establish wildfire setbacks (see Fire Resilience).

16. Use Fire Smart building materials & landscapes.

17. Replace some roadways with greenways to minimize heat islands (and support the open space network).

18. Provide space for community gardens.

19. Provide a market with affordable, healthy food options.

20. Establish a Community Emergency Preparedness Plan and identify Community Resilience Hubs that can operate independently of grid shutdowns.


21. Limit irrigation water to public spaces only. Limit new turf to areas where turf is needed for a public function (no decorative turf).

22. Use drought tolerant native and adaptive landscapes throughout the development.

23. Explore the potential for adaptive reuse of water (grey-water), especially for irrigation.

24. Integrate stormwater strategies with creek restoration to achieve water quality and channel protection goals.


25. Minimize material use throughout Brown Ranch using compact development models.

26. Develop strategies for the horizontal infrastructure plan that prevent the need for rebuilding roads or walkways to accommodate later phase vertical  development.

27. Use materials with the lowest embodied carbon possible.

28. Minimize waste by developing recycling infrastructure.

29. Create a community composting strategy.


30. Provide a range of services and gathering spaces, in neighborhood “hubs” on site to support community.

31. Provide access to services and community spaces with a multi-modal transit network.

32. Prioritize pedestrian, bicycle and transit mobility through trail networks & street design.

33. Mix housing typologies equitably on each block and in each neighborhood.

34. Provide access to open space from all homes.


Establishing specific sustainability criteria for future development partnerships will be critical to achieving the goals of the development plan, specifically those  tied to health equity and resilience.


The first step for creating sustainability criteria for vertical construction at Brown Ranch could be selection of a specific rating system or systems. Establishing a  minimum point criteria through existing rating systems is an efficient way to ensure that the buildings hit critical sustainability metrics without having to create a Brown Ranch-specific set of criteria.

A number of rating systems could be considered to guide vertical construction at Brown Ranch. Some rating systems take a  holistic view of sustainability while others have a more specific focus in one area, such as health. Some are complementary to other systems (Fitwel and LEED is one such example), so multiple  systems could be considered. It should be noted that part of the Health Equity Initiative for Brown Ranch includes a score card which documents the health  equity work done in tandem with the Development Plan, which will be available for use by development partners. Selecting a rating system that recognizes the health  equity aspect of the work should be considered a priority.

The following are some of the most widely used rating systems for building scale projects:

  • Enterprise Green Communities
  • Living Building Challenge
  • RELi for Resilient Design & Construction
  • Fitwel Community Scorecard


The categories used to outline recommendations for future development at Brown Ranch align with several of the primary rating systems used for buildings, and  duplicate the categories used for the Development Plan scale. These include:

  • Ecosystem
  • Resilience
  • Energy & Atmosphere
  • Water
  • Materials
  • Wellbeing

Many recommendations apply to both the Development Plan scale and the building scale, and are repeated in this section.


  • Require dark sky lighting design for all buildings and sites.
  • Create a pollinator pathway plan to be implemented at the building scale.
  • Collaborate with schools or community groups to build bat or owl boxes on site.


  • Require energy efficient buildings that target net-zero on an annualized basis for all vertical development:
    • Energy-efficient building envelopes.
    • Energy-efficient fixtures and building systems.
    • Maximize passive solar, PV, and natural ventilation for all vertical development.
  • Provide ceiling fans and/or whole hose fans to facilitate cooling without the use of energy intensive air conditioning units.
  • Consider filtration strategies sufficient to address smoke during wildfire events.
  • Prioritize all-electric buildings to allow for future zero-carbon energy strategies.


  • Buildings should be designed to meet the highest standards for indoor water efficiency:
    • Use low-flow fixtures for all buildings.
    • Minimize installation of hose-bibs to discourage outdoor water use.
    • Minimize water waste while waiting for hot water by using on-demand water heaters, loop systems, or water-saving levers on faucets and shower heads.
    • Consider rain barrels for irrigation, car washing, etc. Note: Maintenance program required to prevent mosquito breeding and algae.
  • Prevent irrigation of private open spaces in Single-Family Attached and Single-Family Detached homes. Limit irrigation in multifamily buildings.
  • Use drought-tolerant native and adaptive landscapes throughout the site. Explore the potential adaptive reuse of water (grey-water).


