Steamboat Springs City Council will review tonight the development review process and the ability of developers to hold off on building the separate phases of their projects. The rules to be considered are part of the fourth draft of the Community Development Code.
Projects that are approved by the city are frequently approved to be built in different phases, the first of which often includes at least the first residential building and the amenities included in the project (such as a swimming pool). In order to become permanently vested, a project needs to complete only phase one within two years of getting a development permit.
Vesting rights have been a somewhat contentious issue in the city, as various developers have been able to stop building once phase one is complete because their project has perpetual approval.
That can leave some projects in a half-completed state for a number of years and can make it difficult for the city to enforce current guidelines on a development that may have been approved when the community's tastes and priorities were different.
The planning department has discussed putting limits on vesting rights, though the specific nature of those restrictions still needs to be defined by council and the city Planning Commission.
Phasing requirements, as well, will likely be altered in the new code. Under the current code, a development that has not completed its first phase after two years must conform only with the community plan to receive an extension on its permit. If the project is in compliance with the plan it can virtually receive an unlimited number of extensions.
By the city's count, there are about 19 projects that are either presently vested or are completing phase one and will be vested. Among those projects is the Steamboat Grand, which, according to the city, has not yet completed phase one.