Commissioners OK plan

Industrial project has been described as unique, creative

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— Steamboat Springs planning commissioners have given their approval to an industrial project some described as unique and creative.

The project, called Riverfront Park, would sit on a triangular parcel of land between Shield Drive, the Yampa River and the Harms commercial center. It would include about 65,900 square feet of industrial space, about 19,000 square feet of wholesale office or retail space and 21 deed-restricted employee live-and-work units.

Benji Amsden presented the Riverfront Park application at Thursday night's Planning Com--mission meeting. He showed commissioners a three-dimensional computer rendering of the industrial project.

The 21 live-and-work units include living spaces above small warehouses. The units are intended for singles or young couples who have their own businesses but can't afford a house, Amsden said.

Commissioner Dick Curtis asked Planner Jonathan Spence whether the units would qualify as affordable housing. Spence said they would not qualify as affordable housing but that they would be sold at market rate to people employed within the county.

Most of the commissioners expressed various concerns with the proposal, but, in general, they liked what they saw.

Commissioner Dana Stopher said she was concerned about two long warehouse-building walls included as part of the project, but she approved of the plan.

"Hands down, it's much better looking than anything up there," she said, referring to other buildings in the area.

Commissioner Tracy Barnett said she liked the project, including the entrance sign that drew criticism from other commissioners.

"It's creative and fresh, and I really like that look," she said.

Commissioners voted unanimously in support of the project's development plan, but they voted 5-2 for the final development plan, which included architectural details such as wall colors.

Commission Chairwoman Kathi Meyer said the plans were cutting-edge, but she did not like the presentation of colors for the development. Amsden handed out several color samples, and some were duplicates. Some commissioners said they were confused about which colors would be used.

"In the past, we have made too many mistakes," Meyer said. "I cannot support the material presentation. It scares me, and I'm not going to go there."

Meyer voted against approving the project, as did Dick Curtis, who said the applicant could have saved time by going through the pre-application process.

In approving the project, commissioners said they wanted a clear presentation of the colors for review during a work session set for Monday. The Steamboat Springs City Council is scheduled to review the Riverfront Park project Tuesday.


-- To reach Dana Strongin, call 871-4229 or e-mail dstrongin@steamboatpilot.com

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