Wednesday, November 17, 2004
Steamboat Springs City Council members think the community needs a building such as the proposed 250-seat Riverhouse Theatre, but they are worried that plans for the theater do not meet city guidelines.
Terry Koch came before the council Tuesday night with preliminary plans for the Riverhouse Theatre, a proposed three-story, 8,712-square-foot auditorium and theater that would be built on the lot between Yampa Blue Coffee Shop and the Yacht Club.
Koch said the Yampa Street theater could be used for plays by local acting groups and for concerts, dance shows, family and children's theater, film festivals, seminars and conferences.
"With the exception of the high school theater, our citizens have been deprived of this luxury for far too long," Koch said.
Council members said they saw the need for the building but were concerned about the lack of parking provided, the size of the building and its proximity to the Yampa River.
"I am sorry to be so negative. I really am a supporter of the arts and the facility," Councilman Loui Antonucci said. "I would like to see it done so it fits into the character of the whole downtown and what we want it to be in the future."
Councilman Paul Strong said his largest concern was the lack of a setback from the Yampa River. The plan proposes a zero water body setback, which Strong worried would make the three-story building appear too imposing.
Councilman Ken Brenner also worried about the building's proximity to the river and said the large building could obstruct views of Howelsen Hill and the Yampa River through the Eighth Street corridor.
Brenner also suggested drawing elements from nearby buildings, such as the Rehder Building on Lincoln Avenue and Eighth Street, and adding it into the building's architecture.
"It would tie with that type of permanent and rustic beauty, that would be very important," Brenner said. "This would be such a great amenity for the community."
Councilman Steve Ivancie said he wanted to see a parking plan in place before approving the theater and said Koch should continue to pay attention to the visual connection to the rest of downtown.
Koch said the parking should not be a problem because of spaces available along Yampa Street and Lincoln Avenue. People could park at the Howelesen Hill parking areas and make the five-minute walk to the theater, Koch said. He also said there were discussions of a valet service that would park cars at Howelsen Hill.
Under the city ordinance, the side of Yampa Avenue that the theater is proposed for does not require any parking.
As for the architecture, Koch said the building needed to reflect its usage, and it should be something that would become a gem of downtown Steamboat Springs. Koch said he wanted to keep the theater in downtown Steamboat Springs.
"The only other downtown location that would be the least bit workable is, unfortunately, in downtown Oak Creek," he said.
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