  • Identify community spaces that can be used as “resilience hubs” in a climate emergency.
  • Use fire smart building materials and landscapes where possible.
  • Provide AC for all homes to allow for cooling and ventilation on days with poor air quality.
  • Require emergency preparedness programs for all multi-family buildings.
  • Require shading on all parking areas to reduce heat islands.


  • Use materials with the lowest embodied carbon possible.
  • Minimize waste by providing recycling infrastructure at the building scale for all multi-family buildings.
  • Require composting for all yard waste at a minimum. Target food waste composting goals aligned to the community composting strategy.
  • Promote good indoor air quality by using materials with no off-gassing, and providing resilient surfaces throughout multi-family buildings.


  • Provide robust bike parking in all multifamily housing, sufficient for bike trailers, extracycles, wagons, and stroller storage.
  • Provide dog and bike washing stations in multifamily buildings to minimize tracking of dirt and mud through the building.
  • Provide “irresistible stairs” connecting lobbies to upper levels of multi-family and mixed-use buildings to encourage walking and minimizing elevator  energy use.
  • Provide welcoming gathering places within multi-family buildings to encourage community building.
  • Identify spaces within multi-family buildings that can serve as larger community resources including:
    • Resilience hubs
    • Bike repair stations and bottle fillers
    • Community meeting space
    • Community-centered non-profit space

5.3 Mobility



Connector streets balance through-travel needs with access to local property. Brown Ranch’s connector streets will see the highest traffic volumes, connecting  Highway 40 to the west side of the site as well as a future connection to the north. The varied street sections are reflective of anticipated traffic volumes and  adjacent land uses.

The Connector Four Travel Lanes is the street type at the entry of the site, running from Highway 40 to the main street of Neighborhood A. This is the only four-lane segment within the community. Due to the larger volumes anticipated, on-street parking will not be provided nor will bike lanes. Instead, adjacent off-road  trails will accommodate bikes.

The Connector Residential street type is the most common connector street in Brown Ranch. This section has on-street bike lanes, and a detached sidewalk. On-street parking is not provided. The Connector Residential 2 street type is similar, however it provides onstreet parking due to the  adjacent land uses and destinations.

Each connector street type will feature large swales for landscape, snow storage, and water quality.

Note: At full build-out, four travel lanes will be needed up to the middle of Neighborhood B. The dashed line area should be two travel lanes initially to align with  the scale of buildout, but be designed for easy expansion to four lanes once he traffic loads require it.



Streets within commercial zones, or village cores, should be highly walkable and more urban in character. These streets have a sidewalk and amenity zone  combined into a larger space. Curbs and gutters define the space between vehicles and pedestrians.

The Village Core Without Bike Lanes street type will provide narrow travel lanes, on-street parking, and a wide sidewalks and pedestrian zones. The pedestrian  zone is wide enough to accommodate walking, street furniture, bike racks, lighting, and other streetscape elements. The Village Core With Bike Lanes is similar,  but is wider to accommodate bike lanes. Space for snow storage is not provided within these street types and will need to be plowed to strategic nearby locations,  to be identified during design.



Local neighborhood streets provide direct access from collector streets to properties. The primary purpose of these streets is to provide access to private  properties.

Neighborhood streets and alleys are the most common street types in Brown Ranch, knitting together much of the neighborhood fabric. The Neighborhood Street  type minimizes pavement as much as possible and gives more space to bikes. Swales are provided for snow storage and detached sidewalks line all neighborhood  streets. On-street parking is not provided.

The Neighborhood Alley Woonerf provides alley access but also creates a comfortable pedestrian environment with  landscaping within the setback. Snow storage is not provided and needs to be accommodated at the ends of the alleys.



Edge conditions are a critical component of wildfire protection for mountain communities.

Brown Ranch’s edge conditions provide publicly accessible spaces around all development zones. The Woonerf Edge condition has a pavement zone that  prioritizes pedestrians and bikes but is also open to cars. A wide landscape/swale provides a buffer and space for snow storage and water quality. The Trail Edge  only provides space for bikes and pedestrians while also having space for snow storage.



Providing more green space and connections through neighborhoods increases health, wellness, and overall walkability of a community.

The Greenways throughout Brown Ranch improve access to community-oriented green space and increase mobility options. These spaces are within two to three  blocks of all residents. These spaces can be programmed for activation while also improving safe mobility options. The Seasonal Midblock Paths are optional paths  to improve connectivity in key areas, especially to schools and other destinations.


The Brown Ranch intersection design will prioritize the safety of pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit users.

