Steve Randall: Are we losing our Western character? – Steamboat Pilot & Today

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I first visited Steamboat Springs as a student in 1977, and what struck me was Steamboat Springs was a town, a western town with a ski resort. Are we at risk of losing our character, our soul that differentiates us from other ski towns? Are we selling out to special interests? Many of my neighbors believe Steamboat is losing our Western identity. I will work to keep our unique identity while encouraging responsible growth.
We face many issues and challenges — affordable housing, short-term rentals, access to child care and environmental sustainability. As your city councilman, I will work hard on these challenges while keeping the Western character of our town … a town with a resort rather than a resort with a town.
I champion working with stakeholders to solve the following:

Housing shortage: We need to increase inventory. Eliminating short-term rentals is not the answer. Expand inventory, streamline the permitting process and keep property taxes low. Let’s move forward with annexation of the Brown Ranch project and allow unrelated multiperson, long-term rentals.
Short-term rentals: Short-term rentals should be restricted, permitted, inspected for health and safety, and taxed as commercial property. Rules and regulations should include input from neighborhood home owner associations. If zoning and overlays restrict neighborhoods with existing short-term rentals, they should be grandfathered, but the permit would not be transferable.

Child care: My siblings and I were raised by a single parent who struggled to find child care. We need a coalition of business, schools, churches and city government to work toward a long-term solution. Business should take the lead and provide child care assistance in the form of attractive wages and benefits. The city could provide underutilized facilities. Together we can attract quality workers and greater access to child care.
Environmental sustainablity: While we have no control over the natural variability of climate, we do have control over human-caused changes brought on by burning fossil fuels, deforestation and poor agricultural practices. I consider public transportation a key city service and central to the city’s climate action plan. I will work with the stakeholders and develop a regional and citywide transportation plan. Sustainable funding could come from state and federal funding, short-term rental taxes and installation of downtown parking meters.
I bring over 35 years of Fortune 500 business experience, 30 years at the managerial and executive levels solving multifaceted problems. I do not have a business, minimizing any potential conflict of interests. My focus is long-term, encouraging, sustainable growth, working 100% for the citizens of Steamboat Springs, keeping the Western soul of our town … a town with a resort, rather than a resort with a town.
Steve Randall is a candidate for Steamboat Springs City Council District 3.
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