Steamboat Springs The Steamboat Springs City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to move to a second reading an ordinance that would repeal a temporary moratorium on demolitions to structures deemed historic.
The moratorium was put in place by the previous City Council in September to serve as a "timeout" while a citizens review committee revisits the city's historic preservation policies, but the current council decided the moratorium was unnecessary for that committee - which met for the first time last week - to do its work effectively.
Councilwoman Cari Hermacinski requested last week that the repeal ordinance be put on Tuesday's agenda - a request that was approved by a 4-3 vote. Councilmen Scott Myller and Steve Ivancie voted in that minority last week, but voted in favor of the repeal Tuesday. Councilwoman Meg Bentley was the third dissenter last week. She was absent from Tuesday's meeting.
The subject drew public comment from both sides Tuesday. Patrick Delaney, a member of the ad hoc group Partners in Preservation, urged City Council not to repeal the moratorium, fearing it could undermine the work of the citizens committee if that committee ultimately decides to prevent demolitions to some degree.
"I would ask you not to repeal the moratorium at least until you have the input from the committee," Delaney said.
Others felt the moratorium was an inappropriate legislative move.
"I think we ought to play by the rules that are on the books, until such a time as the rules are changed," John Fielding said.
The citizens committee, called the Historic Structure Policy Review Committee, has been given a deadline of March 31 to prepare recommendations, which could include a new historic preservation ordinance, for City Council.
Also during public comment, Sonja Macys requested that council members disclose any potential conflicts of interest regarding the moratorium. As he has several times in the past, Councilman Steve Ivancie disclosed that he lives in a house more than 50 years old, the age at which the city's current historic preservation policies take effect. Ivancie said he had no intention of demolishing his house and said he could remain objective. The other council members did not ask him to step down.
Ivancie's was the only disclosure. Macys requested the council members to disclose any impact the moratorium might have on their family members or business associates, as well as themselves. Hermacinski did not mention that her sister-in-law Ursula Hermacinski owns two James Street properties, built in 1910 and 1925, that could be affected by the moratorium.
When asked about the properties last week, Hermacinski said they "never occurred to me." She said her sister-in-law rents both houses and does not live in Steamboat. She said she has "no idea" what plans her sister-in-law might have for the properties.
In an e-mail following Tuesday's meeting to Ivancie thanking him for his openness, Macys expressed concern about Hermacinski's silence.
"She has had two opportunities to disclose this - once when she read her motion to repeal the moratorium (that directly affected those properties) and another : today," Macys wrote.
Following Tuesday's meeting, Hermacinski said she didn't disclose Ursula Hermacinski's properties because, after Macys request, City Attorney Tony Lettunich and City Council President Loui Antonucci only asked members if they owned any affected property themselves.
"I don't, and that's why I didn't discuss it," Hermacinski said. "I really don't believe Ursula owning a house in Steamboat has any impact on my decision making."
In revisiting another controversial topic, City Council voted, 4-2, to reconsider a decision it made last week - in another 4-3 vote - to consider staying the revocation of Kevin Nerney's liquor license. Nerney owns Jade Summit restaurant and its upstairs bar, Pirate's Pub.
Some called last week's decision rash and inappropriate because City Council typically does not take action on items raised during public comment. Council agreed to consider a stay for Nerney after a request made during public comment by his attorney, Kris Hammond. After a week of thought, there was apparently some change of heart as both Walter Magill and Antonucci, who voted in favor of considering the stay last week, voted Tuesday to reconsider that decision. Council had decided to convene as the Steamboat Springs Liquor License Authority on Dec. 5 to consider the stay. It will not be able to reconsider that decision until its next regularly scheduled City Council meeting Dec. 4.
Before its meeting Tuesday, the Steamboat Springs City Council sat as the Steamboat Springs Redevelopment Authority to discuss a multi-year redevelopment of public infrastructure at the base of the Steamboat Ski Area.
Project Coordinator Joe Kracum announced that this year's projects - which included street, landscape and pedestrian improvements on Ski Time Square Drive - were completed on time, and within their $4.9 million budget. Kracum specifically gave credit to contractors Duckels Construction and JBCM for finishing on time a project that was at one point this summer more than two weeks behind. Kracum proposed that the city keep the same team in place for next year's projects, which are proposed to include the construction of a roundabout to replace the intersection of Mount Werner Road and Apres Ski Way.
Council members unanimously approved a budget of $3.5 million for next year's projects.
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