Wednesday, August 2, 2000
Steamboat Springs Some members of Steamboat Springs City Council want more opportunity to comment directly to the Routt County Board of Commissioners on the issue of new gravel pits.
Council President Kevin Bennett and President Pro Tem Kathy Connell told the commissioners during a joint meeting Tuesday that they think the issues surrounding proposals for six new gravel pits are too important for there not to be more back-and-forth communication.
"It's an issue that's so important to our community, we should talk about it," Connell said. "We have an opportunity to communicate and we have an opportunity to mess up both sides of town."
All six gravel pits are outside the city limits, but City Council has particular interest in three that are located south of the city in an area encompassed by the Steamboat Springs Area Community Plan. The 5-year-old master plan was created jointly by the city and county.
Ben Beall, president of the Board of Commissioners, reminded Connell and Bennett that the procedures for communicating with the city on planning issues in the county is spelled out in a memorandum of understanding that is part of the Community Plan. That agreement calls for county planning staff to seek a reaction from the city Planning Commission, but not from City Council, Beall said.
"It's more complicated than saying we have to sit down and talk about something," Beall said. "There's a legal problem. And I'm not so sure the process is broken."
Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak reminded City Council that it has long since forwarded a letter to the county stating its concern about the new gravel pits pending before the county.
Bennett said the city has no pretensions about having jurisdiction over the fate of the gravel pit applications.
"We don't want to do anything that would compromise any petitioner's right to due process," Bennett said. "But it's a philosophical question: Do you need gravel pits every two miles in the south valley? Or is that overkill?
"We don't pretend to have any jurisdiction. Of course not. The intent is to communicate back and forth."
Connell's opposition to one of the proposed gravel pits in particular, the Larfarge/Werner pit on Colo. 131, is on record. She is a neighboring property owner and has spoken against the new pit during public hearings. Connell said this week the various new pits threaten the appearance of the south entrance to town, as well as the carefully planned growth area of west Steamboat.
Bennett and Connell told the commissioners they may seek to revise the agreement concerning city feedback on county planning issues when the Steamboat Area Plan comes up for its 5-year review in the first half of 2001.
To reach Tom Ross call 871-4210, or e-mail email@example.com