Mountain town plans make progress

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— A plan for the ski base area is one step closer to adoption.

The Steamboat Springs Planning Commission voted Thursday to recommend that the City Council adopt the final draft of the Mountain Town Sub-Area Plan Update.

Consultant Stan Clauson of Stan Clauson Associates presented the commission with the updated plan, which is intended to guide future development at the base of the Steamboat Ski Area.

Planning commissioners vot--ed to approve the plan, though they included several corrections they said needed to be made before the City Council reviews it.

Several of those changes were based on comments from the public.

Two people questioned guidelines that could restrict development along Burgess Creek. If the city code were applied to the area, no buildings could be constructed within 50 feet of the waterline, a regulation that people said would be too restricting for the ski base area.

Commission Chairwoman Kathi Meyer said the code was an issue but not substantial enough to hold back a recommendation to adopt the plan update.

"I don't want to hold adoption of the plan because we're trying to crack language on that," Meyer said.

Tom Leeson, the city's interim planning director, told commissioners he thought the waterline setback language should remain as it is -- flexible. The plan allows developers to come up with their own planned-unit developments, which leaves room for approval of specific ideas.

Commissioners and planning staff listed several items that needed to be changed in the draft before the City Council sees it. The list included a few corrections to factual errors and possibly addressing the water setback issue.

Commissioner Tom Ernst said that despite the corrections, he thought the plan was ready for adoption because it is meant to be conceptual, not a detailed review of expectations.

"As I read the plan, I read it as a guideline for us," he said.

Meyer noted that commissioners did not spend much time on the fourth chapter of the plan, which discusses a phasing schedule for when improvements would be added and also lists cost estimates. Meyer said she expected City Council to address that chapter.

The City Council is scheduled to vote whether to adopt the plan Oct. 11.

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