Commercial growth questioned

Council will discuss tools to control expansion at tonight's meeting

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— Local business owners will join the Steamboat Springs City Council tonight for a discussion about commercial growth.

At the request of Councilman Bud Romberg, the council will talk about the danger of empty downtown storefronts, the role of franchise and formula businesses and what tools exist to control commercial growth.

Local business owners will join the Steamboat Springs City Council tonight for a discussion about commercial growth.

Representatives from the Mountain Business Association, the Downtown Business Association and the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association have been invited to the discussion.

Those groups, Romberg hopes, will bring perspective to an issue that he said needs to be addressed.

"This discussion should not be done in a vacuum," Romberg said.

Since this summer, Romberg has raised the question of limiting commercial growth, asking "when is enough, enough?"

The question was partially spurred by an application that came before the city for a gas station, liquor store, convenience store and car wash at the east entrance of town just off of U.S. Highway 40.

Questions were also raised this summer over the South Village development, which proposed a 27,000-square-foot anchor store in a nine-acre commercial site along the Highway 40 corridor. Gart Sports, which has more than 20 stores in Colorado and more than 60 in nine northwestern states, has been mentioned as a possible tenant for the anchor store.

"What is it that will be best for this community so that it retains the flavor the people of the community want it to have?" Romberg asked.

Romberg has broached controlling commercial growth during informal council members' reports, and in February the council agreed to make it an official agenda item at today's meeting.

Romberg and City Manager Paul Hughes came up with a list of 10 questions to start the discussion. Those questions ask if the city should allow the free market to control all commercial growth, if the city should recruit business to the community, what part should the city play in controlling the types or numbers of businesses in town and what laws or regulations are out there to help the city control growth.

"I don't know if it is the right time or wrong time in terms of the downturn in the economy, but it is a discussion ... that needs to take place," Romberg said.

City Planner Tim McHarg said the planning department did not receive the questions in time to do research. He also said the discussion on commercial growth is one that would be well suited under the Steamboat Springs Area Community Plan Update.

As part of the process to update the community plan, more than 100 volunteers have formed 10 working groups to focus on different parts of the community. McHarg said the discussion of commercial growth has come up in the economic working group and could still be included in the process.


--o reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com

At the request of Councilman Bud Romberg, the council will talk about the danger of empty downtown storefronts, the role of franchise and formula businesses and what tools exist to control commercial growth.

Representatives from the Mountain Business Association, the Downtown Business Association and the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association have been invited to the discussion.

Those groups, Romberg hopes, will bring perspective to an issue that he said needs to be addressed.

"This discussion should not be done in a vacuum," Romberg said.

Since this summer, Romberg has raised the question of limiting commercial growth, asking "when is enough, enough?"

The question was partially spurred by an application that came before the city for a gas station, liquor store, convenience store and car wash at the east entrance of town just off of U.S. Highway 40.

Questions were also raised this summer over the South Village development, which proposed a 27,000-square-foot anchor store in a nine-acre commercial site along the Highway 40 corridor. Gart Sports, which has more than 20 stores in Colorado and more than 60 in nine northwestern states, has been mentioned as a possible tenant for the anchor store.

"What is it that will be best for this community so that it retains the flavor the people of the community want it to have?" Romberg asked.

Romberg has broached controlling commercial growth during informal council members' reports, and in February the council agreed to make it an official agenda item at today's meeting.

Romberg and City Manager Paul Hughes came up with a list of 10 questions to start the discussion. Those questions ask if the city should allow the free market to control all commercial growth, if the city should recruit business to the community, what part should the city play in controlling the types or numbers of businesses in town and what laws or regulations are out there to help the city control growth.

"I don't know if it is the right time or wrong time in terms of the downturn in the economy, but it is a discussion ... that needs to take place," Romberg said.

City Planner Tim McHarg said the planning department did not receive the questions in time to do research. He also said the discussion on commercial growth is one that would be well suited under the Steamboat Springs Area Community Plan Update.

As part of the process to update the community plan, more than 100 volunteers have formed 10 working groups to focus on different parts of the community. McHarg said the discussion of commercial growth has come up in the economic working group and could still be included in the process.

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