It’s something out of a storybook: An anonymous donor gifted 536 acres of land, at a value of $24 million, for the purpose of low- to moderate-income level housing for the people of Steamboat Springs. Known as Brown Ranch, this project landed squarely in the lap of the Yampa Valley Housing Authority in August. The housing authority was created in 2003 to support the economy, community and businesses of Steamboat Springs by implementing housing solutions for local workers and their families.
Brown Ranch aspires to 2,000 residential units, with a mix of small housing projects representing everything from low-income tax credit homes, to entry-level homes and up. The Yampa Valley Housing Authority wants to create mobility so its current low-income residents can move to the next level of housing, which Sheila Henderson, a consultant leading the steering committee and targeted outreach explains simply isn’t available at present. She adds that mobility in both directions will be important. Although it’s early in the process, organizers anticipate infrastructure going in in 2023 with construction possible as early as 2024.
“We believe the strength, culture and diversity of our community is enhanced when everyone has a decent place to call home,” said Sheila. “The donation of this land to Yampa Valley Housing Authority was explicitly for the purpose of creating a community for locals, by locals. It means that it’s owned by the community and not a traditional developer. I encourage everyone in Routt County to attend these meetings and share their opinions, hopes and needs for this amazing opportunity.”
Sheila adds that nearly 100 community members applied to be on the steering committee, a diverse and inclusive group that will determine the big-picture concept through research, outreach and community engagement, then work with focus teams on detailed topics. The outcome will be a comprehensive development plan with elements including urban design, demand, economics, infrastructure and long-term stewardship and sustainability.
“Alpine Bank and Yampa Valley Housing Authority have a longstanding relationship in a financial and volunteer capacity,” said Jason Peasley, executive director of the housing authority. “Over the years, Adam Alspach has worked closely with me on different projects and currently sits on our economic focus team for the Brown Ranch community engagement process. We’re grateful for the partnership.”
Brown Ranch is at the west end of Steamboat Springs, on the city and county border. It was identified in the 1994 Urban Growth Development Plan as the ideal area of expansion. Those wishing to participate in the process should send a note of interest to email@example.com.