The Brown Ranch Plan

A Community Driven Plan

“The Brown Ranch residents will live and connect in a vibrant, resilient, diverse, and welcoming neighborhood that provides a wide variety of housing options and services designed by and for the Yampa Valley community.”

Community Driven Plan

Most municipalities create what is called master plans for land development. YVHA approached this process differently. Instead of a top-down approach of YVHA deciding how the Brown Ranch property would be developed into neighborhoods, YVHA took a bottom up approach, asking future residents, community non-profits and businesses of what they wanted to see developed at the Brown Ranch.

This different approach led us to developing a Community Development Plan, instead of a Master Plan. We conducted more than 200 meetings to date and connected with more than 3250 community members, community groups, governmental agencies, non-profits, and businesses. Starting in January 2022, we also organized over six meetings with each Focus Team. The teams were Housing and Residential Demand, Infrastructure, Urban Design, Built and Natural Sustainability and Stewardship and Project Economics. Each team developed principles for the Brown Ranch development that were incorporated into the final design.

Affordable and Attainable

    • At Brown Ranch, there will be a variety of housing options to allow local residents the ability to rent and to buy their homes.
    • Brown Ranch will serve local workforce and local retirees in the 20% Area Median Income (AMI) ($21,510 individual annual income) to 250% AMI ($189, 750 for an individual) *
    • To encourage home ownership, the Brown Ranch will offer Community Affordability Agreements which are like deed restrictions.

*Based on 2023 salaries

Athletic Facilities

In developing the plan for Brown Ranch, YVHA worked in partnership with a coalition youth sports group to develop an athletic facility at Brown Ranch.
YVHA is leasing 8.5 acres to this non-profit group known as the Sports Barn.

The Steamboat Sports Barn (SSB) is a locally based 501c3 and community partnership that includes: Steamboat Springs Youth Soccer Club, High Altitude Basketball, Whiteout Volleyball Club, and Steamboat Youth Lacrosse.

The mission of the SSB is to provide a first class year round sports facility for current and future generations.

The SSB Board of Directors consists of leaders from the local youth sports community and other business leaders from the Yampa Valley.

The SSB is a collaboration of these local youth sports organizations and much of the programming in the SSB will be accessible through the high quality, affordable programs offered by these organizations.

In addition, there will be ample time when the SSB is freely open to the public.

YVHA is working with the Sports Barn to provide land to build an indoor field house called the Sports Barn along with two full-size fields for soccer, lacrosse, volleyball and more.

This community partnership leverages the assets the groups have raised for the sports facility at no cost to Steamboat Springs taxpayers.

Community Development Partners

On all our new housing developments, YVHA has established a public-private partnership with a qualified developer. This is done to leverage the financial and other resources YVHA brings to the development. It also serves to limit the risk exposure by YVHA, including construction, lease-up, and operating risks.

Alpenglow, Anglers 400 and the Reserves were all developed in partnership with Overland Property Group.

Sunlight Crossing was developed by Gorman and Company and the community developer for Mid Valley is Lone Tree Trust.

YVHA chose the Michaels Organization to work on the Brown Ranch development.

The Michaels Organization is the nation’s largest privately-held owner of affordable housing with 50 years of experience working in over 39 states and with $11 billion of assets under management. This partnership will expand YVHA’s capabilities to build an affordable housing neighborhood for the Routt County workforce.

Michaels is a national leader in residential real estate offering full-service expertise in development, management, finance, and construction. Their mission is to bring comprehensive solutions to communities that jumpstart housing, education, civic engagement, and neighborhood prosperity.

TMO works in 39 states plus DC, US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico in 596 communities, it has $11 billion in assets under management. They have developed over 57,000 homes and manage 74,000 homes. They have been in business for 50 years.

TMO uses their core values in every project they implement.

TMO uses their core values in every project they implement.

YVHA chose Lowe as the owner’s representative for Brown Ranch.

Economic Impact

YVHA contracted with RCLCO to develop an economic impact study for the Brown Ranch. Their finding concluded that the Brown Ranch will have a profound impact on Routt County’s employment, Incomes, and output,

In 20 years at full build out Brown Ranch will generate:

  • over 1120 jobs,
  • over $53 million in annual income,
  • over $147 million in economic output,
  • about $1.5 million in sales tax revenue annually.

