Thursday, August 24, 2000
Steamboat Springs A plan to redevelop the site of the old Routt Memorial Hospital into a 26-unit housing development got the go-ahead from Steamboat Springs Planning Commission Thursday evening.
The panel voted unanimously to recommend approval and rezoning of Harald Stout's proposed Park Place development, despite logistical concerns about public access to the property for non-residents and the size of the proposed structures. The commission seemed convinced by Stout's proposal and the recommendations of acting Planning Director Scott Woodford.
The rezoning allows the site to be zoned multi-family from the old hospital's commercial transitional zoning.
Stout's development would include 26 homes, 14 of which would be single-family lots. Homes on those lots, Stout said, would be designed by individual owners but guided by covenants.
At the meeting, Planning Commission members were concerned about Stout's ability to hold owners to these design guidelines. Stout, who himself plans to live in the development, noted that after a certain number of units are sold, a homeowners committee would be elected to enforce the guidelines.
He also plans to construct eight condominium and four townhome units, the designs of which have already been completed.
Joe Robbins, one of the architects on the project, introduced it to the commission with a personal touch. Robbins, a resident of the surrounding neighborhood, met with his neighbors before the proposal to decide what they would like to see done with the old hospital site.
"We had the intention to create a development that might have happened if the hospital had never been built there I feel very good about it as a neighbor."
Other neighbors followed Robbins with declarations of their appreciation for the development, but many in the crowd voiced opposition.
Karolynn Lestrud expressed concerns about the density of the project, saying large homes would appear crowded into small lots.
Historic Preservation Commission concerns were also voiced at the meeting. Chair of the committee Jayne Austen said that the proposal would be too dissimilar from the rest of Old Town historic district.
David Baldinger, who was acting as chairperson of the commission on this proposal because chairwoman Shelley Pastachak was involved on the project, said later that the varied lot sizes and house designs seemed compatible with the eclectic spirit of Old Town.
The commission granted Stout his wish to have the site designated a Planned Unit Development (PUD), which got the project "density bonus points." These points allow Stout to vary the size of the single-family dwellings.
The commission deliberated about a number of the finer issues involved in Stout's proposal, including a sidewalk easement that would allow pedestrians to walk across the property and through an alley that borders the south side of the development. Stout was worried that public access would mean that the residents and owners of the lots would be liable for any accidents that took place on the site, putting his insurance in jeopardy.
He enlisted a lawyer Alan Keeffe to argue his side. Eventually, however, Stout lost that battle and the easements were allowed.
The project will next go to City Council for final approval or rejection.
To reach Avi Salzman call 871-4203 or e-mail email@example.com