The intersections at Brown Ranch will feature a combination of roundabouts, stop control, and traffic signals to provide safe and efficient operations while  promoting traffic calming.

The following strategies should be considered when developing detailed traffic design:

  • Raised crosswalks simplify roadway crossings for pedestrians (particularly for strollers, wagons, people with disabilities). They also serve as traffic tables to slow  traffic at intersections.
  • High profile crossings should be supplemented with Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFB) for additional visibility and safety, especially along busier vehicle segments.
  • Right-in, right-out intersections can facilitate traffic flow without widening intersections by adding turn lanes, and should be considered wherever possible.

Roundabouts should be considered where high vehicle volumes would require turn lanes, as the roundabouts can provide shorter crossing distances. However, the  roundabouts should be designed to prioritize pedestrian and bicycle safety, with continuous sidewalks, raised crossings, and possibly separate bike lanes. See the  Massachusetts Department of Transportation example below:

These strategies are general considerations for the the Brown Ranch. Creating a mobility network that truly prioritizes safety requires more than just design  guidelines. The “Vision Zero Network” provides a framework for designers, policy makers and public health officials, as well as local community groups and  stakeholders to collaborate on specific solutions, and should also be considered as an approach for Brown Ranch and beyond.


Transportation Demand Management (TDM) is a set of strategies aimed at providing a range of choices for mobility, and reducing reliance on cars. It is a critical  component in achieving health equity, reducing air pollution, and reducing traffic congestion.


The TDM plan for Brown Ranch builds on surveys conducted by the City of Steamboat Springs, Focus Team discussions, and best practices for bikable, walkable  communities. It relies on an urban design framework with a connected grid and a program that includes neighborhood serving commercial and community spaces  that reduce trip generation outside of Brown Ranch. The traffic volumes represented on the previous page are tied to the specific program proposed in this development plan, including the number and type of homes, and the non-residential uses. The TDM plan includes a transit hub, transit stops, amenities that  promote biking and walking, and a range of programs and strategies that encourage walking, biking, and transit as the preferred modes for residents.


Brown Ranch will provide one transit hub for local/ regional/ shuttle bus connections in the town core developed as part of Neighborhood A. The transit hub  should include amenities to encourage use of public transit and other mobility options that reduce reliance on single occupancy vehicles. The transit hub should include the following:

  • An Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible transit building with restrooms, indoor waiting area, and a real-time posted transit  schedule.
  • Secure, covered bike parking.
  • Bicycle repair stations and e-bike charging stations.
  • Small parking area for deliveries, carpool/ vanpool waiting areas, ADA parking, and carshare parking spaces.
  • Bikeshare and/ or scooter-share station.


Three transit stops will be located in Brown Ranch in addition to the transit hub. These stops should also incorporate amenities to encourage use of transit  including:

  • Covered bus shelter with ADA accessibility, seating, trash bins, transit signage, pedestrian scale lighting, and posted transit schedule (preferably real- time).
  • Bus pullout from roadway.
  • Secure bike parking.


Transportation amenities should be distributed throughout the site, not just in close proximity to transit. TDM amenities should be available at all places of  employment, key destinations, and residential centers. Suggested amenities include:

  • Secure bicycle parking, preferably covered.
  • Direct, detached sidewalk.
  • Landscaping to encourage sense of place and pleasant multimodal travel conditions.
  • Traffic calming features as applicable.
  • Bikeshare access
  • End-of-trip facilities such as showers, personal lockers, changing spaces, etc.


The following programs are recommended for Brown Ranch to encourage pedestrian, bicycle, and transit travel:

  • Unbundle the parking associated with residential rental units.
  • Eliminate or reduce free parking.
  • Provide wayfinding for cyclists and pedestrians.
  • Support Steamboat Spring’s free transit system.
  • Provide real-time transit data.
  • Shuttle services to major employers, ski resort, etc.
  • Market the benefit of alternative travel.
  • Offer bicycle safety classes.
  • Hold multimodal awareness events.
  • Meet the City’s EV readiness plan / charging capability goals.


The proposed design for Brown Ranch uses a “District Parking” strategy to balance individual car ownership with the larger community goals tied to transit, bike,  and pedestrian infrastructure.

