Steamboat Springs The Planning Commission took great care Thursday night approving a development permit 4 to 1 for Steamboat Crossings, the partially developed site just west of the intersection of Pine Grove Road and U.S. 40.
The project is essentially a master plan for the 10-acre site with eight lots, though it does allow for a new daycare facility that will be inhabited by Young Tracks daycare and an office building.
The other lots will have to come before the city for new permits when they are developed.
The idea of the project is to allow for multiple uses to come together in a pedestrian-friendly atmosphere, according to the applicants.
"What we're trying to do is to create a pedestrian-friendly environment that emphasizes a Main Street effect," said Bill Small, a project manager.
Small said the sidewalks in the project will be placed close to buildings to allow passersby to walk around the neighborhood and window-shop.
Small also discussed creating distinctive architectural features on the site, including a potential clocktower and plaza.
The master plan was commended by some commissioners but others had problems with how the layout affected pedestrians.
"They're calling it a pedestrian-friendly place. Let's give the pedestrians someplace to walk," said Planning Commissioner Dana Stopher, who was concerned about some of the connections between sidewalks.
Stopher also brought up the connection between the two halves of the site, which is bisected by Pine Grove Road.
Planning Commission members were also concerned about the applicants' request for a reduction in the number of parking spaces needed on the site.
The applicants, supported by city staff, were proposing to allow for fewer parking spaces with the condition that the businesses located there would not all need the spaces at the same time of day. For instance, a restaurant that served only dinner could share spaces with an office building used in the daytime.
That setup was of concern to Commissioner David Baldinger Jr., who said the city could not be sure how large the other buildings would be, among other things. The city placed a condition of approval on the project to make sure the parking works and will monitor the parking situation, noted Planner Scott Woodford.
The development history of this parcel stretches back to 1980, when the Planning Commission approved, with conditions, a request to subdivide a 10-acre parcel into eight lots.
Since then, buildings have been built in the area, including such businesses as Toys in the Attic, but the new plan would expand development in the area to portions that were previously approved but not developed.