Base area diplomacy

Coalition spells out agenda, asks for sessions with council

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— Developers and property owners at the base of the ski area thanked the City Council on Tuesday night for reaching out to them; then, they laid out five issues they want resolved.

In a letter to the council dated Nov. 7, 10 members of the Base Area Reinvestment Coalition asked for a series of work sessions and expressed optimism that redevelopment of the ski area base could go forward. However, they reiterated the thrust of an Oct. 27 letter in which they called for a time-out in the redevelopment process.

The coalition, "cannot support moving ahead with tax-increment funded (urban renewal authority) projects until affordable housing issues and other regulatory uncertainties are resolved, and tax-generating development can proceed on a clear path. Let's get there."

The letter was the outcome of a meeting among BARC members, City Council President Ken Brenner and Councilwoman Karen Post.

BARC's Jane Blackstone thanked Brenner and Post for planning the meeting.

They "have really reached out and met with the BARC group," she said. "We hope it will lead to very specific agenda items to be discussed in a series of work sessions."

Council members also make up the city's Urban Renewal Authority. Under the URA, they would have the option to spend future increases in property tax revenues at the ski base on public improvements there.

BARC members would prefer to clarify their organization's issues before undertaking the projects that would ultimately drive funding for public improvements.

The items on BARC's list include:

- Develop a clear process for Community Housing Plan review, which would identify an administrator and implementation guidelines.

- Allow payment in lieu (of building affordable housing units) by the base area.

- Rezone existing land within the city limits in order to "entitle land" for affordable housing development.

- Carefully consider the impact on business and development feasibility while considering "linkage" regulations.

- Exempt ski base area projects from revisions to Planned United Development regulations

"We have a lot of work to do, but we know what the issues are," Chris Diamond, a member of BARC, said after the meeting.

In related business, consultants gave progress reports about the city-designed public improvements at the base area. They dug into the details of the work needed to improve pedestrian and vehicle circulation among the businesses and condominium projects at the base of the ski area.

Brent Lloyd of Wenk Associates described a series of projects that would cost about $19.25 million, including extensive snowmelt systems powered by natural gas boilers. The snowmelt systems alone would account for about $5.52 million, Lloyd estimated.

Lloyd also gave details of the design of a traffic roundabout in Ski Time Square. He described pedestrian routes from the Gondola Transit Center to Ski Time Square and from the Roundabout to the Slopeside at Torian Plum.

Finally, Lloyd talked about extensive rock terracing that would be installed along Burgess Creek. It would flow alongside a public promenade stretching from Torian to the Steamboat Gondola.

Joe Kracum, coordinator of Steamboat's base area redevelopment said he hoped that the City Council would have the information it needs to prioritize the projects described by Lloyd by Dec. 12.

Comments

Steve Lewis 7 years, 9 months ago

For the record, the new Planned Unit Development regulations (PUD), are written specifically to take subjectivity and uncertainty out of development approvals. Instead of subjective decisions by officials on whether a set of variances are accompanied by enough public benefit, the new PUD sets a 1% (of project value) benefit aside for 3-4 variances, a 2% benefit for 5-6 variances, and 3% for 6 or more variances. Make no mistake, by asking for base area exemption from this new PUD, BARC is asking for subjective and uncertain response to their developments. -Steve Lewis, City Planning Commissioner

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