Tuesday, February 25, 2003
Steamboat Springs The Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday put its final stamp of approval on restrictions that will influence the look of future homes built on certain ridges in the county.
The approved skyline regulations permit landowners to build their homes no higher than 15 feet above the skyline in the Steamboat Springs, Stagecoach and Upper Elk River regions of Routt County.
The board did not go along with the County Planning Commission's recommendation to apply the regulations countywide.
The board opted to selectively enforce the restrictions because it was concerned support of skyline regulations was weak in some areas of the county.
"This whole process has been a compromise," County Commissioner Doug Monger said. "This regulation (15-foot maximum) is not going to meet everyone's needs."
The towns of Hayden, Oak Creek and Yampa have shown limited support for telling landowners how high they can build their homes on skylined ridges.
The Steamboat Springs, Stagecoach and Upper Elk River regions have all adopted community plans that reflect a strong desire to preserve ridgelines from jutting houses.
Other areas of the county, however, could eventually fall under the regulations if their governing bodies endorse the restrictions.
In the meantime, the county is encouraging people who want to build in areas not under restrictions to construct houses that do not take away from the skyline view.
"We need to actively promote the guidelines in the areas that are not covered in the regulations," County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said.
The skyline regulations not only determine how far future homes can jut into certain skylined areas but also affect their appearance.
Builders must use non-reflective materials and earth-tone finishes in construction to ensure homes blend with the surrounding area. The restrictions also call for masking exterior lighting.
Work on skyline regulations began in 1995 at the request of residents concerned about a number of homes popping up on ridges and ruining the scenic vistas.
They viewed the protruding rooftops as an eyesore on the landscape and looked to the county for help.
The board agreed the process was lengthy, but the end result was something it could endorse.
"We have not taken away their (landowners') right to build on that property," Stahoviak said. "We have taken away their right to build 45 feet (above the skyline)."