Solving for parking is often one of the biggest factors shaping housing developments. America has eight parking spaces for every car. These spaces and drive aisles  consume enormous amounts of land and add significant cost to development, which are ultimately passed on to the residents. The design for Brown Ranch  assumes that all homes will have direct access to one covered parking space, but that the second parking space, if provided, will be located in a common surface  parking lot that may not be directly adjacent to the home it serves. The total parking ratio provided at Brown Ranch will be approximately 1.6 spaces per unit, with  smaller homes having one dedicated parking space, and larger homes having two spaces. This ratio was derived from YVHA’s experience with parking space utilization in current properties, and is allowed for in the zoning code through the provision for deed restricted or workforce housing. Investing in a robust  transit network with the features described in the TDM plan and ensuring that critical services and amenities are provided on site within walking or biking distance of  homes, will reduce reliance on car use and allow the proposed parking ratio to adequately address the need.

Parking for the school and fire station will be provided  on their sites. Parking for other nonresidential uses at Brown Ranch such as retail, office, and the work portion of live/work will be provided as aggregated “on- street” parking in the Neighborhood Core, mixed-use portions of the neighborhoods.


Using a district parking strategy builds flexibility and affordability into the plan. Parking standards and requirements are changing all the time. Car stacker  systems and EV car charging stations are two examples of how technology is changing how we think about parking. Carshare programs such as Zipcar and rideshare programs like Lyft and Uber are reducing reliance on privately owned vehicles. As a culture, we are recognizing the impact of designing for the car –  sprawling developments not only have a huge impact on the environment, they make for less vibrant, community focused neighborhoods. We are focusing more  public investment on transit and bikes. It is impossible to predict the Brown Ranch parking needs 50 years from now, but aggregating parking into lots separate  from housing allows changes in parking needs to be addressed at a community scale rather than forcing individual property owners to take on this burden. It also  allows for the possibility of developing these sites in the future, should housing needs expand and car reliance dwindle.

Affordability is the other key benefit to the district parking strategy. Structured parking, whether it’s in a shared garage of an apartment building or in a small individual garage serving single family attached  or detached units, is very expensive to build. Reducing the number of covered spaces provided will reduce the cost of housing.  Surface parking in a district lot could be dedicated to a specific property as part of the deed, or be held by the Housing Authority and be leased on a monthly basis. If the parking is leased, the  costs can be adjusted to align with the AMI of the tenant. Tenants can lease parking spaces based on their needs, which may change over time.

Additionally,  district lots have the potential to become carbon-free energy generators by extensively covering the lots with solar panels owned by YVHA, a district energy  association, or energy provider.


District parking lots should be located in a way that minimizes the impact to the neighborhood while providing adequate access to the parcels they serve.

  • District lots should not be located in active street use zones and ideally not front onto greenways.
  • Their size should be limited to approximately 1/4 of the total parcel area on a block.
  • They should be located throughout the neighborhood such that all the parking for Lincoln blocks occurs within the Lincoln blocks, and the parking for the Oak  blocks occurs within the Oak blocks.
  • Current zoning should be revised to allow flexibility with this strategy, while still discouraging large full-block parking lots.
  • District parking lots can provide an excellent opportunity for large installations of community photovoltaic solar panels.

View of the Multi-Use Trail and the Log Barn in the Community Park

Trails are a primary feature of the transportation network throughout Brown Ranch. The multi-use trail shown below is the “connector” trail for the greenways,  mid-block paths, edge-condition trails, and secondary trails that run through the site. Together, they create a robust network that allows residents to choose biking  and walking over driving.

5.4 Infrastructure


Growth at Brown Ranch and throughout Steamboat Springs will be capped by the City’s and local utility providers’ ability to provide the necessary infrastructure to support housing development and associated services.

While utility infrastructure on the Brown Ranch site is limited, the City has been planning for growth in West Steamboat for many years and several projects are in  the planning stages to support this growth. Infrastructure also includes roadways, trails, grading, and natural site drainage. The proposed project works within the  existing topography and natural drainage pathways wherever possible to minimize grading and infrastructure costs.


The City of Steamboat Springs currently has enough water available to support Phase I development at Brown Ranch. Construction of the Elk River Water Treatment Plant will be required to serve Phases II & III.


The water supply that will serve Brown Ranch will be provided by the City of Steamboat Springs municipal water system. The City’s water supplies originate from  direct flow and storage sources located in the Fish Creek watershed and from shallow alluvial wells adjacent to the Yampa River. The annexation of Brown Ranch  into Steamboat Springs will allow for use of the City’s water.


