Planning group OKs base area standards

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— A five-hour meeting Thursday night wasn't long enough for city planning commissioners to deal with issues surrounding the ski base area.

Commissioners were tasked with whether to approve standards for the mountain area, along with determining planned unit development, or PUD, criteria, as well. They approved the standards but decided to continue discussion about PUD criteria in their work session Monday.

The Mountain Town Design Standards, which will be renamed the Mountain Base Area Design Standards, contain nearly 30 pages of standards that developers will have to follow if they want to build in the ski base area. The standards include everything, including roof pitch, color schemes and lighting, and are meant to eliminate confusion for applicants and city officials as plans are developed.

The standards are more solidified than guidelines, city planner Jonathan Spence reminded commissioners Thurs--day. Developers will not be able to request variances as easily as they could in an area where such standards do not apply.

The standards are part of the update of the 6-year-old Mountain Town Sub-Area Plan update. The urban renewal authority will help fund future public improvements to the area.

City Council members have extended a moratorium on pre-application, development and final development plans at the base. That moratorium is set to end Nov. 30, and city staff told planning commissioners Thursday that they must complete review of the standards before the City Council's meeting Tuesday.

Commissioners approved the standards after about three hours of reviewing them and making revisions, some of them very specific.

One item of lengthy discussion was the materials that will be listed as permissible and not permissible. Commissioners took suggestions from developers who attended the meeting about which materials should be included on the lists.

Another topic of debate was primary and accent colors for base area buildings and roofs.

Commission Chairwoman Kathi Meyer said she was worried about including yellows on the accent list.

"If it's the mustard Taco Bell, then I have a problem," Meyer said.

Planning Director Tom Leeson reminded commissioners not to get too caught up in the details of the colors for the sake of time.

"You're not going to be able to cover the entire palette," Leeson said.

Commissioners did not finish discussing one set of standards: community amenities. The draft report they reviewed includes required amenities, such as ski racks and fountains, that developers must build. Commissioners thought they should discuss the amenities in their work session Monday.

The commission also decided to talk about PUD criteria at its meeting at noon Monday in Centennial Hall. PUDs occur when developers request a variance from the code.

If city staff discovers that the work session is not an appropriate venue to continue discussion about the standards and the PUD, the commission may meet with the City Council during its meeting Tuesday.

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

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