Estes Park EDC

Town of Estes Park Seeks Public Feedback on Proposed Stormwater Utility Fees

From the Town of Estes Park:

New fees would be assessed on all Estes Valley property owners to pay for flood mitigation projects

The Town of Estes Park encourages Estes Valley property owners to learn about a proposed Stormwater Management Program and provide feedback by July 17. The Town recently completed a Stormwater Master Plan that recommends $79 million in proposed projects to reduce flood risk and a possible fee-based utility to fund and implement the projects. The utility would exist within the Estes Valley Development Code boundary, including unincorporated portions of the Estes Valley.

Meetings in June included an overview presentation and breakout sessions to review conceptual maps and projects with property owners. Property owners are encouraged to review the updated information, including a video presentation, and provide feedback through the online survey by July 17 at www.estes.org/stormwater. Printed surveys are available at the Public Works Department in Room 100 of Town Hall, 170 MacGregor Ave. Town staff will also be available at the Estes Valley Farmer’s Market in Bond Park June 14 and 21 to provide information and gather feedback.

Public Works Director Greg Muhonen explained the importance of flood mitigation, “For every $1 spent on mitigation and resiliency projects, $4 to $8 can be saved on future flood response and recovery. By taking proactive steps we can reduce these repetitive risks to our community.”

New fees are proposed for all owners of developed property within the Estes Valley Development Code boundary. The current cost model for the Estes Valley predicts monthly fees starting around $7 and averaging around $26 for all property types. The median proposed fee is about $14, and 90% of the proposed monthly fees are under $46. Residents of most other Larimer County and Front Range communities already pay monthly stormwater fees ranging from about $4 to $13 per month. Commercial property owners in these communities pay up to $160 per month. The basis for stormwater fees and charges is typically the amount of impervious area within a developed parcel.

The projects are proposed to be built over a 30-year period or as funding and approvals allow. In addition to reducing flood risk for residents and businesses, the projects would ultimately help remove properties from the new, draft floodplain boundaries presented recently by the Colorado Water Conservation Board.

For more information please visit www.estes.org/stormwater or contact Town Engineering Manager David Hook at dhook@estes.org or 970-577-3586.

Press Release - Estes Park EDC Releases Report on Workforce Housing Issue

Estes Park EDC Releases Report on Workforce Housing Issue

The Estes Park Economic Development Corporation is releasing a new report entitled “The Economic Benefits of Implementing Workforce Housing in Estes Park.”  The paper summarizes the current estimated need for workforce housing and prior steps taken toward a solution.  It also compares Estes Park’s efforts to other resort and Colorado communities, and will serve as a guideline for the Estes Park EDC Board in evaluating potential workforce housing projects for their ability to both address workforce housing needs and create community-wide benefits.  The Board reviewed and discussed the paper at their last meeting on April 19.  

“Addressing workforce housing is a fundamental building block for the Estes Valley’s long-term economic health and vitality,” said Jon Nicholas, President/CEO of Estes Park EDC.  “We should commend the Town of Estes Park for its leadership in beginning to address the needs of all segments of our community.”

The report notes that Breckenridge experienced a measurable positive impact on its demographics after expanding its workforce housing effort.  From 2000 to 2010, workforce housing accounted for only 18% of residential home construction, yet resulted in 46% of the growth in year-round residents.   Other benefits of year-round workforce housing include reduced commuter miles (which reduces congestion and pollution), reduced employer costs and improved employee recruitment and retention. 

Conversely, a recent study completed by Shift Research Lab noted the high social costs to Colorado’s Front Range of not addressing workforce housing.  A lack of housing threatens the viability of service businesses, and increases the churn of student enrollment in Colorado’s public schools.  Shift Research Lab also noted that “prior research has associated the overcrowding that often occurs in cost-burdened households with greater risk of injury, higher rates of infection, increased incidences of depression, and other childhood development problems, placing additional pressure on health care and social service systems.”  Working families who spend over 30 percent of their household income on housing also spend less money on food, clothing, health care, recreation and other household expenditures, impacting both businesses and local governments that collect sales taxes.

Nicholas concluded that workforce housing is needed to ensure that local residents continue to benefit from both private and government services.  “Growth in second homes or vacation rentals comes naturally to resort communities, but providing workforce housing requires targeted efforts,” said Nicholas. 

The Estes Park EDC Workforce Housing Committee will continue to work with the community to support progress on this important community-wide challenge.  A copy of the workforce housing report is posted at http://www.estesparkedc.com/estes-park-workforce-housing/.