City on last leg of development code

Residents urged to review community document


— With adoption of the new Community Development Code about a month away, the city planning department wants the residents of Steamboat Springs to see the final stages of a document they helped craft.

Members of the public can see the substantive changes to the current code on display boards set up by the entrance to Centennial Hall all week.

In addition, three times this week, planning staffers are scheduled to be on hand at Centennial Hall to answer questions.

"It's a way to provide closure to a lot of those issues that were more actively debated during the process," said Assistant Planning Director Tim McHarg.

The first of those question-and-answer sessions occurred Monday night, while the other two are scheduled for Thursday morning from 9 to 11 a.m. and Wednesday afternoon from noon to 2 p.m.

Some of the most substantive changes to the new code have come in the form of a revised development review process, potential new vesting and phasing provisions and new requirements for short-term vacation ("nightly") rentals.

The development review process would include a two-step review schedule for larger projects, with the Planning Commission acting as an Architectural Review Commission during one of the steps.

The planning department has also made the code more predictable by designating more uses-by-right for various zones rather than conditional uses. The current code is full of conditional uses that leaves many decisions up to City Council's discretion.

Only three people showed up for the first open house question-and-answer session on Monday night, which may have been an indication of the community's comfort with the code, McHarg said.

The process of drafting the new code has taken five years, primarily because of turnover in the planning department. Over the past six months, the planning department has made a push to finish the code and resolve its substantive issues with as much public input as possible.

Copies of the amended code and a completed comment matrix are available free of charge at Centennial Hall, McHarg said.

City Council will take a first reading of the ordinance to adopt the new code on July 10 and vote on second reading on July 23.


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