A 700-pound growth gorilla is looming on Steamboat's horizon with the sale of the Brown and adjacent properties to the development group, Steamboat 700 LLC.
How shall we refer to the ensuing speculation? Las Vegas East? Steamboat III? Heritage Park II? I imagine the pulses of growth promoters are a little faster at the prospect. Just think of all the sales and property taxes, jobs, people and cars the project would generate. I expect the promoter has already visited with city council and county commissioners waving these incentives under their noses.
Annexation to the city will be coming up. This will be a major issue, and one that truly deserves a vote of the people. I have pressed for public votes before on other big issues, such as URA and Triple Crown contract extension. To no avail of course, because the outcome might have been unacceptable to the Council majority.
Before annexation can be prudently addressed, some very serious thought and study must be given to infrastructure, sprawl, esthetics, social and other problems.
Water: Some years ago, at a meeting on growth, a city staff person said that the city had enough water to sustain a population of about 15,000. Is this still valid? The current population must exceed 11,000 or 12,000 by now. With the 16-plus projects approved at present (the Barn, etc.), to what level would the proposed Steamboat 700 LLC project push water demand? I hear that LLC is negotiating with the Steamboat II Metro District to use city water from its line through the south side of LLC property.
Transportation: CDOT rated our traffic at 95 percent of tolerable several years ago. How to accommodate several thousand more cars from the Steamboat 700 LLC project? Parking in town would become a real brouhaha.
Sewerage: Would Steamboat 700 LLC have its own treatment facility? If not, would taxpayers be stuck with another plant expansion?
Social: Schools, law enforcement, and you-name-it will all be heavily impacted. Won't taxpayers be scrambling to keep up?
In Summary of 700 LLC: This is a major, major issue for both the city and county. The people need and deserve to be included in determining its resolution. A first step and key to that is for the two elected bodies to voluntarily put the matter of annexation on to a public vote.
Is our future just growth, growth and more growth or is it time to apply some restraint? Let the people who are affected decide.
Omar M. Campbell