Some employers looking to build dormitories for workers in the industrial and commercial districts of Steamboat Springs will now be able to do so.
The new policy follows an amendment to the city code, which Steamboat Springs City Council unanimously passed on Tuesday, December 14, after council member Heather Sloop recused herself because she owns property in the neighborhood. industrial.
“This is the city’s strategy to provide more seasonal housing options and meet seasonal housing needs,” said Toby Stauffer, Senior Planner at Steamboat.
The idea surfaced after a study by the Yampa Valley Housing Authority and the city council’s affordable housing subcommittee identified a code amendment allowing dormitories in industrial areas as a potential solution to the housing crisis. affordable from the city.
Most of the Industrial District is in the Copper Ridge and 13th Street neighborhoods.
Stauffer said that because the Steamboat Springs Transit office is on 13th Street, city staff could use the amended code to build dorms for Steamboat’s seasonal bus drivers in the winter and members of the Steamboat team. city parks and recreation in the summer – two positions the city has struggled to fill.
Planning commissioners agreed that dormitories should be located within 600 feet of a business to ensure the area retains its primary use. Dorms must also be affiliated with a business or school. Otherwise, the town planning commissioners would have to grant a conditional use permit.
While she recognizes the need for affordable housing, board member Gail Garey also wanted to ensure that the dorms provided a dignified and secure living space for the workforce who live there.
“I certainly understand the need for immediate housing for the workforce to solve the problems we have today,” Garey said. “But I wanted to know that we have things in place to make sure we don’t have substandard living conditions.”
In response, Stauffer said dorms will need to adhere to specific building codes that include some space for living and sleeping units.
The city is not currently following an inspection process, but Stauffer added that Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue may start performing dormitory safety inspections.
Since living conditions are generally maintained by owners, Stauffer said it might be difficult for the city to have more oversight beyond basic inspections and the granting of permits for use. initial.
To reach Alison Berg, call 970-871-4229 or email [email protected]