Hospital redevelopment plan goes to city tonight

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— Herald Stout, of Elk River Realty, has plans to raze the old Routt Memorial Hospital and build a new, 26-home neighborhood in its place.
His project, one of the last major development permit applications to get in before the city imposed a moratorium, will go before the Steamboat Springs Planning Commis-sion at 6 p.m. today.
Stout hopes to demolish the old hospital in order to build the new residences. The four-acre site would then be redeveloped for 14 single-family lots, eight condominium units and four townhome units. In the middle of the development, there would be a quarter- acre park for the residents.
Stout considered using the hospital building, which is still in decent shape, without demolishing it, but said he received negative feedback on that idea from local residents.
"I met with neighbors of the old hospital early on and all of the neighbors were opposed to the hospital building staying there," Stout said.
The hospital generated at least 2,000 daily one-way trips, according to a preliminary traffic study by Transplan Associates Inc., many of which came accompanied by wailing sirens. The proposed project would generate only about 180 trips, the Transplan study indicated.
In addition to getting permission to demolish the hospital, Stout hopes to get the property rezoned from commercial transitional to multifamily residential to account for the demolition of the hospital.
During conceptual meetings with city planning staff and City Council members, concerns were raised about the density of the area. Stout and architects Shelley Pastachak and Joe Robbins have since worked to reduce concerns about density.
"The density of the project was deemed appropriate," said Scott Woodford, acting assistant planning director.
Stout also wants the property to be classified a "planned unit development" or PUD, a classification that would give the project density "bonus points." The bonus points would give the architects some flexibility in designing the single-family homes.
The city wants the sidewalks in the development to be open to the public, which may end up being a point of contention between Stout and the commission. While Stout agrees that the sidewalks should be made public, he is worried about liability issues.
Stout is working with two architects to make sure the residences conform to the look of the rest of the community. Pastachak said that they want to try to mirror the character of the existing neighborhood. To do so, the architects will design the buildings in what they call "arts and crafts" and "farm" styles, Stout said.
"People like the look of the Old Town neighborhoods and we want our project to work with that style," Stout said.
The Historic Preservation Advisory Committee will send someone to question the demolition of the hospital.
"We would have liked to see the original building used," said Loreen Schaffer, of the preservation committee. "We are also concerned about the height of the multi-family development obstructing the views of some neighboring homes."
The preservation committee, however, was impressed with Stout's attempts to make sure the buildings conform to the size and style of other homes in the area.
"There are a lot of good things about the project. First off, it's on a scale that's appropriate for Steamboat," Schaffer said.
The single-family homes will be designed individually by the people who buy the lots, but they must be in accordance with covenants that set certain architectural guidelines and styles. Because the project is being considered for a PUD, the planning department, which usually does not review architecture for single-family homes, will take the architectural plans into account. Woodford said that the design covenant is a positive element in the proposal.

To reach Avi Salzman call 871-4203 or e-mail asalzman@amigo.net

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