Riverbend Roadhouse can build cabins

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Owners of the Riverbend Roadhouse just west of Steamboat Springs received permission Thursday to add five long-term rental duplex cabins to their property.

The Routt County Planning Commission also approved expanding the restaurant's existing garage into additional bar space and building a new storage and maintenance building on the property.

The addition of the log cabins, which will provide a total of 10 long-term rentals that are 500 square feet each, will offer another option for affordable housing, owner Reed Stephenson said after the planning commissioners granted approval.

"From day one, we wanted to add a housing element," Stephenson said. He and his wife bought the property about three years ago and started thinking in terms of long-term, affordable rentals.

Originally, the Stephensons presented a plan for 21 cabins to planning commissioners, who approved the plan. But the plan didn't make it past Routt County commissioners, mostly because it didn't fit with the West of Steamboat Springs Area Plan, which requires growth west of Steamboat to take place from east to west, Stephenson said.

"Basically, for the past two years, we've been scaling it down to what the board could accept," he said.

Before approving the cabin construction, planning commissioners said the permit had to allow for a trail easement that could be used if a trail system were built in the area.

Stephenson said he liked the idea of having a trail through the property because it would attract business to the restaurant, but he said he wanted to be sure the easement would not make the property difficult to sell.

Planning commissioners also recommended approval of a domestic water system permit to serve the restaurant and the dwelling units on the site. All the commissioners except one approved that recommendation.

Commissioner Wayne Adamo said he did not approve the permit because he had concerns about whether the restaurant would be in compliance with water regulations once the additional cabins were built.

Other planning commissioners said that the restaurant was in compliance now and that once it expanded, there would be checks on water compliance.

"The state is taking care of it, the Department of Environmental Health is taking care of it. I don't think that's our purview," Routt County Planning Commissioner Donna Hellyer said.

In other business:

n Commissioners approved an amendment to Seneca Coal Company's permit at Yoast Mine so the company could access underground coal in the areas left over from strip mining. The amendment would extend use of that mine by about two years.

n The board approved a zone change and replat of several plots at Steamboat Lake.

-- To reach Susan Bacon, call 871-4203

or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com

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