Energy Master Plan

YVHA picks community geothermal

On February 9th 2022, the YVHA Board approved the Energy Master Plan and recommended a community geothermal system. The Energy Master Plan will guide YVHA’s infrstaructure development at Brown Ranch, with a focus on utilizing technologies for energy efficiency, affordability, reliability and low carbon emissions.

Based on the energy analysis, YVHA will pursue a community-scale geothermal (water source heat pump) system for Brown Ranch and not deliver natural gas to the site, resulting in a 100% electrified community. Compared to the baseline dual fuel community with air source heat pumps in each building, the community geothermal system will result in a 52% reduction in the community’s annual energy use.

There is also a social cost to any energy that is used including air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing carbon emissions is a priority for both Brown Ranch residents and residents of Routt County as outlined in the Climate Action Plan endorsed by the City of Steamboat Springs and Routt County.

Department of Local Affairs awards grant

The Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) awarded the Yampa Valley Housing Authority (YVHA) two grants for Brown Ranch infrastructure this week. The first grant for $5,000,000 is for geothermal infrastructure and the second grant for almost $2,000,000 is for the construction of wastewater infrastructure, both at Neighborhood A at Brown Ranch. These awards are the first grant dollars committed to construction at Brown Ranch.

With this funding, YVHA will be prepared to start infrastructure construction in 2024, pending annexation. The combined almost seven million dollars in grant funding is part of the total $15 million dollars of grant applications referenced during the annexation process. YVHA, the City of Steamboat, and Routt County are collaborating on an additional $8M of grant applications this fall.

“Grant funding is very important to Brown Ranch. Every grant dollar that goes into the project will help make the housing more affordable to future Brown Ranch residents” said Jason Peasley, executive director of YVHA.

Health Equity

Health Equity IconThe lack of affordable housing options in Steamboat Springs has a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of the entire community. The development of Brown Ranch provides an opportunity to advance health equity within the Steamboat Springs community.

Health equity is “the state in which everyone has a fair and just opportunity to attain their highest level of health” (CDC)

Addressing historical injustices, overcoming economic and social obstacles to health and health care, and eliminating preventable health disparities are central to the goal of health equity.

The Brown Ranch Community Development Plan presents an opportunity to advance health equity not only for eliminating health barriers to housing, but also in forming partnerships to support community well-being through programs and services.

Health equity recommendation are woven throughout the plan.

To read more about the analysis, recommendations and plans for the future, read the health equity report.

Some of the key findings include:

  • Lack of housing impacts available workforce;
  • current: overcrowded housing;
  • high housing costs;
  • need for safe pedestrian systems;
  • traffic safety concerns;
  • access to healthy food and childcare needed.

Neighborhood Homes

Each Brown Ranch neighborhood will have a mix of housing types – apartments, condos, townhomes/duplexes and single family homes. Integrated in these neighborhoods will be services, retails, parks and open spaces. The Brown Ranch consists of four neighborhoods, currently named A,B,C, and D. The street grids are based on Old Town Steamboat – Pine, Oak and Lincoln. Over 45% of Brown Ranch will be dedicated to parks and open space.

Some of the neighborhood and block principles for design include:

  • An equitable mix of housing types, commercial and community amenities, access to transit and trails.
  • Neighborhoods are distinct, defined by topography. The north-south oriented blocks allow for optimal solar voltalic potential and urban heat reduction.
  • There is future flexibility in every block to allow for different housing types
  • The design is human-centric for pedestrian-friendly experiences. Alleys are for parking, emergency vehicle access and for accessory dwelling units. Trails to link the neighborhoods and foster community health.

Neighborhood A

Neighborhood A acts as the front door to Brown Ranch, nestled between wo sets of flat top hills, adjacent to the Slate Creek corridor and connected to the broader Steamboat Springs community. A will be the first phase of development at Brown Ranch. This neighborhood will require the least amount of infrastructure due to its proximity to Highway 40 and relatively flat topography. It will provide much needed community amenities for both Brown Ranch residents and neighboring communities, including a park, a transit hub, an affordable food market, a childcare center, and other community-focused services.

Neighborhood B

Neighborhood B is tucked between the eastern edge of Slate Creek and a series of flat top hills at the edge of Brown Ranch. neighborhood B is higged by oaky hillsides and will be the smallest neighborhood, with just a small amount of retail and connected to the other neihgborhoods by a trail network.

Neighborhood C

Neighborhood C sits atop the main crest of the site, with gently rolling ills dropping east and west towards two parks. The neighborhood is surrounded by a perimeter trail that connects directly to the Slate Creek corridor and trail network. It will be the largest community with retail, housing and a robust trail network along with parks and playgrounds.

