Thursday, October 24, 2002
Steamboat Springs The Steamboat Springs Planning Commission said Thursday night a storage unit would be inappropriate for a piece of property zoned residential and bordered by a mobile home park and a neighborhood subdivision.
But property owners said the narrow lot and high infrastructure cost make putting homes on the lot too costly and commercial use is the only option.
In a preapplication hearing, all seven planning commissioners said they would not approve the project east of the Riverside subdivision and west of White Haven Trailer Park. As proposed, West End Mini-Storage would hold eight storage units totaling 9,600 square feet. The applicants, Chapman and Kendall Geer, also asked to change the zoning for a portion of the land from residential estate, low density to commercial services.
The site is divided into two parcels and is split-zoned, with the front of the site zoned commercial services and the rear site zoned residential estate. Steamboat Granite is situated on the front parcel and the storage facility is proposed for the rear site.
Representing the owners, Jake Henry of Jake's Drafting Services Inc. said the city's requirements of a 30-foot setback and the cost of infrastructure put difficult constraints on the property.
"We feel given all the constraints of the property, what we are proposing is the least impact of commercial use that we could do," Henry said.
Henry said they looked at building mobile homes, but it was not feasible, and doing townhomes, but the land could support only a few, which would make them unaffordable to the lower-income market.
And Karen O'Connor, who works for the owner, said the applicants approached the displaced residents of the Trailer Haven mobile home park about relocating onto this proposed site after the residents had to leave the land owned by Steamboat Springs Health and Recreation Association. But O'Connor said the offer was never taken up.
"We were open to the idea of affordable housing and a mobile home park. And we thought about it," O'Connor said. "Why didn't (Trailer Haven residents use the land), it was probably too costly."
Despite the constraints, the Planning Commission followed city staff's recommendations and said it would like to see residential units to blend in with the rest of the community.
"It is clear this would be an invasion for the residential areas on both sides of the property," Planning Commissioner Dan Baker said.
The Planning Commission said the city might consider loosening the setback requirements or being more flexible with lot sizes if affordable housing or a mobile home park were put on the lot.
"Staff is open to discuss possibilities for development with the owners," City Planner Leif Myhre said. "Residential development is something that really enhances the qualities of this micro-community."