Steamboat Springs A large environmentally sensitive parcel of land south of Fish Creek Falls Road is on the table for a development permit that would allow a group of developers to build 20 homes on 104 acres.
The city Planning Commission will review a major development permit application for Elkin's Meadow tonight. The review is a conceptual analysis, meant to help the developers understand how they can make their project better conform to the city's expectations, and will not result in a vote.
The Steamboat Springs Area Community Plan designates the Elkin's Meadow land as having an agricultural/rural residential land use, which calls for low density and agricultural and recreational use. It is actually the only parcel of land within the city limits that has this designation.
The city is hoping to preserve as much open space as possible on the 104 acres and would like to see a better attempt by the developers to cluster development on one part of the site, said Planner Tom Leeson. The 20 lots are spread across the property and range in size from 1.1 to 4.2 acres.
Wharton Group, the developers of the project, say the have made conservation of the land an important part of their plans for the site, placing the lots and building envelopes at the edge of the meadow and in the trees. The engineers may want to make the interior roads private so they can be built narrower than city standards and allow the group to preserve as much land as possible.
The developers also plan to allow public access to the property on two trails.
Much of the property is going to be left as open space, but that may be because much of it is undevelopable because of wetlands, riparian areas and steep slopes, Leeson said. There is also land on the site that has been identified as containing "severe winter range, critical habitat, and protection areas for elk, as well as critical habitat for mule deer." The aspen and conifer-covered hillsides on the property, in addition to the animal habitat, make it one of the most significant sites in the Fish Creek Falls area, according to the planning department.
Leeson said he expects a large crowd of interested neighbors to show up at the meeting tonight.