Neighborhood D

Neighborhood D sits on the gently rolling hills along the far western edge of the site, off of County Road 42. Perched on a low slope hillside, this neighborhood provides mountain views and is surrounded by parks. it is close the the Sleeping Giant K-8 school and will host the Sports Barn, an indoor sports facility as well as two athletic fields and a playground. Like all neighborhoods in Brown Ranch, there will be apartments, condos, townhomes/duplexes and single family homes.

Examples of Apartments / Condos

Examples of Townhomes / Duplexes

Examples of Single Detached Homes

Open Space & Parks

Parks and open space comprise 45% of the annexed 420 acres of the the Brown Ranch. Open space and parks are intended to create a rich and layered experience for community members while also protecting natural areas.

  • Brown Ranch will have 64.66 acres of parks, 8.5 acres for an indoor sports facility (the Sports Barn), trails and 125 acres of open space within the annexed 420 acres.
  • All homes will be within two blocks of a park or open space area.
  • There are different types of parks – community parks, neighborhood parks, and greenways and plazas.
  • YVHA will dedicate land to the City of Steamboat Springs for two community parks totaling 39.66 acres. Park A – 22.49 acres, Park B – 17.17 acres.
  • A robust trail network will provide connectivity and recreational opportunities. Brown Ranch will fulfill a community goal: extending the Core Trail west, to the Silver Spur and Steamboat II neighborhoods. At least eight miles of trail are planned within Brown Ranch including the Core Trail and other soft surface trails.
  • Open Space: In addition to 125 acres of open space that will be dedicated in perpetuity, there are 114 acres north of the Urban Growth Boundary. These 114 acres are not part of this annexation and will be maintained as open space for a minimum of 20 years. Trails in the area will be developed for public use.
  • Slate Creek, which runs through the property before joining the Yampa River, will be protected as open space.

Parks Diagram

Trail Network

Guiding Principles

As the Community Development Plan was being created we utilized these guiding principles for parks and open space:

  • Restore and protect ecological habitats.
  • Enhance and increase access to parks and open spaces so that Brown Ranch residents can enjoy a variety of park experiences as part of their everyday lives.
  • Prioritize walkability and ensure safe and easy connections to parks and trails from every home within Brown Ranch.
  • Maximize opportunities to integrate stormwater features within the larger parks and open spaces.
  • Conserve water by minimizing potable water use within landscape areas throughout the Brown Ranch.
  • Create a strong nature and community connection between built areas and open spaces.


Open space with emphasis on wildlife habitats and ecology. Human access limited to trails and key points of gathering or significance. Human access may be seasonal.


Landscape with focus on riparian ecology. Limited human access to designated trails and gathering areas.


Landscape managed to support fire suppression tactics while providing a publicly oriented edge for connectivity within the community.

  • Native trees & plants
  • Wildlife
  • Ecological zones
  • Native trees & plants
  • Wildlife
  • Water quality and infiltration, stormwater detention
  • Native trees & plants
  • Wildlife
  • Firebreak edges such as trail, woonerf or road




Large parks designed to serve recreation needs, provide community activities and programs, address stormwater, and enhance the landscape with native and low-water use plants.



Parks designed for play and community gathering with greater amounts of manicured landscape.



Small green spaces designed for social activities, play, and smaller gatherings.

  • Recreational areas
  • Playgrounds
  • Trails and paths
  • Community event space
  • Picnic and gathering
  • Native trees and plants
  • Water quality and infiltration
  • Stormwater detention
  • Flexible recreational areas
  • Playgrounds
  • Seasonal activities
  • Picnic and gathering
  • Community gardens
  • Low-water use trees and plants
  • Flexible multi-use lawn
  • Playgrounds
  • Trails and paths
  • Picnic and gathering
  • Community gardens
  • Low-water use trees and plants

Slate Creek Restoration

The Yampa Valley Housing Authority (YVHA) selected Stillwater Sciences, a qualified environmental science and engineering firm and FlyWater, inc, a river restoration design-build firm, to develop a concept-level restoration plan for Slate Creek on the YVHA-owned Brown Ranch property in Routt County, Colorado. The Slate Creek riparian corridor is a seasonal waterway that creates an ecological spine running north to south through the Brown Ranch. The consultant is being funded by the Colorado Healthy Rivers Fund with a grant of $20,000.