In 2019, the City of Steamboat Springs and the Mount Werner Water & Sanitation District (District) retained Applegate Group to update their Water Supply  Master Plan. Based upon this study, the municipal system has the capacity to serve Brown Ranch absent any abnormal stress on the water system. Examples of  what the City considers to be an abnormal stress include: unforeseen environmental changes due to climate change, a forest fire within the Fish Creek watershed, or a Colorado River Compact Call. Key findings of the 2019 water study include:

  • The reliable water supply available to the City and District for municipal water use totals 9,800 acre-feet/year (7,800 AF from the Fish Creek system + 2,000 AF  from multiple Yampa River wells).
  • Currently, the City and District’s combined municipal diversions total approximately 2,650 acre-feet/year serving a total population of 12,700 residents.
  • The above findings indicate that existing water demands represent 33.9% of the total Fish Creek reliable supply (2,650 AF/yr demand / 7,800 AF/yr firm  supply).


According to the Public Works Department at the City of Steamboat Springs, the City and District’s current water distribution and supply can provide sufficient  water for up to 800 equivalent residential units (EQR) of new development within the region coincident with the proposed Brown Ranch development. Anything  beyond 800 EQR will require construction of the Elk River Water Treatment Plant. The City has an eight cubic square feet (csf) water right on the Elk River, and  storage rights of 1,200 acre-feet at Steamboat Lake.

The City defines the water use associated with one new EQR as the amount necessary to serve a single-family home, up to 2,500 sf with three bedrooms and an  “average size” yard. Using conservative engineering assumptions, one EQR of development would require approximately 0.49 AF/yr of water. Assumptions include:

  • Average of 3.5 persons per residence utilizing water at a rate of 100 gallons of per capita per day (gpcpd).
  • 2,500 sf of lawn irrigation consumes 1.43 AF of water per year. Assuming an irrigation efficiency of 85%, each acre of irrigation requires 1.68 AF of diverted  supply.

The proposed building program assumes a range of housing types and sizes that use less water than a 2,500 sf single-family home, use less irrigation, and have  an average of 2.5 persons per household. Therefore, the number of homes that could be served with 800 EQR using the City’s standard assumptions is significantly  more than 800, and could be as much as 1,300.


Water conservation measures designed to reduce in-house consumption and irrigated acreage will allow for a larger number of homes to be served using the same amountof water that the City has determined can be available for Brown Ranch. Possible  conservation measures are listed on the next page. LRE Water, the  project’s technical consultant responsible for evaluating water needs and availability, developed a water calculation tool to understand how the proposed program  for Brown Ranch aligns with the available water (assuming water efficiency measures are in place). The tool assumes that the annual water supply available to  Brown Ranch is 390.9 AF/year (800 EQR x 0.49 AF/EQR/ yr). This tool will inform future conversations with the City.


The current conditions tied to water availability are favorable for Phase I development at Brown Ranch, and later phases can be supported through infrastructure  improvements that are planned for the community, regardless of Brown Ranch. Understanding that water availability could change in the coming years due to  worsening drought conditions or policy decisions tied to the Colordao river, YVHA is committed to working with the City in the coming years to ensure alignment  between development at Brown Ranch and the City’s water policies.


The City of Steamboat Springs already has several infrastructure projects underway that will facilitate water distribution at Brown Ranch. Thoughtful planning of  water distribution and use is critical to sustainability at Brown Ranch.


Prior to the construction of Brown Ranch, several distribution improvements are required, including:

  • Completion of construction of the West Steamboat Water Tank. Brown Ranch will rely on this tank for water supply. The City is currently in process with this  work.
  • Completion of construction of the 12-inch water main in US 40 right-of-way to the Brown Ranch. The City is currently in the design phase for this water main  extension. This main must be operational for Brown Ranch to start construction.
  • Completion of construction of a looped water main from Gossard Parkway to West End Village. The Overlook subdivision is in the process of constructing this  line. This connection is required for water distribution at Brown Ranch to provide redundancy and thus reliability.
  • Elk River Water Treatment Plant beyond 800 EQR.


