Omar M. Campbell: Impacts of growth

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Growth was a big issue locally until about seven or eight years ago.

Polls then showed up to 80 percent of respondents wanted some degree of control. Instead, piece-meal growth has run rampant, rubber-stamped by successive City Councils. Like the issue of illegal aliens, growth discussion is simply not on the agenda - no editorials, very few letters to the editor and no attention by community activists. Has everyone in town succumbed to the lure of commercialism?

Now, we are faced with wholesale growth by the appearance of Steamboat 700 LLC. Proponents have been quietly showing preliminary plans to key people, stressing small units and "affordable" housing, obviously to lessen opposition.

Let's consider the impacts if the elected officials or the voters approve the project:

Population: No one has a clue what the current population of Steamboat really is. Transient and illegal alien numbers are a mystery. Twelve thousand seems conservative enough. Using 3.5 persons/household times 2,500 units rounds to about 9,000. Add a couple more thousand for other growth and we're looking at another 11,000. That's 23,000, more or less, nearly double the current size.

Car: Conservatively, let's estimate two per household or 5,000 from this project. We are already seeing bumper-to-bumper traffic from 13th Street to the Elk River intersection. We are overloaded with traffic now with no bypass or other solution to the traffic and parking problem in sight. Bicycle and bus promotions will not solve it. At last night's meeting, the traffic consultant said he projected 15,000 trips per day between the project and downtown. They were planning "mitigation" to alleviate this problem. What mitigation is possible?

Water: There have been negotiations with Steamboat II Metro District to its city water line. Does the city have enough water to sustain a 23,000-person population? The last I heard, 15,000 was the sustainable limit. Does the proponent have water rights to serve the project? One consultant said he "thought" water was no problem.

Sewage: Will the proponent build a new treatment plant or will we the taxpayers foot the cost of enlarging the present facility?

Quality of Life: We have lost a lot of it in the rush to commercialism the past three decades. Do we want to permit further loss on a wholesale scale? We have already lost the "friendly little western town" image that the Chamber Resort Association still touts. We are already "any-town USA." (Let's be honest and take down the spur symbols on Lincoln.)

Social: More of everything - law enforcement; jail and school space; welfare, ad infinitum.

I have been sending e-mails to city- and county-elected officials asking them why not voluntarily put any application for annexation to the public vote, including county residents. The response has been zilch. I believe that west of Steamboat planning, affordable housing and their general thirst for growth and prosperity have put our elected officials squarely in the pockets of the developers, regardless of the consequences cited above.

There was a good turnout for the 700 LLC presentation at Olympian Hall last night, I tried to get some answers on water supply, but none of the experts/consultants would, or could, be very specific. The development's project manager said he wants a series of public forums - hopefully ending in a plebiscite.

Omar M. Campbell

Steamboat Springs

Comments

Zalobar 7 years, 4 months ago

Hi Omar, This is copied and pasted here from the Our View section. With much love and respect for you Sir. We would like to hear from you on the beetle kill.

The westland park sale and development thereof has been under debate since 1991. It was a hot topic in council when Mary Brown was presiding. It took I cant even count the ##s of years to finally give up a demo permit for the old Harbor hotel. If officials hadnt dragged their feet for so long undecided, trying to avoid the inevetable the Howelson place and River walk would have been done deals years ago. Same with community center, library, justice center, etc. etc. Now its all coming at once. Will the 700 development be met with the same delays? Im sure that project can be phased in to address most if not all environmental concerns. They are talking about a 20 year project. But if infrastructure isnt phased in at the same time to handle the traffic growth and extra demands on water, sewer, police, fire and rescue, schools, bus routs, etc. Then our officials have indeed failed us. Like selling the 3rd. st. right of way. Also Making downtown suffer the construction traffic running to and from the ONLY gravel and concrete supplies which are west of town while the mountain area is developing everywhere just like down town. Wild Horse, One Stmbt Place, Ski Time Square, Trappeurs 5 and 6. Black Hawk, Bear Claw. Sun Ray Meadows, Sheraton Golf, Porches, Village expansion. $16Million in On Mt. improvements. All the Mega Trophy homes, What did I miss? Future rec. center in ski town park? No gravel south of town? Just the added diesel carbon foot print alone should dictate that there needs to be closer gravel and concrete supplies to the mountain area. Is no one even a little bit concerned about what the melting glaciers in Greenland are telling us. Where are the outraged environmentalist Dems. on these issues? Who is so powerfull there, So.S.S. they can scuttle any plans for a reasonable distance to supplies for construction while putting the excessive construction traffic burden on everyone from Walton ck. rd. to Milner? But we must be carefull what we wish for. A wise man recently said, "If it weren't for construction traffic, there wouldnt be ANY - traffic".

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