Housing project not backed

Commission fears problems between residents, businesses

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Steamboat Springs Planning Commission members said they do not want to see a 24-unit mobile-home development in an industrial area.

On Thursday, developer Sol Ginsberg presented preapplication plans to the Planning Commission for a mobile-home development on 8.8 acres off Shield Drive and west of the James Brown Soul Center of the Universe Bridge. The site once was occupied by Moos Towing and is bordered to the north by Trans Colorado Concrete and to the west by the Bear River Park parcel.

The applicant was requesting a zone change from an industrial to residential use to allow for the mobile homes, half of which would border the Yampa River.

Although planning commissioners liked the concept of mobile homes providing affordable housing, they said they didn't want to see them mixed with an industrial zone, a use the city wants to encourage.

"Our community plan says we need more industrial areas, not to take any away. I think we have got to stick with that," Planning Commissioner Scott Myller said. "Industrial owners need to be protected from residential neighbors."

Myller and other planning commissioners said the developer could put an industrial building on part of the property and use the rest for employee housing.

Architect Ed Beckr said the site would provide affordable housing and would be a place where mobile-home owners could own the lots their homes sit on.

The project also would offer a transition from the proposed Bear River Park parcel and the Yampa River to the industrial uses on the other side, Becker said.

"It is important to realize when you start considering the zoning change that we are not asking for a zoning change in the middle of an industrial zone," Becker said. "The residential is more of a buffer, in this case."

Planning Commissioners were worried that the surrounding industrial uses would have too much of an effect on the residences. That concern outweighed the need for affordable housing, they said.

"There is a desperate need for affordable housing," Planning Commissioner Tracy Barnett said. "But, if we were to change the zone, we would be creating a problem where no problem exists at the current time."

Les Sharp, manager of Trans Colorado Concrete, expressed concerns that the company's concrete batch plant would create too much noise for the nearby residences. He said the plant could be heard from across the James Brown Bridge.

"If you move on with this, we are going to get 24 phone calls every morning from complaining neighbors," Sharp said.

City Planner Brian Bavosi pointed to the conflicts between the residents in the Fairview neighborhood and B & K Distributing, one of the few areas in town where residential and industrial uses are adjacent to each other. Neighbors have complained continuously about the noise idling trucks make at the business.

But the applicants said the noise levels were not that noticeable and could be mitigated.

Planning commissioners feared otherwise.

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