The Home Front: Northern Colorado is ground zero for unaffordable housing

Your morning roundup of stories from the front pages of Colorado newspapers

The Home Front: Northern Colorado is ground zero for unaffordable housing

“Nowhere else in the country has home affordability gotten so out of whack than along the northern Front Range, according to a housing report released Thursday,” reports The Denver Post. “Of the 12 counties in the U.S. where relative home affordability is at its lowest level, seven are in northern Colorado, according to an affordability index that ATTOM Data Solutions compiles every quarter. The counties topping the list of unaffordable homes: Adams, Arapahoe, Denver and Weld. Of the 379 counties examined, Jefferson County ranked seventh, Larimer County 10th and Boulder County 12th.”

The Longmont Times-Call reports an oil and gas company is eyeing unincorporated land between Boulder and Longmont for drilling. “Crestone Peak Resources applied to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission last month with a proposal to drill on roughly 12 square miles of Boulder County land,” the paper reports. “The application is the first in five years, when, in 2012, county commissioners placed a moratorium on accepting and processing new oil and gas development applications in unincorporated Boulder County. The often-scrutinized embargo, currently the subject of a lawsuit from Colorado’s attorney general, is slated to expire on May 1. The Denver-based company is proposing up to 216 wells near U.S. 287 and Colo. 52 between Longmont and Lafayette, where an invisible yet distinctive border of grazing fields meet against a slew of oil and gas wells that dot its eastern half.”

The Coloradoan in Fort Collins reports on anonymous hit piece mailers in a council race.

“Uniformed Steamboat Springs Police Department officers were at Steamboat Springs High School Thursday to help assure students and staff they were safe after a teacher found a vague note Wednesday suggesting a shooting might take place,” reports The Steamboat Pilot & Today. “A teacher found a note that read, ‘you were always nice to me so when the shooting starts you are safe’ at 2:07 p.m. Wednesday, shortly after a passing period.”

The Pueblo Chieftain reports on a march by about 40 people Thursday who expressed their displeasure with Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. “The group that gathered Thursday marched south on Union Avenue, from the bridge over the Historic Arkansas Riverwalk of Pueblo to Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet’s office on B Street and Victoria Avenue to tell Bennet how they felt about the nomination,” the paper reports. “Bennet has not said how he will vote. Most Democrats are lined up against Gorsuch, with just two from states that voted for Trump saying they would cast their ballots for the nominee.”

“The number of visitors to Rocky Mountain National Park declined for the second consecutive month this year, according to recent numbers released by the park,” reports The Estes Park Trail Gazette. “The national park saw a drop in February from 105,125 a year ago to just 98,832 this year. That’s a 6 percent decline. When you figure in January’s 17 percent decline, you have a two-month drop of 11.8 percent.”

The Durango Herald reports on a decades-long battle to allow Denver TV news on Durango TV household TVs instead of news  beamed in from Albuquerque. “La Plata County is an orphan county, meaning residents do not receive television programming in-state, but from Albuquerque. This month, the Federal Communications Commission granted the county a milestone petition that allows satellite providers to offer subscribers Denver television programming, which could be a reality sometime this year and as early as this summer. Satellite providers serving the county are authorized to partner with ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox affiliates in Denver, and those negotiations are pending.”

The Greeley Tribune has a piece about misleading tactics from soft water system salespeople used on low-income families in Habitat for Humanity homes. At least five north-Greeley families living in Habitat for Humanity homes “have incurred thousands of dollars in debt,” the paper reports. “They all say they are victims of false and misleading tactics. The news shook local director Cheri Witt-Brown, who immediately instructed staff to contact every local Habitat homeowner after The Tribune brought the information to her attention. Witt-Brown’s next step was to contact Ameritek. It took two days, and she wasn’t happy with the answer. “We had quite a conversation,” Witt-Brown said. “She said, ‘It doesn’t matter what our salespeople said to homeowners. They signed a contract that clearly stated they won’t get a reimbursement.'” Witt-Brown said she has reached out to a local attorney, but she’s unsure what else her organization can do when it comes to the more than $30,000 in debt her homeowners have now incurred. The organization can do something in the future, and it will, Witt-Brown said.”

“Colorado boaters face new rules this year and some new restrictions on where boats can go, thanks to a reduction in funding for an inspection and decontamination program designed to protect state waters from invasive species,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “A Colorado Supreme Court ruling last year eliminated severance tax revenues for Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s aquatic nuisance species program, forcing the end of inspections at some sites, CPW says. As a result, CPW has agreed to close Harvey Gap Reservoir northwest of Silt to watercraft normally requiring such an inspection, due to the agency’s inability to conduct inspections there for species such as invasive zebra and quagga mussels. Hand-launched vessels exempt from the inspections still will be allowed there, including rafts, kayaks, belly boats, float and inner tubes, canoes, windsurfer boards, paddle boards and sailboards.”

The Boulder Daily Camera reports on a municipal plan in Boulder involving Xcel. “Four weeks out from a long-awaited trial in Boulder’s municipalization bid, the city has shifted course in its proposal,” the paper reports. “Through legal filings made late Thursday, Boulder puts forth a new plan by which it would separate from Xcel Energy and begin operating a municipal electric utility. At the heart of the city’s proposal had been a plan to acquire Xcel assets, immediately lease them back to Xcel and then gradually build out a generation system before beginning to serve customers independently.”

“Some Colorado Springs City Council members are peeved that they only got to peek at documents they need to decide on a proposed swap of city property for a developer’s land in southwest downtown, near the planned U.S. Olympic Museum,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “They’re upset, too, that a vote on the swap was stripped from this week’s agenda and pushed to April 25, after the Tuesday election in which four members are seeking re-election.”

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About the Author

Corey Hutchins

is a journalist in Colorado, and Columbia Journalism Review's Rocky Mountain correspondent for the United States Project. Follow him on Twitter @CoreyHutchins and email him at CoreyHutchins [at] gmail [dot] com.

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