The Oak Creek Town Board tabled a final decision regarding the fate of the proposed 70-unit Sierra View Subdivision during a special session Thursday night. The board will vote for or against formal approval and annexation of the subdivision at its regular scheduled meeting next Thursday.
Thursday's meeting was the last opportunity for public comment on the project. Residents voiced their concerns about traffic, pedestrian access, upgrading the town's railroad crossings and what the quantifiable benefits of the new subdivision might be for the town. The board expressed its discontent that the project engineer, Doug Bradfield of Civil Design Consultants, was absent and that only one of the developers, Dave Tweedy, attended the meeting to answer questions from the public.
The proposed Sierra View Subdivision, being developed by Tim Geiger and Tweedy of Sierra View Development Group on a meadow overlooking downtown, includes 51 lots with 46 single family homes, two duplexes, one four-plex and two eight-plexes. The average lot size is 8,000 square feet, Tweedy said. At build out, Sierra View Subdivision is expected to add about 175 people to the 850-person town of Oak Creek. That's a 20 percent population increase.
Town resident Dave Fisher said that's "along the lines of a supersize project." He urged the board to reject the project and expressed concern that no traffic study numbers have been produced from the Town Board or the project developers.
Mayor Kathy "Cargo" Rodeman said that full-scale traffic studies typically estimate traffic in the thousands of cars per hour, a study too large to work in Oak Creek. She said she doubted there would be more than two cars at any one time backed up at stop signs along roads that access the proposed subdivision.
Oak Creek resident Stacy Hayes said she felt there was a lack of safe pedestrian access to the proposed subdivision and that there was an unsafe intersection at Moffat and Highland avenues, where the road is steep and she estimates there is only a 50-foot visibility clearance.
Rodeman replied that she would consult with town attorney Bob Weiss to ensure walking paths are added to Sierra View Subdivision's annexation agreement.
Increased traffic on the proposed subdivision's steep access roads was a major point of contention among all the public comments.
"These people are not going to be locals," Hayes said. "These people are going to be based in other places," she said, alluding to Steamboat Springs commuters who might be unfamiliar with Oak Creek roads. She estimated 280 car trips a day on the access roads once the subdivision is built out.
But Rodeman argued that the increased number of people would be great for Oak Creek businesses and the two chosen access roads to the subdivision are the most logical given the topography of the area.
"We can't get the people who already live here to shop local," Rodeman said. She said the project is not costing the town anything, and the town needs to grow. It is hoped that the people who move into this subdivision will shop locally and bring children to the schools, she said.
After noting a predominance of unstable soils in the area, town resident Sarah Fisher questioned whether the town of Oak Creek would be liable for any unforeseen destruction to her property if the subdivision caused mudslides onto her Highland Avenue property or increased water in her basement.
Rodeman replied that she thought the town would not be liable.
"At no time did we ever say it was stable. It was Civil Design Consultants," added board member Mike Kien.
If all concerns are resolved, the proposed subdivision's approval and annexation will go to a vote Thursday.