Wednesday, September 6, 2000
Steamboat Springs City Council members hit on some big topics in a one-hour meeting Tuesday afternoon dedicated to discussing the group's goals for 2001. Drawing on suggestions offered by Steamboat residents at a number of town meetings held this summer, council members prepared to push ambitious goals in the upcoming year. But, as with last year's proposed goals, just what specific measures will be taken and just what factions within the city the council is aiming to please is still a bit of a mystery.
Growth and the availability of open space were the two most contentious issues brought up at the meeting.
Among the goals established by Steamboat Springs City Council for 2001: * Establish a policy not to subsidize growth. * Establish a growth-control initiative. * Establish affordable housing regulations. * Establish a growth-control ordinance. * Establish cost of new growth through impact fees looking at the Tischler study. * Establish a policy to indicate that we are not for rampant out-of-control growth. * Establish a more permanent income source than sales tax to diversify city income. * Adopt a wastewater treatment plant allocation ordinance. * Adopt the Community Development Code. * Establish a Mountain Town Plan. * Set a schedule for establishing a West Steamboat Action Plan. * Complete unfinished 2000 goals. * Help diversify business opportunities in Steamboat. * Implement transportation plan. * Dedicate more money for open space. * Establish a facilities plan for specific buildings. * Obtain housing options for new city employees.
While none of the members expressed support for unchecked growth, they could not reach any agreements on how exactly the council should try to rein it in. Council President Kevin Bennett proposed ending the subsidization of growth by the city. Kathy Connell, agreeing with Bennett's idea, took it one step further by establishing a growth-control initiative.
"There's a difference between mine and Kathy's proposals: One is saying we're not going to tamper with (growth), we're just not going to continue subsidizing it," Bennett said. "The other one says that we're going to potentially control it, we're going to limit building permits or something like that."
Council member Bud Romberg championed instituting impact fees, a proposal supported by the other members of the council. At the moment, the council is currently waiting on a study by Paul Tischler on the need for impact fees. Those fees, members assert, will make sure the city doesn't have to drain its general fund to provide for new developments. Impact fees would only be assessed against new capital development.
"Impact fees will help assure that growth will no longer drain the general fund," City Manager Paul Hughes said.
Council member Ken Brenner had a potentially controversial proposal, which might be helpful in giving the Planning Commission a chance to institute a new development code.
Brenner proposed extending the
90-day moratorium on major development permits established by the council in July. Although Brenner didn't mention the extension of the moratorium as a growth-control initiative, it would likely be seen that way by anxious developers and architects.
Open space, the other hot topic of the day, sparked debate among the council members.
"We've spent more money on Triple Crown than we have on open space," Bennett said. Bennett proposed dedicating a fund to the acquisition of open space. If the city buys land in the near future, it can maintain it at some later point. If it waits to buy, however, the land will be gone.
Other members, however, were more interested in maintaining the open space the city already owns.
"(Buying new land) would be done at the expense of some other needs," Romberg said. "I do question putting money away in a reserve at this point when we have current needs to be dealt with."
Meanwhile, council members will continue to work on the projects they proposed last December at a similar meeting. Of those goals, "Every one of them is in progress," Hughes said.
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