The Brown Ranch on-site water distribution will include water mains, fire hydrants, pressure boosting pumps and pressure reducing valves. The size, phasing and  cost of the on-site distribution will be determined in a subsequent scope of work. However, the following strategies are suggested:

  • Grid Network: The water mains will be located within the street network to allow for ongoing access, as is typical. Using a traditional street grid (as opposed to  cul-desacs and winding roads) will allow for water distribution efficiency and cost savings.
  • Adaptive reuse of water: A grey-water or non-potable irrigation system that reduces demand will come with additional infrastructure costs, but should be considered. The water supply challenge in the mountain west will only continue to grow, and building in capacity for a reuse system from the start will be more  cost effective than trying to incorporate it later.
  • Valve and metering to allow for two-way flow to the Steamboat II Metro District and full use of the one million gallon water tank located in Steamboat II.


Regardless of the current water availability, water conservation strategies are recommended for the Brown Ranch as follows:

  • Low-flow fixtures should be used in all building construction.
  • Loop-systems should be used to reduce the time it takes to heat water, thereby reducing the amount of water wasted when waiting for hot water.
  • Adaptive reuse of water should be considered.
  • Irrigation should be reserved for common areas, including street trees and parks. Little to no irrigation should be provided/ allowed for private landscapes.
  • Drought tolerant native and adaptive landscapes should be required.


The existing sewer treatment plant has sufficient capacity to support Neighborhood A development, and possibly all of Phase I at Brown Ranch. Expansion of the  plant may be required for later phases of development.


The City of Steamboat Springs will provide sewer treatment for Brown Ranch and can expand the existing sewer treatment plant to handle development at Brown  Ranch. The pace of development at Brown Ranch will inform the City’s expansion plans. The City anticipates that expansion will be paid for via “Plant Investment  Fees” collected at the time of building permit.

The current treatment plant is operating at approximately 70% capacity. Design of an expansion is required once the  plant starts operating at 80% capacity.

The City anticipates that the treatment plant can handle another 3,680 EQRs before they need to start construction on an expansion. For reference, the City’s  average annual increase over the period 2006 through 2017 is 59 EQRs per year. Over this same period, the Mount Werner Water and Sewer District averaged  an increase of 98 EQR’s per year. Both plants combined totaled an increase of 157 EQRs/year.

An existing 15” sewer main through the KOA parcel and under US 40 will service the east basin of Brown Ranch.

Service to the west basin of Brown Ranchrequires coordination and cooperation with the Steamboat II Metro District or lift station to pump sewage to the east  basin of Brown Ranch.

The City anticipates that expansion will be paid for via “Plant Investment Fees” (aka Tap Fees) collected at the time of building permit. Plant Investment Fees are calculated based on the number of plumbing fixtures and typically range from $10,000-$20,000 per unit. A grey water system (at a community scale or for  individual buildings) that reduces load on the treatment plant is also a possibility, but will come with additional plumbing and/or infrastructure costs.


Brown Ranch will be required to construct all on-site collection infrastructure—including mains, manholes, and lift stations. The scope, phasing, size, and cost of  the on-site collection system is dependent on the physical footprint of the proposed development.


The Overlook Subdivision has a sewer easement across the Brown Ranch connecting Emerson Trail to US 40. Overlook is required to construct a sewer main in  this easement to service their project.


The Brown Ranch has an opportunity to serve as a model for sustainable energy in mountain towns. While natural gas and grid-connected electricity are the  conventional energy options, other options will be considered to maximize the sustainability potential.


For many years, natural gas was the prefered energy source throughout the country. It was more efficient than electricity and significantly more cost effective in  most areas. However, gas is a non-renewable resource. In the past 15 years, there has been a shift towards electricity as a primary energy source due to its  sustainability potential. Renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power can feed electrical grids. The energy industry is slowly transitioning towards all- electric models, but the fee structures are still very much in flux. Due to the dynamic nature of the current energy market, Brown Ranch is engaging a 3rd party  energy consultant to help find the right balance between initial cost, lifecycle cost, sustainability, resilience, and health equity. The consultant will provide analysis  and recommendations to create an Energy Master Plan for Brown Ranch. YVHA anticipates that the Master Plan will be available by the end of 2022.


YVEA is a member-owned electric cooperative serving nearly 27,000 customers over a 7,000 square mile service territory, including all of Steamboat Springs.  Approximately 95% of YVEA’s energy comes from Xcel, with the remainder from the Western Area Power Administration (a federal power marketing agency).  Colorado law requires that 80% of Xcel’s power be derived from renewable sources by 2030. Xcel’s internal goal is to provide its customers with electricity derived from 85% renewable sources by 2030 and 100% by 2050.

