Steamboat Springs Developer Jim Cook won a unanimous decision in front of Steamboat Springs Planning Commission Thursday, and still wasn't completely happy.
"I take exception," Cook told Planning Commission minutes before it voted 9-0 to recommend approval of his plans for Anglers Retreat, an 18-home, single-family subdivision.
Cook came to his feet when Planning Commissioner Vince Hooper convinced his colleagues to make the report of a botanist a condition of approval for the subdivision.
It was Cook who hired Western Bionomics of Steamboat to survey mature cottonwood and evergreen trees and and give a report on the health of each individual tree and how best to protect it. But Cook felt that being held to the findings of the botanist was going too far.
"We've used every kind of expert you can think of," Cook had told the commission at the beginning of the meeting. "If there's one we haven't used, I don't know who it is from geologists to botanists to hydrologists."
Anglers Retreat would create 18 single-family homes on a 6.43-acre site near the intersection of Anglers and Rollingstone drives, about halfway between Old Town Steamboat and the base of the ski area. Cook and his development team do not intend to sell individual lots. Instead, they will build all of the homes in the subdivision in the "alpine cottage" style.
Cook said he has taken great pains to design the subdivision with sensitivity to adjoining Fish Creek, the wetlands on the site and the trees.
Planning Commission generally praised Cook and Peter Patten of Patten Associates for their willingness to revise the project to suit planning staff, and for working with the neighbors to ease their concerns.
"I think the project has gone a long way to keeping a very beautiful natural area," Commissioner Dick Curtis said.
Janelle Waldrop, a property owner immediately to the east on Anglers Drive, agreed that Cook had shown sensitivity to the neighbors, but remained in opposition to a zoning change that was approved in connection with Anglers Retreat. Waldrop said she feels the existing zoning does more to protect the neighbors from the impacts of development.
"I'm asking you to consider the quality of life of people, in the Steamboat way, as much as you do trees," Waldrop said. "Just keep the Steamboat way of life in mind."
Planning Commission insisted that Cook pave hard-surface internal trails within the subdivision, despite his objections.
Cook said he felt strongly that soft surface trails would be more in keeping with the theme of the development. But Commissioner Tony Connell said he believes the hard surface trails are especially important because they will be immediately adjacent to the roads and because Cook is being allowed to build 20-foot wide private internal roads instead of the city's standard 60-foot rights of way.
Commissioners Dana Stopher and Shelley Pastachak agreed with Connell.
"The (unpaved) walkways will disappear (in winter) and leave these people with nowhere to walk except in the middle of the street," Stopher said.
Pastachak praised Cook for doing a good job with development on a "majestic site." But she said she couldn't settle for a soft surface trail that wasn't separated form the roadway. Such a trail would be little more than a road shoulder, she said.
Cook agreed to build the concrete trails and take them one step further by staining and stamping the concrete to look like stone.
Anglers Retreat must still pass a final test before City Council. The hearing date has not been set.
To reach Tom Ross call 871-4210, or e-mail email@example.com