City eyes land annexation

Planner wants zone change for land at Thornburg, Yahmonite


The Steamboat Springs City Council wants to see a comprehensive plan for annexing land into the city as opposed to a piece-meal process proposed by one developer.

Representing Walliburga Ralston, planner Peter Patten brought a pre-application before the council Tuesday night that proposed annexing about 2.2 acres at the intersection of Thornburg and Yahmonite streets. The land is within the county and zoned as agriculture and forestry land.

The 3-acre parcel has a 0.86-acre piece that already is within city limits but remains unzoned. Patten asked the council to consider zoning the 0.86-acre parcel to Residential Neighborhood 2, which is consistent with the zoning for the land just south of the property. Residential Neighborhood 2 requires a minimum lot area of 8,000 square feet.

The council was not opposed to annexing the property, but members said they would be more comfortable with a comprehensive approach that included other properties appropriate for annexation.

City Councilwoman Nancy Kramer suggested waiting until after the Steamboat Springs Community Plan Update was adopted, which would create criteria and an annual review process for expanding the urban growth boundary.

"I would support annexation," Kramer said. "But I would try and get us focused on doing a comprehensive, not piece-meal, process.

City Planner Tom Leeson said one of the action items proposed in the plan is making a list of potential areas for annexation. The list would describe the impact the annexation would have on the city for each area and what it would take to annex the area into the city.

The city's urban growth boundary was one of the first items the city and Routt County commissioners discussed when they reviewed the draft plan in November.

Patten said the developer does not have plans for development on the property but said the proposed community plan strongly supports infill in the Old Town area. The parcel is about seven blocks from Lincoln Avenue.

Council members said they would like to see a development plan before approving the expansion of the city limits. Council President Paul Strong said it would be hard to approve any development that did not follow the historic street pattern.

In other business:

n The council also tabled plans for Sundance Creek, a 19-unit condominium project on Anglers Drive. Questions remained about how to fund the expansion of a culvert the project requires and the installation of a looped water system.

Developer Charles Sher presented a final development plan for a three-story, 19-unit condo building at the intersection of Anglers Drive and Rolling Stone Lane.

Erick Griepentrog told the council that even without new development, the existing culvert under U.S. Highway 40 is not large enough to accommodate runoff from a 100-year flood. To develop the property, a new culvert would cost more than $70,000, and Griepentrog asked that the city or other property owners share in the burden of the improvements.

Paul Hughes said the city eventually might improve the culvert. But if developers want to build before the city does improvements, they typically have been expected to foot the bill, Hughes said.

The final development plan for Sundance Creek has been tabled until Feb. 17.

n City Attorney Tony Lettunich said the city's insurance attorney in Denver is confident that Marcus Williams' $49 million lawsuit will be dismissed in court. Council members Paul Strong and Kathy Connell said the lawsuit would cost the city to fight it.

"It is a lot of taxpayers' money even to just get it dismissed," Connell said. "We could spend $10,000. How much does this take away from providing services and basic things?"

n The council tabled the second reading of an ordinance that would amend Mountain Flight Service's existing operating license to include a new operating license for Mountain Aircraft Maintenance.

n City Planner Tom Leeson gave an update on the Steamboat Springs Area Community Plan adoption process. The City Planning Commission is scheduled to meet Monday and Feb. 2 to review the draft. The council is set to review the draft Feb. 10. An adoption hearing with the city Planning Commission and the council and the Routt County Planning Commission and commissioners is scheduled for March 15.

Leeson said one or two copies of the adopted draft had been handed out, but he speculated that more residents were looking at the draft online. He advised the council to regard the adoption draft as a new document.

n The council agreed to allocate $17,500 to the Tread of Pioneers Museum, which would help cover the museum's costs until it received revenue in July from a recently passed property tax. The council also said it would contribute $15,000 for the painting of the building, which originally had been allocated in 2003.

n City Manager Paul Hughes said the Colorado Department of Transportation had indicated that before next winter it would put a lighted message board along U.S. Highway 40 at the top of Rabbit Ears Pass. The board would face westbound traffic and warn of a steep grade and a long descent.

n The City Council passed the first reading of an ordinance approving a contract with the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association for special events funding. Each year, the city allocates $75,000 for special events funding. The chamber decides which organizations holding special events should receive funding.


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