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Government Affairs Monthly Report

07-17-2018

Downtown Vision is the Topic of July Steamboat Conversations
The community is invited to participate in a discussion about the downtown plan during the July Steamboat Conversations from 5pm to 7pm on Thursday, July 12, at the Steamboat Art Museum (801 Lincoln Avenue).

In addition to the Conversations Session, Planning & Community Development will host a morning workshop from 8AM to10AM, also at the Steamboat Art Museum. Both sessions are free and individuals can stop by for as long as they like during either or both sessions.

Morning Workshop, Thursday, July 12, 8AM to 10AM, Steamboat Art Museum

Conversations Session, Thursday, July 12, 5PM to 7PM, Steamboat Art Museum

During Steamboat Conversations, Planning & Community Development Director, Tyler Gibbs, along with Design Workshop, the city’s consultant on this project, and Lisa Schlichtman, editor of the Steamboat Pilot & Today, will welcome participants and then attendees will participate at their leisure in three key topic discussions at stations around the museum concerning the issues and opportunities with downtown.

Downtown Steamboat Springs is the heart and soul of the community. It plays a critical role in hosting visitors year-round, while providing residents a place to work, live, shop, dine, play and connect. How do we protect its unique characteristics, history and authenticity while ensuring a thriving downtown in the future? The goal of the Downtown Plan is to define what is valued and successful for downtown today and in the future; while developing a long-range vision for downtown with implementation strategies.

Annexation Agreement Not Yet Final for Neighborhoods West of Town

As the Steamboat Pilot reported last week, there is no agreement in place between Steamboat Springs City Council and developers who seek to build three neighborhoods just west of town.

In a nearly three-hour discussion that City Council President Jason Lacy called "slow and painful,” council members and developers Brynn Grey worked through a list of concerns about the language of the annexation agreement.

Brynn Grey CEO David O’Neil said the firm would prefer to address concerns about natural resources and open spaces in the regulating plan, which is a more detailed plan of the specific layout of the neighborhoods. That plan would be developed after annexation should it be approved.

The Yampa Valley Housing Authority and Brynn Grey will negotiate the terms of deed restrictions, which set aside about one-third of the homes for people who primarily work in Routt County. The Housing Authority will be responsible for enforcing the restrictions.

Council member Lisel Petis was concerned that deed restrictions attached to the plan did not explicitly address the price range of homes intended to create "affordable and attainable housing.”

City Council and Brynn Grey compromised on the following items:

  • Council and Brynn Grey agreed to request that Routt County contribute to the cost of building new transportation infrastructure in the neighborhood. If Routt County commissioners do not support that idea, the two groups agreed on a contingency plan in which the developer will pay the city $292,000 up front and $11,000 per home that is built after annexation. The money would be used to help pay for improvements to transit infrastructure in the neighborhood.
  • Brynn Grey will provide snow-plowing services in the neighborhood until the developer pays the city about $610,000 to purchase new snow-removal equipment to plow the additional routes the neighborhood would create.
  • The city agreed to amend language regarding water services to the neighborhood to align with current citywide policy. Should Steamboat face a water shortage, no building permits would be issued in the new neighborhoods.


State News – CAR Supports “Let’s Go Colorado” Ballot Effort to Address Statewide Transportation Woes

The Colorado Association of REALTORS, together with the Denver Metro Association of REALTORS® and the South Metro Denver REALTOR® Association, has contributed money and is seeking financial assistance from NAR to support a ballot effort that could possibly bring relief in a very equitable and fair way to roads and transportation issues across Colorado.

Let’s Go Colorado! is the group supporting a possible ballot initiative in November that would raise the state sales tax .62% and establish structure to specifically dedicate this money to state and county transportation projects. If passed, the idea to raise the sales tax just over a half penny per one dollar value could raise around 35 billion dollars in the 20 year lifespan of the tax increase, thereby providing much needed funding to help alleviate the congestion all over our state.

A small increase to the state sales tax is an attractive solution for a number of reasons: It is shared by tourists and out of state visitors who vacation in CO and use our roads, it is more attractive to the real estate industry than a “mileage tax” since our members spend significant amounts of time driving for their jobs, it is more effective than a gas tax since MPG has gotten much higher on almost all vehicles and some use very little gasoline at all.

For more information on the possible ballot measure, click here: https://www.letsgocolorado.com/

National News – Uncertainty Ahead for Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York has ruled that the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection lacked the authority to bring an enforcement action against a New Jersey company “because its composition violates the Constitution’s separation of powers,” and as a result, terminated the Bureau as a party to the litigation.

The case concerned allegations of violations of the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA), where the defendants, a company that offers cash advances to consumers awaiting payouts from settlement agreements or judgements, was charged with engagement of deceptive and abusive acts or practices. The Bureau claims the defendants were scamming retired NFL players suffering from brain injuries and September 11 First Responders anticipating large settlements by enrolling them in high-interest loans. The defendants argued that the Bureau is unconstitutionally structured and therefore lacks the authority to bring claims under the CFPA. The court agreed with the defendants’ argument and further held that the Dodd-Frank provision creating the Bureau should be eliminated.

This case followed in part with the dissents in PHH Corp. v. CFPB, citing that the Bureau is “unconstitutionally structured because it is an independent agency that exercises substantial executive power and is headed by a single Director.” Recall in this case, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held that the unilateral authority of the Bureau vested in a single person who is not subject to dismissal in the discretion of the President was not unconstitutional and the provision in the 2010 Dodd-Frank law, which limited removal of the director only “for cause,” was held as consistent with the President’s constitutional authority.

With the split in circuit court decisions on the constitutionality of the Bureau, it is likely the Supreme Court could weigh in and determine the future of the Bureau structure. In the meantime, Kathy Kraninger, associate director at the Office of Management and Budget has been nominated as the permanent Director of the Bureau. Acting Director Mick Mulvaney has been leading the Bureau since former Director Richard Cordray left and fighting claims for the position by Cordray’s appointed acting director, Leandra English, since that time. The litigation on that issue is still pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit after oral arguments where held in April. Kraninger must be confirmed by the full Senate, which may not occur until at least the fall.

Nick Bokone, SSBR Consultant