Riverwalk up for review


The Steamboat Springs City Council will consider tonight two parts of a proposed 10-building development project along the Yampa River between Third and Fifth streets.

The Riverwalk development would have 72 residential units, seven deed-restricted affordable units, 35 hotel rooms, more than 32,000 square feet of commercial space and 108 underground parking garage spaces.

The council is scheduled to:

Discuss what to do with two modular buildings at the Haymaker Golf Course.

Give city staff direction about what to do next with a pedestrian awareness and safety program.

Decide whether to fund the hiring of an architect to provide a building assessment for the George P. Sauer Human Services Building. The architect also would assess three possible sites for the new community center: the George P. Sauer Human Services Building, Memorial Park and the west end of Stockbridge Transit Center.

Conduct first readings of two ordinances regarding supplemental appropriation, which address issues including carryover monies and council's informal fund appropriations.

The project has met resistance from the residents of Westland Mobile Home Park, which would be torn down if Riverwalk were developed. About 150 people live in the park's 39 homes.

According to the city's Mobile Home Preservation Ordinance, the change of a mobile-home park to another use requires a conditional-use permit. To receive the permit, the developer must turn in a Conversion Impact Report, which includes information about who lives in the mobile-home park and a listing of other parks within a 50-mile radius.

According to a city staff memo, "The sole requirement for meeting the conditional-use criteria is the submittal of a full and complete Conversion Impact Report."

City planning commissioners in January voted 4-1 to recommend approval of the permit for the change of use. Commissioner Steve Lewis was the dissenting vote; he said the Conversion Impact Report was not complete.

The report does not require the developer to provide housing or housing assistance to people who will be displaced. Jim Cook, who has represented Riverwalk's applicants in public meetings, has said the developers will provide financial assistance to park residents. Cook also has said a donation of $1.25 million will be made to the Yampa Valley Housing Authority.

Council members also will review Riverwalk's development plan, which covers issues such as the project's mass and scale.

Riverwalk's development plan must go through the Planned Unit Development process because the developer is requesting 10 variances from the city's code. For a project to be approved in the process, officials must determine that public benefit outweighs negatives associated with variances from the code.

The Planning Commission voted 4-1 in December to approve the project's development plan. Dick Curtis was the dissenting vote; he said the project's public benefits did not outweigh the loss of the homes.

Even if council members approve both aspects of the Riverwalk proposal, the project will have to go through another planning step to come to fruition. A final development plan, which addresses architecture and other related issues, must go through consideration by the Planning Commission and the council.


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