Steamboat tries to save middle class |

Steamboat tries to save middle class

Allen BestVail, CO Colorado

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colorado The city of Steamboat Springs has not annexed land in 20 years, but it is now looking at 700 acres on the towns west end, with hopes that housing there will retain the communitys rapidly disappearing middle class.We need housing, said John Eastman. Housing, housing, housing. We need housing for our work force because otherwise were not going to have a work force I dont know if prices will get as high as at Aspen, but thats where theyre headed.As it looks to annex, and perhaps gain 2,000 homes, Steamboat is consulting others who have gone before. Granby, located 70 miles east along Highway 40, has gone on an annexation binge. Mayor Ted Wang told a Steamboat forum recently that Granby realized in the early 1990s that it had choices to make.It was either grow or die, he said. Since then, Granby has annexed 8,000 acres, nearly all of it land now being carved up for vacation homes that are being billed as lower-cost alternatives to those closer to Interstate 70.As reported by the Steamboat Pilot & Today, Wang told the Steamboat audience that Granby made some mistakes in its first annexation, but got better in later annexations.Dont leave things out on the table during the negotiations, unless you really intend to leave them there, he said. Bargain hard. Dont be afraid to ask and dont be afraid to dig in your heels.The project in Steamboat seems a natural for both the town and the developer. If annexed into the town, the project can get urban densities that county officials are unlikely to award. The annexation was estimated to take 18 months.

PARK CITY, Utah The snowpack is now at 126 percent on the lee side of the Wasatch Range, but thats enough for city officials to take precautions against flooding during spring runoff. They usually get 5,000 sandbags, but this year ordered 10,000, at 30 cents each. Cost: $3,000.We would be fools not to, said Hugh Daniels, who manages emergency programs for the city. Have you looked and seen how much snow is out there?The last time Park City had this much snow was only three years ago. There was not significant flooding that year. However, a great deal depends upon the timing of the warmth. A cool spring followed by sudden heat could result in swollen creeks, officials tell The Park Record. Meanwhile, in Basalt, 18 miles downstream from Aspen, city officials are conferring with residents of two mobile home parks along the Roaring Fork River, reports The Aspen Times.

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