Omar M. Campbell: Put it to the voters

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— I have learned a bit about the West of Steamboat Springs Area Plan (WSSAP). It was initiated in 1995, apparently by our elected city and county officials. In addition to those worthies, some local individuals and organizations, such as the Community Alliance of the Yampa Valley, took part. The Chamber Resort Association also had representation, as their members made up a majority of the City Council at the time. I was not able to find out if any of the landowners took part.

The plan virtually assured future approval of growth and annexation by the city, and meant windfall sales to landowners.

A chronology of the WSSAP:

1995 - Original name was Steamboat Springs Comprehensive Area Plan

1999 - First time referred to as WSSAP

2004 - Reviewed and revised

2006 - Again reviewed and adopted

On the premise that growth was inevitable, the planners looked at areas all around the town - including Strawberry Park, Howelsen Hill, Fairview and the east entrance to town - and finally settled on the area generally west of the Steamboat Springs Airport. Strawberry Park was the preferred option, but the planners foresaw too much objection there. We know the location now of WSSAP as the 700 LLC and 360 Ranch speculations.

The goal of the plan was to manage inevitable growth by diverting it to, and concentrating it in, a "suitable" area. A questionable assumption was that by doing so, the state-mandated 35-acre development, its sprawl and loss of agricultural land, would be less likely to occur. Wishful thinking. If the 700 project is approved, we will still see the 35-acre and "cluster" proposals move in around it. Indeed, the recent 360 Ranch plan calls for 11 cluster units with further plans to ask for high-density to fill in the open space once the adjoining 700 LLC land is annexed. The two proposals add up to 1,060 contiguous acres. You can do your own math to get an idea of the traffic and other adversities created in total if these two high-roller speculations are approved.

There are no good options to mitigate the auto traffic impact from the 700 LLC project alone. There will be at least three housing units per acre. Each will have between two and three cars, or about seven cars per acre. This means probably at least 5,000 more cars using our roads than at the present overloaded level.

With 35-acre parcels on 700 acres, the total housing unit count is 20, and the car count drops to about 140 - a more tolerable level.

Loss of agricultural use is total for the high-density lots; there is still some open space and a lot of forage left for stock and wildlife on 35-acre lots, however.

I have a suggestion for the editor and his Editorial Board: assign a reporter to do an analysis of the WSSAP and the impacts of the proposed developments in it. Readers should really appreciate a thorough update. For example: Who was involved in the plan? Was it a clever official fiat to ensure wholesale growth? Where do the water, sewer, schools, etc., fit in? Are the planned commercial outlets in competition with established, small downtown businesses? There is much more :

All indications are that the new City Council has a comfortable majority predisposed to approve annexation of the 700 LLC property. One successful candidate declared unequivocal approval of 700 LLC. Others were ambiguous about it.

Because of the general perception that City Council rubberstamps all growth, it should voluntarily put 700 LLC annexation before all the voters in Routt County. Council President Loui Antonucci promised in one of his 2001 campaign ads that he was in favor of the voters deciding important issues. Not since annexation of the mountain area in the '70s has there been a more important issue than the impending wholesale growth. We voters expect you to keep your campaign promises. We citizens of the city and county deserve a say in our future.

Comments

AmebaTost 6 years, 4 months ago

I think the city should vote on what christmas lights I can put up or what flowers I can plant in my yard. Yes I think we need a committee to tell us all how to us our own space. We don't need more nice neighborhoods we need more trailer parks for the brown people to live, you know the ones doing all the work around here. This town is so full of second home owners wanting to control everyone elses business it makes me sick. Maybe you should spend your trust fund money on some land and let us decide what you can do with it!!!!!

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AmebaTost 6 years, 4 months ago

I know 32 years isn't long enough to be a true local but it seems like a long time due to all the ignorant ongoings in this town!

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dogd 6 years, 4 months ago

Ameba Toast: Mr Campbell is a true local. If you were one, you'd know that. His points are well taken-having to do with annexation of such a big block of land that the potential consequences are horrendous, if things get rushed, and we ALL end up with a case of the woulda-coulda's.

You did not comprehend his letter in the least. Next time take on something you vaguely comprehend. Then your clever insults may make sense...but I doubt it.

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colobob 6 years, 4 months ago

one of Joni Mitchells songs is ringing in my ears, can anyone else hear it? What the hey is happening to Steamboat?

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id04sp 6 years, 4 months ago

Bob,

We could pave the whole city and not lose a thing. More parking WOULD be a good idea. Less to see and enjoy in town would cut down on traffic.

People need to get out into the National Forest and enjoy the surroundings beyond the roof lines of the clutter all over this little part of the Yampa Valley.

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elk2 6 years, 4 months ago

Omar Campbell is a TREASURE and knows as much about SS Govt. as as anyone I've ever met. He is well read, thoughtful and intelligent. He knows what he is talking about. Mr. Campbell was kind enough not to mention the names of former City Council members from the early planning stages of the wssap. But the person who had the most to gain from the WSSAP and was on the city council at the time is Mary Brown.

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colobob 6 years, 4 months ago

I think it's already "been put to the voters" on numerous occasions, if you catch my drift. Here's hoping Mr. Campbell (or someone like him) will run for city council the next time a seat is up for grabs. Would be nice to see someone run for the love of Steamboat instead of the love of the money for a change. Too early to see if the newly elected council members will rule with their hearts or their bank accounts. One can only hope.

