Steamboat Springs Planning Commission to examine development process |

Steamboat Springs Planning Commission to examine development process

— The Steamboat Springs Planning Commission hopes to engage the public Thursday when it hosts a work session on tentative plans to increase the number of developments that can be approved administratively.

"This is just a discussion," city of Steamboat Springs senior planner Bob Keenan said Tuesday. "We're not proposing an ordinance at this point."

The intent is to streamline the public approval process for developers whose projects fit the Steamboat Springs Community Development Code as submitted, he said.

The Steamboat Springs development code allows projects like vacation home rentals, establishment of a nightclub, creation of duplex homes, home occupations and outdoor dining areas to be approved administratively. Rather than going to Planning Commission and City Council for public hearings, they are reviewed by staff, and Planning Director Tyler Gibbs would make the final decision.

Thursday's discussion will explore whether some additional commercial or multifamily projects that are deemed by planning staff to fit the Community Development Code and whose developers are not seeking variances to the code could be approved administratively, Keenan said.

The discussion also will expand to question whether variances to water-body setback requirements that regulate how close buildings may come to streams could be handled administratively.

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"The idea is that we've got these regulations, and if the project meets them, we've essentially already made the decision," Keenan said. As a safeguard to the public interest, city council members, planning commissioners and potentially the planning director would have the power to call a final development permit application up to full public hearings, Keenan said.

Another aspect of the conversation will be whether to boost the size of multitenant commercial buildings (but not single-tenant buildings) that can be considered administratively to more than the current limit of 16,000 square feet.

Keenan said planning staff is recommending that buildings of any size be eligible for administrative approval (assuming they don't need variances) as long as they would not create a single-tenant commercial space greater than 12,000 feet.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email

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