Council approves expansion

Ski Haus gets OK to build larger building across street

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— A vocal crowd ushered Rod Schrage across the street Tuesday night as City Council approved a development for Schrage's Ski Haus store to migrate across Pine Grove Road.

City Council, staring at about 70 supportive faces in the crowd, allowed Schrage to build the new 14,111-square-foot building without having to construct a number of traffic improvements at or near the intersection of Pine Grove Road and U.S. 40.

Schrage's development permit will allow him to move his Ski Haus store across Pine Grove Road and allow the liquor store in the old building to move into the previous sporting goods retail space. There is also a gas station on the current Ski Haus site. Schrage said the building at the corner of U.S. 40 was just not meeting the various businesses' needs.

"We have absolutely outgrown our space there," Schrage said. "The liquor store, the gas station have outgrown it. And Ski Haus is absolutely maxed out."

Council decided not to make Schrage build a trail on the U.S. 40 side of his project until enough trails are built to the south to make it a feasible connection. Eric Smith, Schrage's architect, who presented the project to the city, said the trail might encourage tourists to go down a path which leads to nothing but the highway. Schrage pledged to put the money for a trail in escrow until it will lead to a better system of trails.

Probably the most contentious issue all night was a raised median city staff wanted Schrage to build on Pine Grove Road. The median would have blocked off left-turn access to the present Ski Haus store, a factor that Schrage said would severely hurt his business.

Public Works Director Jim Weber argued that without the median the traffic situation in the area would become increasingly untenable.

Council decided to not make Schrage build the median, though the city may make him push the entrance to his store back up Pine Grove Road.

Paul Ferguson, a member of the public who spoke out about the project during public comment, said Schrage should not have to make improvements that will both hurt his business and are not justified.

"I believe that the applicant should not be unjustly penalized for other additions on that street," Ferguson said.

Council also allowed Schrage to pay a 2 percent pro rata share of an extended left turn lane on U.S. 40 instead of making him pay for the entire thing.

Schrage said he will continue selling the same line of sporting goods he has always sold, but will be expanding the amount of merchandise available in the new building.

Schrage had to wait almost a full year to get his permit after the planning department's major development permit moratorium and then a U.S. 40 traffic study held him up. Schrage approached City Council on Feb. 20 asking the group to step in to make sure his application was reviewed before too much time went by and the summer building season began.

"The summer season's coming and we don't want to build this thing in the winter," Schrage said.

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