Steamboat Springs The Planning Commission will chart the future of Yampa Street Thursday night in a work session on the Commercial Yampa zone district.
As the city prepares to adopt the new Community Development Code, it is taking a closer look at the most difficult issues. The Commercial Yampa district has drawn controversy as the city and Yampa Street landowners attempt to strike a balance between what's best for the property owners and what the city thinks is best for the community in general.
Before the new code was proposed (and until it is approved), the Yampa Street area did not have as many of the restrictions the city is now considering. But once the city, through its Mountain Town Sub-area Plan, decided that Yampa Street was an important and unique thoroughfare, the city realized it should take a closer look at the regulations placed on the property owners there, said Planning Director Wendie Schulenberg.
The city has made a lot of progress coming to terms with the property owners on Yampa Street on a number of the issues they have been discussing, Schulenberg said.
The city is attempting to preserve the community's views and access to the Yampa River while allowing property owners to exercise their rights. In previous meetings, property owners on Yampa Street have expressed concern about issues such as the required setbacks from the river and the street and building-height restrictions, among others.
In the meetings with the property owners, city staff has done its best to try to make compromises, but on certain points it is looking to Planning Commission to give it more direction.
Thursday night, the city will ask Planning Commission for its opinion on two specific issues regarding the Yampa Street properties, Schulenberg said.
The first of those issues is the requirements for the construction of parking on the properties on Yampa. The code has an inherent conflict about the issue of on-site parking; on the one hand it asks for parking to be provided on-site, but at the same time it strictly prohibits on-site parking to provide for a better pedestrian experience on Yampa Street. If developers had to provide cash in lieu of providing parking, it could cost owners up to $250,000, according to planning staff.
The second big issue that will be discussed is whether the city will ask for side-yard setbacks on property on Yampa Street. The setbacks have been a big issue throughout discussions on the district, as property owners have attempted to deal with city requests to allow larger setbacks on the street side and on the side yards of their properties.
"Setbacks are such a big issue because the lots are so small," said Erick Glanz, an attorney who has an office on Yampa Street.