Monday, February 26, 2001
Steamboat Springs We call it Old Town for a reason. A group of consultants who recently drew up design guidelines for the Old Town area looked closely at the eclectic nature of the city's most historic downtown neighborhood in defining those guidelines.
After two years of work, consultants Winter and Co. of Boulder, along with local architect
Jan Kaminski of Mountain Architecture, completed the guidelines last week with heavy input from the city's Historic Preservation Advisory Commission as well as Historic Routt County and city staff.
"The intent is that people will read them and then when they consider a new building in the residential or commercial area, it will be compatible with the existing buildings," said Laureen Schaffer, the city's historic preservation specialist.
The project was funded by a grant from the State Historical Fund, which will receive a copy of the guidelines this week.
The guidelines will be split into two parts one for the commercial areas of Yampa Avenue, Lincoln Avenue and Oak Street, and the other for the area's residential neighborhoods. The residential guidelines will be advisory in nature, explaining to homeowners how their homes can fit into the old neighborhood as far as issues such as mass, scale and detailing, while offering advice on how to sensitively remodel more historical homes. Those guidelines will be used by the historic commission in commenting on homes in Old Town, though the commission will not be able to enforce those guidelines. They may also help residents in remodeling their homes, Kaminski said.
The guidelines regarding the commercial areas will likely be incorporated into the city's new Community Development Code, Schaffer said. That means everyone from planning staff and Planning Commission to City Council and the proposed architectural review board would refer to them in evaluating an application or a development permit. Regulations in that set of guidelines include such technical requirements as maintaining setbacks to conform to the rest of the street on Lincoln Avenue.
Other specific regulations are also meant to keep the historical feel of the area by not allowing new buildings to too drastically disrupt the current state of the built landscape, Schaffer said. For instance, the buildings on Lincoln will have to have flat roofs. Height regulations, in addition, will keep them from eclipsing the structures already standing.
Oak Street and Yampa Avenue are each split into two halves, with different regulations for the different sides of the street. The side closest to Lincoln for both streets will have more commercial-oriented guidelines, while the structures on the side farther from Lincoln will mostly be considered residential, Schaffer said.
"It's meant to be a document that's simple that will push people to fit well into the neighborhood and also to allow flexibility," Kaminski said.