City Council gives OK to Chadwick

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— The members of the City Council all think the Chadwick will generally be a good thing for the base of the ski area; what they couldn't decide on Tuesday night was whether it was "too much of a good thing."

"My primary concern with the project as proposed is it's too much of a good thing," said Councilwoman Arianthe Stettner.

Stettner ended up being the only council member of the five present to vote against the Chadwick, but the other council members all sat on or near the fence until the final vote.

The six-story, 77,000-square-foot multiple-use project at the intersection of Apres Ski Way and Village Drive was deemed too tall and massive by the city planning staff, which recommended denial.

This was the first time in more than a year the city planning department recommended denial of an application for a development permit.

At best, the Chadwick was seen by its proponents and some council members as a beautiful building that will serve as a pedestrian-friendly community center for the mountain area, where residents and tourists can sit outside and eat breakfast on Sunday morning. At worst, it was still seen as an attractive building but one that would cast wide shadows over the neighborhood, stand out too garishly and block views. At worst, indeed, the project could make Steamboat look like Vail or Beaver Creek, some opponents said.

The council acknowledged, as did the Planning Commission last month in voting for the project, it had trouble going against staff's recommendation, but most found the pluses of the project outweighed the minuses. The chance to revitalize the ski base area and increase pedestrian access was too compelling to pass up.

"If we have to fit everything into what exists now there never will be any change," said Councilman Bud Romberg, who anticipates the base area will one day be redeveloped and the Chadwick will serve as an example for future developers.

The audience of almost 100 people was filled with friends and associates of Bill and Kay Stuart, who own Market on the Mountain.

The Stuarts own the land for the Chadwick which is currently used as a paid parking lot and plan to move their grocery store/delicatessen/winery to the new building and expand it by 2,400 square feet. Bill Stuart is developing the project with Richard Friedman, a Florida-based developer.

The first floor of the building will be reserved for commercial development, which will presumably include the new 6,000-square-foot market and one other store to be determined. The other five floors will have a total of 23 condominium units, which would be about 1,900 square feet each and hold four bedrooms and four baths. It will also have underground parking.

The majority of the audience favored the project and felt it will bring new life to the area. One resident who lives nearby said he thinks the Market on the Mountain can act as a community gathering place.

"Those of us who live in this area look at the market as a social center as much as a shopping center," said Rick Dowden, who lives in the Evergreens.

D.K. Landers, a local radio personality who works near the proposed development, spoke out against the project, likening it to the Steamboat Grand.

"If we continue to build high-rises, we will be as mediocre as Vail and other ski resorts," she said. "How much is enough?"

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