Richard B. Berkley: Respect zoning

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— We have a problem. Under current vacation home rental permitting rules, your neighbor(s) could obtain a "stealth" VHR permit without your knowledge, and open a "mini-hotel," with a commercial kitchen, housekeeping, ski rental, shuttle, massage, hot tub, and allowing special events, with very little review, expense, and no public hearings whatsoever.

This has happened to us at Ridge Road and numerous other neighborhood zoned residential. Your city government has allowed and encouraged this to happen and recently voted to allow new VHR permits to be issued, even after a 90-day suspension brought about by public outcry resulted in several City Council meetings devoted to this issue.

Incredibly, Karen Post, a City Council member who voted to allow VHR permitting, when asked why she did so, said, "I spoke with a gentleman that was anxious to do a Mini Hotel in Steamboat and was concerned that he could not get a VHR permit. It seemed like a real opportunity and the moratorium if extended would delay this happening.

Is not a function of city government to preserve and protect its citizens from unwanted commercial intrusions into residential neighborhoods and to respect the zoning regulations it created for this purpose?

Paul Strong, another council member, said, "It seems that we really do not have an emergency and have concerns that this extension would hurt the VHR people that wanted to get permits." Apparently, Paul thinks the risk of some individuals making money outweighs protecting our neighborhoods and the very character of Steamboat Springs.

The Council appears to believe, as stated by its president, Susan Dellinger, "We really do not have an emergency, and a small group of people are making a big thing out of this."

Please, e-mail, write, phone or otherwise communicate with the Council to let them know that you care about your neighborhood and its residential zoning and do consider the VHR portal a dangerous threat.

To e-mail the City Council ... www.steamboatsprings.net then go to City Council heading and click on that and you will find a section where you can send an e-mail that will then go to all the City Council members.

Thank you for protecting our right to the quiet enjoyment of our residential neighborhoods!

Richard B. Berkley

Steamboat Springs

Comments

SangriaMama 7 years, 8 months ago

An "interesting" perspective on how life in the big city of Steamboat really works.. little people on the mountain battle "stealth" permits, the City Government and the new big threat - mini hotels. Sounds like great copy for Cabaret - are you listening folks!

Your letter reveals how little you know about what is actually going on in your own neighborhood, that has been going on quite peacefully for over 30 years. The Ridge Road enclave would look a lot more credible if they would stick to the facts.

So, you are proposing is a city-wide ban on hot tubs, visits from massage therapists, catering and food delivery, taxi service and anything else that could detract from your vision of a quiet family neighborhood. That would be for every home - right? Obviously you wouldn't hold a rental home to a different standard to your own home - right?

Why don't you provide a list of the other neighborhoods that you mention are infected with this VHR plague? You say that they are "numerous" but I don't see any response from any other neighborhood other than Ridge Road - is this another fantasy that you are hoping to perpetuate?

Next thing you'll be trying to tell us that the new ownership of the Ski Area is a bad thing. Is your new home appreciating too much in value...?

We have a problem alright - Ridge Road neighbors are living in a fantasy world!

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Alan Geye 7 years, 8 months ago

SangriaMama, Realisticly I supose beauty is in the eye of the beholder. In your mind's eye it appears totally reasonable to have a true commercial enterprise (the City's definition of a VHR), some call them mini-hotel's, operating next door, and essentially without ongoing City regulation (health & safty, etc.) that is required of all other commercial operations in the City.

Sorry, I do not agree. I believe the higher priority in residential neighborhoods is to maintian the fundamental rights of all homeowners to "quiet enjoyment" of their zoned, residential neighborhoods. In my personal opinion the special financial interests of select VHR operators should not trump the original intent of the neighborhood zoned as residential. If one desires to develop a minihotel, do it in a properly zoned area of the City. That's why we do have zoning. Respectfully,

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steamvent 7 years, 8 months ago

While my initial thoughts about the Ridge Road rental issue was ENOUGH whining , at least there are residents who stand up for the the preservation of their neighborhood and property values. In almost every block in every neighborhood in Steamboat there are property owners or renters who are degrading the property values of all by their practice of installing unsightly sheds, parking tarped over campers, boats and travel trailers, parking dead vehicles and lack of yard or building maintenance. There are people all around you who just don't care ... at least there are some people on Ridge Road who do.

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lebowski 7 years, 8 months ago

If this was a conversation about a residential neighborhood, such as you find in downtown Steamboat maybe there would be some valid concerns.

This Ridge Road neighborhood is on the mountain. Some RN-1 zones actually border the ski trails: el primo real estate guys!! How can this not be resort community lodging. If you live there year round - lucky you. But, don't forget where you are. People vacation here. Some use vacation homes that they own. Some use vacation homes that they rent. But one thing's for sure - it's a stretch to call this part of our community "residential" implying kids playing in the street and most homes occupied by full-time locals.

There are residential rent-free neighborhoods in Steamboat - the Sanctuary is a great example. This is what you are looking for if you want to get away from the vacation rentals.

In all other respects the mountain neighborhoods are commercial free - no gas stations, convenience stores, hotels, of fast food chains. There's no signage that would suggest otherwise.

We need a reality check here - let people get on with their lives and don't fix things that are not broke.

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Icare 7 years, 8 months ago

With all due respect, we bought our lot strictly because it was zoned single family residential. The entire community of Steamboat is a resort, but zoning is zoning.

Do you believe single family residential zoning at the mountain should be treated differently from downtown residential zoning?

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SangriaMama 7 years, 8 months ago

With all due respect - go look on a zoning map - there is entirely different zoning downtown to that on the mountain! I think that many would tell you that the mountain is the "resort" part of this community and that neighborhoods up there have different uses - resort lodging being one of them. How many second homes do you see in downtown neighborhoods?

So in answer to your question - you are not comparing apples to apples - yes the mountain is different. Didn't you notice a world-class ski area on your doorstep?!

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