Majestic Valley plan approved

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The Steamboat Springs Planning Commission on Thursday approved plans for 22 duplex units and two commercial buildings at the south end of town.

At its meeting Thursday, the Planning Commission gave the go-ahead for the development, final development and architecture plans for the Majestic Valley subdivision, which is proposed to sit on 4.38 acres off U.S. Highway 40 between the Super 8 Motel and the new River Place development.

The development calls for 14 live-work units and eight residential duplex units, a 6,629-square-foot nursery and another building with a 1,627-square-foot restaurant, 264 square feet of office space and two employee units.

Project engineer Jorge Gon--zalez said the development faced difficulties with the amount of wetlands on the site, its proximity to a city water-storage area and its effects to wildlife.

"This site has brought a lot of unique challenges a lot of sites don't have," Gonzalez said. "We had to balance the needs of everyone involved -- Mount Werner Water, the DOW and the Army Corps of Engineers."

The applicant, Chuck Dun--agin, asked for five variances for the project, requiring the development to have a degree of public benefit.

Planning Commission members praised the project's proposed architecture.

"This is what I believe I would like to see at the entrance of the community," Planning Commissioner Tracy Barnett said. "I feel it is a really quality product."

Planning Commission Chair--woman Kathi Meyer cast the only vote against the project, saying she did not think it provided the required amount of public benefit. Although the requested variances are minor individually, collectively they require a higher level of public benefit, Meyer said.

"When I look at all the combined variances, I am really struggling, but I don't know what the solution is," Meyer said.

Planner Tim McHarg said the quality of architecture went a long way toward providing that public benefit. The applicant is using energy-efficient building types, has varied the architecture of the commercial and residential buildings and is using high-quality construction materials, he said. The two commercial buildings also are proposed to have rooftop gardens.

"I think these are aspects and designs of the project that go above and beyond the standards of the code," McHarg said.

Meyer said she worries that the three-story duplex buildings will be too high when compared with the commercial buildings and pointed to the adjacent River Place units, which she said surprised some people by how high they appeared.

"For mixed-use neighborhoods to have really tall single-family units, I don't now if that is what we want," Meyer said.

The Planning Commission also approved the development, final development and architectural plans for a 19-unit townhome project off Anglers Drive. Developer Charles Sher asked for approval of the second half of his Sundance Creek Condos project.

The plans almost are a mirror-image of the first half of the project, which is expected to be finished in the next few weeks.

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