City hosting meeting on development code

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— Both Planning Commissioners and City Council members have asserted the latest draft of the city's Community Development Code bears little resemblance to the document they thought they would be getting.

At a public meeting today at the Steamboat Springs Community Center at 6 p.m., those concerns will likely be addressed, though the main point of the meeting will be to discuss the architectural review board and the new zoning map, city planners said.

The zoning map, which is available to the public starting today, will help people get a better sense of the direct impact of the code's provisions, Assistant Planning Director Tim McHarg said.

"People will be able to look at development standards for specific zones and apply them to a piece of property," McHarg said. "Rather than look at the whole thing at once, it's a more bite-size look."

McHarg said residents will be able to come to city hall to find out how the new code would affect specific pieces of property.

The unveiling of the code at meetings and presentations earlier this month elicited public comment on a variety of topics, some of which the planning staff felt were out of the reach of the code. Among those issues planners feel ought to be dealt with in other forums (like the soon-to-be-rewritten area community plan) are growth control, protection of riparian habitats and a range of specific regulations to aid affordable housing.

And those issues can be addressed in more comprehensive sets of studies and regulations rather than attempting to shove them into the code at the last minute, McHarg said. Because issues like growth touch on everything from the city's finances to affordable housing and the environment, they need to be studied thoroughly before regulations are implemented.

"I don't think it can be done in a vacuum," McHarg said. "I think the decision-makers have to have all that information at their disposal."

McHarg addressed the Planning Commission Thursday night on its concerns about what made it into the code and of even more import to some, what didn't make it.

"It's our turn now," said Planning Commissioner Vince Hooper Thursday night in reference to the latest draft of the code. Hooper said the new code troubled him because it didn't seem to take into account comments he and other commissioners made in meetings on the third draft of the code. In the next month, the city's elected and appointed officials will review the code piece by piece with the help of planning staff.

All in all, adoption of the code will likely be delayed until at least April, McHarg said.

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