top of page
  • Dylan Anderson

Sweeping land use bill opposed by Steamboat Springs dies in Colorado Senate

Senate Bill 213 had been amended to a point where Steamboat officials considered supporting it, but changes in the House led to a formal opposition vote last week.

The sweeping land use reform bill that was opposed by Steamboat Springs died in the Colorado Senate on Monday when the body declined to take up the measure again before the session ended.

Steamboat Springs City Council members sounded the alarm about the bill shortly after it was introduced, worried that — in addition to how mandatory upzoning could change the character of Ski Town U.S.A. — it would also derail the Yampa Valley Housing Authority’s Brown Ranch, which could have no longer had enough water to serve the 2,262 unit development when considering upzoning requirements without the construction of another water treatment plant on the Elk River.

But the bill, Senate Bill 213, was significantly paired back in the Colorado Senate, with amendments from Sen. Dylan Roberts and others stripping many of the upzoning requirements and largely rewriting the section of the bill that pertained to rural resort communities.

These changes got the bill to a point where Steamboat Springs considered supporting or at least switching to a neutral position, but that changed when it was sent to the House where some of the original provisions were brought back.

On May 2, council voted to stay in an opposition position and send a letter to Gov. Jared Polis — who considered the bill and its supply-side solution pivotal to solving Colorado’s housing shortage — and other leaders in the legislature to express their opposition.

“We actually talked about this and we’re not happy,” council member Heather Sloop said, as council discussed the letter.

But the city’s fears ended on Monday when the Senate declined to take up the House’s version of the bill before the session ended. The Colorado Sun reported that bill sponsor and Senate Majority Leader Dominick Moreno declared the bill dead five hours before the session ended.

“The bill is dead,” Moreno, a Democrat from Commerce City, told The Sun.

The Sun story also includes comments from Polis’ office, in which spokesperson Conor Cahill said the governor was “deeply disappointed that politics and special interests continue to delay delivering real results for aging Colorado seniors who want to downsize, young families who want to live close to their work and the communities where they grew up, and businesses struggling with workplace shortages because of artificially high housing costs.”

The bill drew staunch opposition from municipalities from across the state and in Routt County, with Hayden also indicating opposition to the legislation. Routt County Commissioners also showed disapproval of the bill, though upzoning would not have impacted unincorporated parts of the county where they have land use authority.

In comments to The Sun, Cahill said Polis “is deeply committed to addressing the higher and higher costs facing hardworking Coloradans across our state and the governor is more confident than ever that reducing costly barriers to housing will prevail.”


bottom of page