Council to hear revised Wildhorse plan

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The commercial center that developer Whitney Ward will bring before the Steamboat Springs City Council tonight is a much-revised version from the one Ward offered 15 months ago.

When Ward first brought the preliminary application to the council, members expressed concerns over the architecture and the site's layout. The plan helped spark a community-wide debate on the danger of empty storefronts in the downtown area and on brining big-box stores into Steamboat. In the past year, the developer changed everything from the name to the parking layout to the architecture for the proposed 8.5-acre parcel along Mount Werner Road, now known as Wildhorse Market. The site sits east of Sinclair Gas Station and across the road from Central Park Plaza.

Ward is bringing the revised plan back to the council for approval of a development plan and final plat. When Ward brought the plan before the City Planning Commission in August, commissioners liked what they saw and approved the plan in a 7-0 vote.

The Planning Commission had no problems extending the preliminary plat approval for 10 years and going along with a variance request for snow storage.

The new plan calls for an 88,600-square-foot, eight-building complex.

The applicant has indicated he will object to two conditions in the plan. The conditions require proportional contributions to intersection improvements at the intersection of Mount Werner Road and Steamboat Boulevard and the intersection of Village Drive and Apres Ski Way. The improvements would cost the developer $23,248.

The applicant's attorney, Bob Weiss, said history shows all the required improvements to the roads were made when Mount Werner and Pine Grove roads were realigned. Staff said the fee was based on a traffic study, which identified the amount of impact the development would have on the two intersections. One of the major differences is the layout of the site. Ward eliminated a 24,000-square-foot parking area in the middle of the site. Instead, the entrance off Mount Werner Road has a roundabout. To give the commercial center an urban feel, diagonal parking spots line the site's main road. The plan also shows smaller buildings than what originally was proposed.

Ward decreased the size of the anchor tenant building by 16,000 square feet. The largest building sits at the back of the site and in direct view of the front entrance roundabout. It is the only two-story building on the site and is planned for 10,000 square feet of retail on the bottom and 10,000 square feet of office space on the top.

The center strip of buildings will hold a 6,000-square-foot restaurant, a 10,000-square-foot retail building and two 12,000-square-foot mixed retail and restaurant buildings.

The plan also shows a 10,000-square-foot office building and two 9,200-square-foot-mixed-retail and restaurant buildings along Mount Werner Road.

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