Steamboat Springs It's back to the drawing board, again, for One Steamboat Place.
With a 4-1 vote, the Steamboat Springs City Council denied a revised housing plan for the resort-oriented project Tuesday night, citing a need for more affordable housing units in the 440,000-square-foot, residential and commercial development planned for a 4-acre site at the base of Steamboat Ski Area, adjacent to the ski area's gondola building and AprÃs Ski Way.
"I think the message we are sending here is that there is a high price for approval," council member Steve Ivancie said. "The applicant has not met the price that we demand."
Developers need to pay that price, most council members said, by including at least the majority of the 14 required, deed-restricted, affordable housing units in the development itself, rather than paying the city a fee "in lieu" of including the units at One Steamboat Place.
"I'm just not going for fee-in-lieu," City Council President Ken Brenner said firmly. "It's not ready yet."
Project Director Jim Wells of Timbers, the Carbondale-based firm developing One Steamboat Place, proposed a plan that would include four affordable housing units in the development, with an in-lieu payment for the rest of the housing requirement. The plan would also include five employee units.
Brenner, Ivancie, council member Towny Anderson and new council member Karen Post all voted against the plan. Council member Loui Antonucci cast the one vote in support. Council President Pro-tem Susan Dellinger did not attend Tuesday's meeting. Council member Paul Strong left the meeting before the One Steamboat Place discussion.
The denial marked another significant setback for the base area development.
The council did not approve an initial housing plan for One Steamboat Place at a meeting Aug. 22, instead asking Wells and project planners to revise the plan and either include more affordable housing on-site, or purchase land within Steamboat city limits for construction of affordable units.
Wells told the council earlier this month that neither option was feasible, and proposed a housing plan that gave $100,000 for local housing needs and proposed a $418,000 payment in lieu of including any affordable housing in the project.
Wells changed that plan on the spot Tuesday night, after listening to a council discussion about affordable housing earlier in the meeting, before One Steamboat Place came up on the agenda. In that unrelated discussion, several council members spoke against in-lieu payments.
"I'm recognizing that what I've been hearing tonight is that this is probably not an acceptable proposal," Wells said of the $418,000 payment plan. "What I'm hearing is that you want some of the units on site."
So Wells instead proposed the new, "hybrid" plan with four affordable units on site. But several council members said that was not enough and asked Wells to again revise plans for One Steamboat Place.
Wells said that will be very difficult, because on Aug. 22 the council approved the project's development plan, which includes 85 residential units, more than 15,000 square feet of commercial space and a large, public plaza.
"We can't redesign - the building is already approved," Wells told the council. "I don't know where to go from here."
After the meeting, Timbers President David Burden said the council's decision will not prevent One Steamboat Place from moving forward.
"We're committed to Steamboat Springs," Burden said. "We're going to make something work."