Steamboat Springs A project that has been in the works for a couple of years will have to wait a little longer for approval or denial.
The Steamboat Springs City Council on Tuesday voted 6-1 to table making a decision on the development plan for the Riverwalk project along Yampa Street, which would have 72 residential units, 11 deed-restricted affordable units, 35 hotel rooms, more than 32,000 square feet of commercial space and 108 underground parking garage spaces.
The project met resistance Tuesday night 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.
About a dozen people -- not all residents of Westland -- stood to speak against the project on Tuesday.
"I think that there's an assumption that there's a place for people to go," Nancy Engelken said. "We need to find that out before you make this decision."
Westland resident Christina Allevato showed the council pictures of the inside of her home.
"I wanted to show you basically what you are taking from me," she said. "I'm not used to this, but my life is in your hands."
Resident Ray Uhl said he understood that he may lose his home, but he didn't agree with the way it appears to be happening.
"It's the process that we're going through that really is the problem," Uhl said.
The only comment of support for the project came from Nancy Kramer, the executive director of the Steamboat Springs Arts Council. She hailed the proposed arts and art education projects in Riverwalk.
After public comment, the council returned to a discussion that council member Kevin Kaminski had started earlier in the hearing. The applicants proposed giving the city $1.25 million in return for a right of way on city property; Kaminski proposed that the council allocate that money to the displaced residents of Westland.
Jim Cook, who represented the applicants of the project, said, "I think it's a good proposal."
Council members raised several questions about that option until council member Paul Strong suggested that they needed to focus first on whether to approve the development plan.
The applicants for the project are requesting 10 variances from city code; therefore, the project has to go through the Planned Unit Development process. For a project to be approved in this process, officials must determine that the public benefit outweighs the negatives associated with the variances from the code.
Variances that concerned council members the most included the lack of parking, the increased height and setbacks from the river. Council members in general said they were OK with the other variances.
Council member Steve Ivan--cie was concerned about the number of variances.
"Why so many variances?" he said. "Why are you pushing the envelope so much?"
Kevin Kaminski said he didn't see enough benefit to approve the project. He said the economic benefit is great, but the loss of affordable housing was a detriment.
"I haven't slept in two days because this thing is just killing me," Kaminski said, adding that he could not look at the residents of Westland if he approved the project.
Council member Susan Dell--inger agreed with Kaminski and moved that the council deny the project's development plan. But after the motion was seconded, Strong made another motion: to table the review.
The project has merits, Strong said, but he wanted to know more about what could be done for the renters and owners in the park.
"We need to try to work for the best solution that we can," Strong said.
Ivancie agreed that the project had merit.
"I think we have a unique opportunity that I do not want to lose," he said.
Dellinger said her decision to vote against tabling the project was because she did not think changes to it would provide enough public benefit.
Cook said multiple council members had changed their minds and direction from previous meetings.
"Where are you going with this here?" Cook said with his hands up in the air.
Dellinger -- one of the council members whom Cook criticized -- said, "You have to allow for some change of mind in it."
Council member Towny And--erson proposed that because of the time, which was about 11:30 p.m., the council should meet later to decide what changes to tell Cook to address. The council will meet at noon Monday to decide what direction to give Cook in preparation for the formal March 21 hearing.
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