County discusses area plan

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The need to discuss where industrial uses can take place in Routt County and the need to support health and human services plans came up at the joint meeting of the Routt County commissioners and planning commissioners Wednesday.

During the meeting, county commissioners and county planning commissioners discussed the Steamboat Springs Area Community Plan Update, covering the first half of the 14-chapter plan.

The meeting marked the first time Routt County commissioners have publicly commented on the plan update.

Routt County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak brought up the importance industrial uses have for creating a sustainable community, but she said there is a lack of locations for those uses.

Routt County land is zoned as agriculture and forestry land, so the county can only permit heavy industrial uses in rezoned areas. Industrial uses often are not wanted in the urban growth area surrounding Steamboat Springs, Stahoviak said.

"That leads me to the question, so where do these types of uses go?" she said.

Growing communities such as Steamboat require asphalt and other materials produced through industrial methods. If there aren't areas where those activities can take place, it means they would have to occur outside of the county, which then impacts neighboring communities, Stahoviak said.

City and county officials need to discuss where industrial zoning belongs, she and other commissioners said.

The group also decided that language supporting health and human services should be included in the plan. That language would be inserted in the chapter concerning Community Design and Image.

During the meeting, the group agreed that some language should be reworked to ensure that the plan does not promote dispersed rural residential development.

The group also said a good action item would be to research whether limiting home size or creating disincentives to build large, inefficient homes, could be helpful.

A final question the group considered was how to pay for some of the plan's goals, such as the extensive walking and biking trails.

"It's all really important, and it's got really good policies and goals, but the bottom line is it's all going to cost money," Stahoviak said, referring to the transportation chapter.

Officials will continue to meet to discuss the area plan update, and a revision of the update likely will be issued by early December.

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