Mr. Campbell, how about kicing the thought around the next time there's an election?

Anyone else think it's a good idea?

Merry Christmas All!

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colobob 6 years, 4 months ago

'04, look for the old fart wearing a "tattered" Bucking Rainbow Outfitters hat with a flyrod in his hand, that will be me. More often than not you will find me wetting a fly (if the waters open and I can get there) at the Teal (Poudre when I have some real time) or some place like it. The treetops are my rooftops. Have a Merry Christmas!

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nofear 6 years, 4 months ago

Thank you elk2, someone is finally connecting the dots!!! Do you think the fact that the 4 newly minted and GASP! elected council members were backed, advised, and mentored by 4 ex-council members, and developers has any thing to do with the upcoming annexation?

Everyone's hair should stand up when they hear or read the comments that are made by the new council members. Ms. Hermancinski "Is there anything we can do to make that happen for you"........perhaps condemnation? Mr. Myllar "developers know what they are doing, let them do their job" ......Let them stack as many houses as they want, we the council members can survey, draw, build, sell, and buy to our hearts content. What a boon for everyone of them, and let's not forget, the 100 or so people they currently represent and owe.

Is everyone aware that at the first council meeting, Ms Hermancinski suggested the council limit public comment to 10 minutes total (if there are 10 of you speaking for or against the same subject, choose the one that best represents all 10, and they get 3 minutes, I guess she is allowing 3 1/3 comments only), and no public comment until the second reading of an ordinance. This from a woman that comes with prepared statements, so do you truly believe she listens or even considers your comments? I think not. So much for another empty campaign promise of an open , transparent, and accessible government. Public comment should NEVER be limited by elected officials. Their ayes or nays should be based on all comments of the people they represent.

Let the question be..What can THEY, the developers do for YOU, the citizens of Steamboat Springs, the very people that will be impacted the most by the building and expanding. You want a rec center, demand the council require that of the developers, You need more expansion of the bike trail, let the council know. This is a council that will need constant reminders that YOU, the citizens are the people they represent, not lining the pockets of the ex council members and developers.

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another_local 6 years, 4 months ago

Setting aside the merits of the 700 plan, which I am only familiar with through the paper, and the history of decision making which, as Omar points out, is long and colorful, one thing is clear: if growth is not permitted, there is one effect we can all count on; housing prices will rise even faster.

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elk2 6 years, 4 months ago

This is an important issue that will affect the entire valley from Yampa to Craig. It needs to be closely examined.

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bubba 6 years, 4 months ago

Wow, another local- you mean if they limit supply, the price will go up? It seems you are the only person around here that has thought that one through...

I agree that this is an important issue that will affect the whole valley. Personally, I disagree with Mr. Campbell's main premise, that growth is NOT inevitable. This forms the basis for his argument that this development will increase traffic. I believe that people are going to move here whether or not we have a new subdivision west of town. Following that fundamental disagreement, it goes like this: if people keep moving here, and we don't allow more high density growth in and around town, there will be more and more people commuting in from neighboring towns, which means more traffic. This development has the potential to add office and retail space, which could reduce trips across town, relative to the alternative. If it is annexed, the city's planners have the opportunity to try to create something that reduces the vehicle trips into town, if it is not, the trips still happen. He seems to be of the opinion that 35 acre lots would be better. To meet the demand that this development is trying to meet, 35 acre lots would use up 70,000 acres of land! Hopefully you can all understand the point that Another Local made about how limiting the supply here will drive prices up, especially if new residents all live on 35 acre lots.

So, Elk2, I agree that this is an important issue for neighboring towns as well as Steamboat- I believe that following the advice of this guy will drive up prices in steamboat, create more traffic, and drive more families to neighboring communities, thus driving up prices even more, throughout the valley.

People are not going to move here because of a development west of town, and people are not going to stop moving here if there is not a development west of town. This may just be my opinion, but consider it for a second, and tell me if you disagree. If you think it is possibly true, then stopping growth within town, as Mr Campbell suggests will make traffic worse and drive up prices throughout the valley.

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justathought 6 years, 4 months ago

Councils are elected to make this type of decision, don't expect them to turn to the voters every time there is a controversial decision to be made. What you need to do is make your stance known loud and clear. Draw up a petition against this project, get a couple thousand signatures and take it to the council. If you get two thousand signatures and the council ignores it, force it to a vote then make your next petition a recall, it should be easy. If you can't get that many signatures I guess you accept the project.

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Steve Lewis 6 years, 4 months ago

The annexation is entering into a public process. During the next few months the city will seek your input in this important community conversation. Please attend that conversation too. It will benefit from your input.

The initial plan can be downloaded at: http://www.steamboatpilot.com/documents/2007/nov/20/steamboat_700_initial_submittal/

-Steve Lewis

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Steve Lewis 6 years, 4 months ago

P.S. The "PRE-ANNEXATION AGREEMENT" is the heart of any Steamboat annexation negotiation, per CDC 26-63(g). Don't be fooled by the "PRE-". Subsequent steps will very likely abide by the terms of the Pre-annexation agreement.

So if you want to engage, don't wait until after this "pre-" agreement is reached. That could be too late. -Steve Lewis

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