County to mull preapplication

Walter Scott's family partnership has submitted plans to divide area near airport

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Five months after Walter Scott's family partnership successfully deannexed its 188-acre parcel near the Steamboat Springs Airport from the city, it has submitted plans to subdivide the area into six building lots and a 140-acre tract of open space.

The preapplication for the land preservation subdivision comes before the Routt County Planning Commission tonight. There will be no decision at the meeting, but there will be discussion about the proposed project, county planner John Eastman said.

"It allows us to give the applicant some feedback," Eastman said about the meeting. "It will be interesting to see how that feedback relates to the West of Steamboat Springs Area Plan and the airport in general."

Steamboat Springs Senior Planner Tom Leeson wrote in a letter that the proposed LPS would not comply with the West of Steamboat Springs Area Plan, which designated the Scott family's land for industrial uses and medium-density residential development. The land could have provided about 230,000 square feet of industrial space and 54 homes.

The West of Steamboat plan also suggests that an important connecting road be built through the Scott family's parcel. That road is intended to provide access to Routt County Road 129 from developments for the northern and eastern portions of the plan area. The Scott family's proposal does not include that road, the city's letter read.

The Scott family's application claims an access easement through one section to allow for its development. That access is being disputed in District Court. The city's position is that the access easement is in a different location, city attorney Daniel Foote said.

Walter Scott was not able to comment Wednesday because of a family emergency. Previously, he has said his family partnership's plan is a poor economic use of the land, but that the family did not have much choice.

Another option for the Scott family is to subdivide the land into 35-acre parcels and sell them. That option would not require any county approval, Eastman said.

Land preservation subdivisions are strongly encouraged by Routt County as an alternative to 35-acre parcels, which a landowner can make and develop on his or her own. With an LPS, home lots are smaller, so a large tract of land is left for agricultural or wildlife needs.

If a complete LPS application is submitted in the future, and all access issues are worked out, the Planning Commission would consider the application as part of its consent agenda, Eastman said. That means that unless it is pulled off the consent agenda, it cannot be discussed, but only can be approved or denied by the Planning Commission.

Going through the preapplication process is helpful because it allows for a conversation, Eastman said.

"It's very informal and allows for a broad discussion without any formal decision," he said.

The Planning Commission also will consider a request from Steamboat Lake Outfitters to amend its permit to allow for 10 rental snowmobiles for overnight guests and a preapplication from Michael Vogl and Nicole Huber for a dog boarding kennel and training facility a half-mile north of U.S. Highway 40 on Routt County Road 44B.

-- To reach Susan Cunningham, call 871-4203 or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com

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