City Council faces full plate

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If Steamboat Springs City Council meetings were meals, tonight's would be filling.

Council members are set to discuss several significant issues, including affordable housing and redevelopment of a hotel on one of the city's most important intersections.

What: Steamboat Springs City Council meeting

When: 4 p.m. today

Where: Citizens' Meeting Room, Centennial Hall, 124 10th St.

The major issues:

Real estate offices

The council may revisit an issue that has some Realtors reeling. Last week, the council approved an ordinance that includes a variety of amendments to the Community Dev--elopment Code, including one that places real estate businesses in the definition of "office."

The change means that Realtors would have to go through a conditional-use pro--cess before moving into or building a sales office at the pedestrian level in two districts -- downtown and in part of the ski base area.

Although the ordinance already has passed, council members have said they are willing to re-vote on the ordinance because -- thanks to a computer glitch --they did not receive some commentary that had been e-mailed the day of the meeting.

Some Realtors who think the ordinance is unfair have said they intend to write letters and attend the meeting to add their comments.

Affordable housing

The council has been discussing two main affordable housing issues, and tonight, it is set to proceed with the first reading of an ordinance addressing one of those issues: Inclusionary zoning. Inclusionary zoning is a mandate that requires developers to include a certain percentage of affordable housing within residential developments. To make this mandatory, the ordinance would have to pass through a second council reading.

The ordinance would require that 15 percent of new residential units be deed restricted as affordable. This means that 15 percent of all residential units developed will be deed restricted for households with incomes at or below 120 percent of Routt County's annual median income, which, for a family of four, is $72,700. At least 50 percent of those units would be restricted for households with incomes at or below 80 percent of the annual median income.

Harbor Hotel

The council is set to review a pre-application of a redevelopment project for the Harbor Hotel, Seventh Street and Lincoln Avenue. A pre-application gives an applicant a chance to hear comments from officials; council members will not take formal action.

Applicant GCP-Steamboat is proposing to replace the hotel with an 118,951-square-foot building that would include 16 retail or restaurant units, with stores along Lincoln Avenue and Yampa Street. The project includes 26 condominium units, 80 parking spaces on two underground levels and eight surface parking spaces. An element of the building would span a city alleyway.

When city planning commissioners reviewed the project last month, most said that they were concerned about the mass and scale of the proposed building. Several suggested that the alleyway element be eliminated or be made smaller to alleviate this concern.

The project has drawn criticism from those who say the hotel is too historically significant to be torn down. Realtor Jim Cook, who is working on the project, has said that restoring the hotel is not a possibility.

Meeting with school officials

The council is scheduled to meet with officials from the Steamboat Springs School Dis--trict at 5 p.m.

Council members and district officials are expected to talk about the district's facilities plan, which could lead to discussions about future and proposed projects in Steamboat.

Council President Ken Bren--ner has voiced concern about the overlapping of several projects, including the new community center and a proposed recreation center. The Steamboat Springs Community Center will be razed during the expansion of the Bud Werner Memorial Library, and the council has made a commitment to user groups that a new center will be in place before the old one is torn down.

As part of this discussion, there will be a presentation from the city's community center steering committee, which has made recommendations to council about what a community center should include.

City recreation officials have also been fielding public comment focus groups and meetings to get input about a possible recreation center.

Brenner has been a proponent of meeting with school officials to discuss their needs and facilities in light of these projects.

-- To reach Dana Strongin, call 871-4229

or e-mail dstrongin@steamboatpilot.com

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