Monday, December 18, 2000
Steamboat Springs After a two-week break from West End Village, the first project to be reviewed under the West of Steamboat Area Plan, the City Council will get another look at the revamped affordable housing project tonight.
The Regional Affordable Living Foundation has been working with city staff to get the project ready for council, which tabled it Dec. 5. Some members of council, concerned the project had too many unresolved issues, were unwilling to approve it in its previous form.
The RALF-sponsored project would contain 137 residential units on about 30 acres off Downhill Drive. RALF, in conjunction with local contractor Steve Cavanagh, has promised to offer at least 50 percent of the units to low- and middle-income families, while the other half would be offered at market prices.
Because 50 percent of the units, which include duplexes as well as single-family homes, will be available only to people earning less than 120 percent of the county's median income, RALF has been asking for some concessions from the city to keep the project affordable.
The city is recommending that council decide on financial subsidies at a later date while allowing the project to move ahead for the time being without direct subsidies.
One of the main difficulties with the project as of the last reading was the lack of an adequate route to an existing bus stop on U.S. 40, said Transit Director George Krawzoff. Without access to that stop, the residents of West End Village would have no way to use public transit, aside from climbing down a steep hill or walking along the shoulder of Downhill Drive to the stop, Krawzoff said.
The city has agreed to allow the applicants to build a staircase down the hill to allow for transit access, though this deal is still subject to council approval. In addition, the city is recommending a requirement that the applicants grant an easement along Downhill Drive to allow a sidewalk to be built down the drive at some point in the future. Planning Commission requested that the applicants build a sidewalk down Downhill Drive, but RALF argued that the sidewalk, which would run only to the end of the project's property line, would prove both ineffective and extremely expensive.
The city is recommending that council make the project pay for a left-hand turn lane at the intersection of Downhill Drive and U.S. 40, based on the results of a Transplan Associates traffic impact study. RALF argued that, based on the study, the project would contribute about 30 percent of the total traffic at the intersection and should thus pay only 30 percent of the costs of the new lane.
The applicants may also have to mitigate impacts to the skyline using landscaping techniques such as planting trees or bushes.