YVEA has limited existing capacity to service Brown Ranch and a significant infrastructure investment is  required prior to development. The project would require expansion of the Airport Substation on the east side of RCR 129. Additionally, construction of  multiple feeder lines from the Airport Substation to Brown Ranch are required. YVEA requires that the developer pay for required on-site infrastructure  improvements. Brown Ranch’s required contribution for off-site infrastructure improvements is unknown at this time and will require agreement with YVEA.


Atmos Energy Corporation provides natural gas distribution in the Steamboat Springs area and would service Brown Ranch if gas is provided. Atmos is supplied by  an Xcel Energy high pressure gas line that delivers gas from wells located in the Piceance Creek Basin west of Highway 13 between Meeker and Rifle. Atmos has  limited current distribution capacity to service Brown Ranch and a significant infrastructure investment is required prior to development, if it is decided that  gas should be provided to the site. The project would require an additional connection to Atmos’ meter station on the south side of US 40 at Heritage Park. From  there, construction of a distribution main to Brown Ranch and redundant distribution connections to Steamboat II and the Overlook Subdivision are required.


In addition to Atmos Energy and YVEA, there maybe an opportunity for a nontraditional energy source or combination of sources to power Brown Ranch. These  nontraditional energy sources could include some combination of the following:

  • Micro Grid (with on-site solar production and battery storage)
  • Geothermal energy loop
  • Wood or Biomass
  • Demand Response/ Interactive Grid (such as vehicle to grid technologies) Some of these options are currently restricted by Xcel/ YVEA contracts.


In addition to considering non-traditional sources for energy supply, it is recommended that the Brown Ranch utilize the following strategies to reduce energy  consumption:

  • Require high performance building envelopes to meet standards similar to Passive House.
  • Peak Load Management: Reducing electricity usage during Peak Time Events (blocks of time, two or three hours typically, when the forecasted need for  electricity is higher than usual).
  • Smart Hub meters to help users identify behaviors that trigger high energy usage.


The spatial qualities and natural characteristics of the site shape the design of its parks and open spaces through the consideration of the natural drainage, views, ridges, and other unique site features.

Brown Ranch has two drainage features, one on the west side of the site and one on the east (known as Slate Creek). Between the drainages is a ridge line providing  spectacular views in all directions. The drainage corridors inform major open space areas and will continue to serve as water conveyance.


The overall drainage and stormwater approach for Brown Ranch is focused on regional water quality and detention.

Large detention areas are strategically located within open space and natural drainage corridors. Water quality is handled throughout the site, including within  swales along the eastwest streets and at key discharge points. This regional approach requires an early investment in drainage infrastructure but provides the benefit of development flexibility for each block. Additionally, improvements to the Slate Creek drainage corridor and the western drainage area will be essential in  incorporating areas for detention while improving these areas for people, recreation, and open space.



Brown Ranch requires a series of collaborative, offsite infrastructure upgrades involving the City of Steamboat Springs, the Colorado Department of  Transportation (CDOT), and YVEA that will benefit the Steamboat Springs community at large.

As part of the annexation petition process, YVHA is already in conversation with the City of Steamboat Springs about water and sewer service to the site and  required improvements. The City’s existing water and sewer infrastructure can support Brown Ranch Phase I of 1,400 homes (800 EQRs). In addition, the City of  Steamboat Springs’ long term plan is to expand its water supply to include the Elk River, supplementing the current sources of Fish Creek and the Yampa River.  With this third additional water resource, the City and YVHA can work together through the annexation process to ensure that there is enough water for Phase II  and III of the Brown Ranch.

The CDOT has already indicated the need to add more lanes and intersection improvements to Highway 40 with or without the Brown Ranch in its ‘Documented Categorical Exclusion West of Steamboat Springs US Highway 40’ prepared by Jacobs Engineering in 2010.

Electrical capacity in West Steamboat is nearly at its  limit and YVHA is already in discussion with the YVEA about expanding capacity at the airport substation and providing service to the site.

The diagram above shows a conceptual example of the lead times anticipated with some of these primary off-site improvements.

5.5 Health Equity



The Health Equity Group is structured around a collective impact model of multiple groups, organizations, and community members working together toward a common purpose.

Yampa Valley Housing Authority

Sheila Henderson

Brown Ranch Steering Committee

Erin Miller
Lina Grant
Cecilia Escobar

The Health Partnership

Brittany Wilburn
Natanya Lessner

Northwest Colorado Health (NWCOH)

Stephanie Einfeld