Monday, February 23, 2004
Plans for Routt County's justice center have been through the first step of the city of Steamboat Springs' planning process and could be heard by the city Planning Commission as early as March.
HLM Design of Denver responded to the city's Technical Advisory Committee last Friday, and the Fox Higgins Transportation Group has prepared a draft of the required traffic impact study the city had requested.
Although the county is required to go through the city's planning process, the county does not have to follow the city's recommendations, said Tim Winter, Routt County purchasing and property manager.
The process is helpful, he said, because it guarantees the county will know all the problems the city may have with the building. The county has made some of the city's recommendations, he said.
"We want to come up with a project that makes sense to everybody," Winter said.
The county has a court order to build the justice center by Sept. 1, 2006. The justice center will be about 50,000 square feet, could cost about $15.3 million, and will be on Shield Drive next to the Routt County Jail.
The draft traffic impact study states that the justice center likely would generate about 50 vehicle trips in the morning peak hour and 75 trips in the afternoon peak hour with other trips throughout the day. The justice center will contribute about 2 percent of the total traffic using the intersection of U.S. Highway 40 and Elk River Road, the draft study states.
The increased traffic will have "minimal effects" on existing roads, the draft study states, although turning left on U.S. Highway 40 from Shield Drive and Curve Court will take more time.
The off-street parking added for the justice center should be "more than adequate," the study states and the driveway into the justice center should provide "safe and efficient access."
City planning officials will work with the transportation consultant and determine whether more information is needed, Winter said.
One important issue brought up by the city's advisory committee included that the driveway to the justice center does not meet the city's requirement of being 15 feet from other access points, Winter said. The response from HLM Design states the access to the justice center cannot be relocated for reasons including safety for pedestrians and jail operations.
The county is waiting to hear that the responses and traffic study are complete so a hearing date with the city Planning Commission can be set, Winter said.