The Yampa Valley Housing Authority (YVHA) believes in leveraging community assets to help provide services for the community. As part of the Brown Ranch Community Development Plan, community input from more than 4000 residents identified services that would be needed in this new neighborhood west of town.

Services including access to food, medical offices, childcare, recreation and more. Including services close to where people live contributes to health and resiliency of the residents and reduces traffic. At the same time, it creates partnerships with trusted community partners who need space to grow to serve our community.

  • Access to food
  • Access to medical care
  • Access to childcare
  • Access to athletic facilities
  • Access to the arts
  • Building space for a non-profit center

YVHA also decided to work with trusted local community experts to provide the services that will be needed in the Brown Ranch neighborhood. There was a formal application process to be considered as a partner and YVHA is still accepting applications to fill any gaps. To be efficient and leverage resources, many applicants have grouped together.

Final plans of where these services will be located and how they will deliver the services will be developed in more detail depending on the City of Steamboat Springs annexation process.Final plans of where these services will be located and how they will deliver the services will be developed in more detail depending on the City of Steamboat Springs annexation process

Sustainable Design

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.

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.

Compact, walkable communities are fundamental to minimizing heat islands and maximizing habitat. Development that is responsive to the land will support water quality.

The Sustainability framework is designed in the development plan around these areas: ecosystem, resilience, energy and atmosphere, water, materials and well-being. More details can be found here:

Transportation and Mobility

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 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 City will extend bus service to Brown Ranch at the entrance on US Highway 40. YVHA will fund a micro transit service within Brown Ranch, similar to the City’s Yellow Line.

YVHA will pay its proportionate share of the cost of improving HIghway 40, which is about $20 million dollars. This revenue will be collected from the short-term rental tax by the City and for Highway 40.

YVHA will construct and the City will maintain internal streets, including snow removal. YVHA will pay the capital costs for additional snow removal equipment (estimated $847,000).

Water/Sewer and Stormwater

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.

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.

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 amount of water that the City has determined can be available for Brown Ranch.

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.

YVHA received a $2 million grant from the Department of Local Affairs for wastewater infrastructure. See details here.

Annexation Agreement

The City will provide water and wastewater services to Brown Ranch.

YVHA will pay tap fees for every unit on the same basis as other City water utility customers.

Before Brown Ranch is developed beyond Phase 1 (1,124 units), the City must construct the Elk River Water Treatment Facility. The City will use all reasonable efforts to complete the facility prior to the completion of Phase 1 and estimates it will be operational by 2030.

The estimated cost of the facility is $40,000,000-$58,000,000, and YVHA’s estimated share is 66%. This facility will benefit existing City customers by providing resiliency and redundancy to the City’s water treatment infrastructure.

The City’s existing water rights are sufficient to serve Brown Ranch. The City’s most pressing water supply need is funding for the Elk River Water Treatment Facility to develop its water rights on the Elk River. YVHA will provide most of the funding for this facility.

Wildfire Resiliency

Working with the Community Wildfire Planning Council, YVHA developed recommendations to increase wildfire resilience at the Brown Ranch which was incorporated into the final Community Development Plan.

A fire resistant edge is the edge between landscape and development with a landscape buffers that is managed to support fire suppression tactics. This edge should have a path to delineate the space that allows for fire management vehicles if needed.

Along all development edges of Brown Ranch, a buffer for fire management is needed. Within this zone, plants should not be planted in large masses, but rather not be planted in large masses, but rather in small and irregular clusters.

Tall grasses should be avoided, and dense groundcover plants or low-grow wildflower mixes should be used instead. The exact locations of the fire resistant edge will be determined as the development plan is designed in greater detail. in small and irregular clusters. Tall grasses should be avoided, and dense groundcover plants or low-grow wildflower mixes should be used instead. The exact locations of the fire resistant edge will be determined as the development plan is designed in greater detail.

Top recommendations

  • Incorporate design features that reduce wildfire susceptibility in the Home Ignition Zone.
  • Manage open space vegetation in strategic location to support fire suppression tactics and further support defensible space.
  • Provide adequate setbacks on peripheral edges of all neighborhoods from hazardous fuels and terrain features.
  • Plan for the strategic location of trail networks to support fire suppression resource access and tactics.
  • Plan for evacuation opportunities.
Trail as fire break
Plant in clusters and avoid large masses
Road or trail at edge of development
Use gravel to provide better fire barrier