Tuesday, February 25, 2003
Steamboat Springs The City Council on Tuesday said "no" to a one-day, one-hour snowmobile event at Romick Arena.
Henry Billet of Warrior Promotions wanted to hold a freestyle snowmobile event March 7 between 7 and 8 p.m. The event would have been held at the city's rodeo arena and have four snowmobiles running one at a time.
The council voted 3-2 to not allow the event.
Billet's much larger two-day snowmobile event at Romick Arena stirred up controversy during the Christmas holidays. The council said it did not have the policies in place and the application came too late to approve a second event.
Chris Wilson, the director of Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services, said the company's request would normally not come before the council, but he decided to bring the question forward because of the public comment from the last snowmobile event.
Council President Pro-Tem Paul Strong, who cast the decision-making vote, said he was not comfortable with approving the event.
"It is a philosophical issue, whether we want to have a motorized event at Howelsen Hill," Strong said.
Council members Steve Ivancie, Arianthe Stettner and Strong opposed it and Bud Romberg and Nancy Kramer supported it. Council President Kathy Connell and Councilman Loui Antonucci, both who voted in favor of the December snowmobile event, were absent from Tuesday's meeting.
"I didn't have a problem with the larger event," Romberg said. "We didn't have a large number of noise complaints. I don't have problem with (this event). But it is pretty short notice."
Kramer pointed to the close to 800 spectators that attended the event and worried about disenfranchising those who enjoyed the event and the growing sport of snowmobiling.
Stettner, Strong and Ivancie wanted to wait for a snowmobile or motorized-use policy to be in place before voting.
Stettner called Billet's request premature and said the city did not have a foundation to make a decision. After the December event, the council decided to create a policy for snowmobiles at Howelsen Hill. The Parks and Recreation Commission is reviewing a policy now and is planning to give its recommendation to the council.
In December, Billet's Colorado Sport Racing Circuit Snocross Event came before the council largely because the event exceeded allowable decibel levels.
Despite those concerns, the council approved the event in a 4-2 vote on Dec. 18.
The event spurred complaints from six residents who contacted the city's PAL line, an e-mail and one personal contact. The majority of the complaints happened before the event.
The Routt County Dispatch received two complaints about noise and one on air pollution concerns. They also received a call supporting the event.
Noise tests taken before and during the event showed decibel levels exceeded the city code for just those who were at the rodeogrounds as spectators or in the immediate vicinity.
Wilson said he has not done tests on what the decibel level for the one-snowmobile event would be but said the Howelsen Hill crew uses snowmobiles, sometimes more than one, and do not go over the allowable decibel limit.