Tuesday, September 3, 2002
Steamboat Springs After a lengthy public hearing, the Steamboat Springs City Council voted 4-2 to approve the preliminary plans for the development of Elkins Meadows.
Council members supporting the plan for 20 luxury homes on a 104-acre parcel said Tuesday they would have liked to preserve the meadow, but the plans meet the city's community plan and development code.
"I don't want to see this piece of property developed either. What we should have done is de-annexed it (from the city)," Councilman Paul Strong said. "But it is in the urban growth boundary. I think it meets all the conditions in the community development code. If it meets the law, they're able to develop it. I am sorry in this case I think it is the only fair thing to do."
The council had tabled the plan on July 16 and asked that developer Paul Franklin look at reducing density, lot size, house sizes and building heights. They also asked Franklin to revise the site layout plan to allow for more clustering of homes and take into account the diversity of wildlife.
Franklin came back with a plan that limited houses to 6,000 and 7,000 square feet, limited building heights for houses along Fish Creek Falls Road and made minor revisions to lot lines and building envelopes on three lots.
"(At the last meeting) you said we had done a good job, that we gave 105 percent. But this was a unique property. We needed to do a 110 percent," Franklin said. "I think we have come 110 percent."
But council members Arianthe Stettner and Steve Ivancie said they would have liked to see clustering, thus they opposed the plan.
Stettner said Franklin had not met the city's request to reduce density, make lots smaller and look at different clustering models.
Representatives from the County Planning Commission were among those who spoke out against the plan.
County Planning Commissioner John Ayer said the commission did not support the development because it did not meet the guidelines of the Steamboat Springs Area Community Plan and the Community Code.
Ayers said the development was in a transition zone between the rural and urban areas of the community and the development could lead to urban sprawl.
"It's too large for urban and too small for rural," Ayer said.
Ayer recommended lots be clustered in the southwest and northeast corners of the property and be reached by two roads with cul-de-sacs.
That plan, Ayer said, would leave the base of the southern ridge undeveloped, which he said is important for wildlife habitat and movement corridor.
However, City Council President Kathy Connell said after visiting the property she believes that type of clustering would be worse in the developer's attempts to preserve the meadow.
And the linear cluster with homes tucked into wooden areas was a better plan in preserving the open space corridor.
"We have a thoughtful developer that we want to keep with us a good thoughtful developer. If we don't work with this developer, who are we going to work with next?" Connell said.