Edgemont spurs debate

Planning Commission votes against ski base development

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The Edgemont Development's project site sits idle near Steamboat Ski Area on Thursday afternoon. Planning commissioners voted, 4-3, against Edgemont's base area development application.

— A controversial development plan for the private Edgemont project at Steamboat Ski Area was the topic of a dramatic and contentious Steamboat Springs Planning Commission meeting Thursday night.

Planning commissioners voted, 4-3, against Edgemont's application. The project, formerly known as Bear Claw III, has a vested approval from 1985, but current developers The Atira Group have vastly altered plans for the development. Commissioners Dana Stopher, Steve Lewis, Rich Levy and Dick Curtis voted against the plans, agreeing with a city staff assessment that the project does not meet the city's Community Development Code requirements for a revision to a vested approval.

The project approved in 1985 included a massive condominium structure, an amenities building and a spa. The new proposal includes two large condominium buildings with seven smaller duplex buildings. The total square footage of the new proposal is smaller than the original plan.

Although all the commissioners agreed that the new proposal is greatly superior to the old one - in its use of multiple buildings and variations in rooflines to break up the apparent mass of the buildings, for example - some thought Atira should take even further steps toward conforming to current city codes.

"This is not the best possible plan for the site," Curtis said. "We can do better. Let's not settle for second best."

Commissioners Scott Myller, Kathi Meyer and Cari Hermacinski voted in support of the project. Myller questioned why the Planning Commission would not support a project that has greatly improved, when the developers could have moved forward with the 1985 vested approval that is greatly out of step with current codes.

"I'm not sure who we're trying to protect," Myller said.

Stopher drew anger from the crowd at Centennial Hall when she suggested Atira had "schmoozed" residents in the surrounding area. Many of those residents turned out in support of the Edgemont project, along with representatives from Intrawest - owners of the ski area - and Steamboat Resorts.

Stopher quickly apologized for her word choice. Clarifying her remarks, she said Atira had clearly worked out its problems with neighboring residents and other stakeholders and asked why they couldn't do the same for the Planning Commission.

The meeting turned ugly on one other occasion, when Curtis suggested the commissioners who supported the Edgemont application were doing so for political reasons. Myller and Hermacinski are candidates for Steamboat Springs City Council.

In other action

In contrast to the drawn-out and divisive Edgemont discussions, the Planning Commission enthusiastically recommended approval of a final development plan in the 600 block of Yampa Street. The proposed development, on the Yampa River side of Yampa Avenue at Seventh Street, is a mixed-use development including six residential units, three retail spaces and an internal garage stacking system for six vehicles.

The proposal includes a public plaza, access to the river and public restrooms. The development's design includes green building techniques, including "green roofs" covered in vegetation.

"It's a fun building," Lewis said.

The commissioners voted to table a proposed addition to the Sears Center in the 1800 block of Shield Drive because of a disagreement between the applicant, Outback Investments, and city staff regarding sidewalk improvements to be constructed along with the addition to the building.

Comments

steamvent 6 years, 9 months ago

knownothing ... Have you ever actually met Cari Hermacinski. Likely not, as you can't even spell her name correctly. People like you who make sweeping statements based on NO fact are a disservice to the communty. Let me see, which of the City Council candidates have voted for the carnage downtown ... oh, the ones who are now on the Council. The ski area base is exactly where the density should be. Would you rather see another Bear Claw monstrosity building? Do your homework before jacking your jaws.

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elkeye 6 years, 9 months ago

If the Edgemont project did not meet the city's Community Development Code requirements for a revision to a vested approval, the vote of the Planning Commission should have been 7-0 against approval (unless the "vastly altered plans" meet the city's current Community Development Code requirements) !

"Commissioners Dana Stopher, Steve Lewis, Rich Levy and Dick Curtis voted against the plans, agreeing with a city staff assessment that the project does not meet the city's Community Development Code requirements for a revision to a vested approval."

Commissioners Scott Myller, Kathi Meyer and Cari Hermacinski voted in support of the project. Did these two candidates (and a former candidate) for Steamboat Springs City Council agree with the city staff assessment that the project did not meet the city's Community Development Code requirements for a revision? If yes, did Commissioners Scott Myller, Kathi Meyer and Cari Hermacinski believe that the Edgemont project fully meet the city's current Community Development Code requirements or was it merely an improvement over the vested "Bear Claw III" approval?

Scott Myller, was quoted in yesterday's paper that "the city needs to be more trusting of private developers - a theme in his comments throughout the forum" hosted by the League of Women Voters of Routt County on Wednesday, October 10th.

Excuse me.....everyone, including private developers, should be required to fully meet the city's Community Development Code requirements.

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Dan Hill 6 years, 9 months ago

The point here, that several commenters seem unable to comprehend, is that the developers weren't starting from scratch. They could have gone ahead with the 1985 plan without further planning approval. Given that, you'd think the planning commissioners would welcome with open arms a proposed plan that they all seem to agree is a vast improvement over the 1985 plan.

But not satisfied with being met halfway, the majority of the commission decided that it's all or nothing. In that case, if I was the developer I'd give the city nothing and go ahead with the original plan!

Here's an idea. Let's all move to North Korea where they don't have pesky developers and annoying property rights and where a benevolent and omnipotent government has built a worker's paradise. No takers? Then perhaps we shouldn't be so sure that constant government micro-meddling is the best way forward for Steamboat.

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grizzleylotus 6 years, 9 months ago

The issue is about control. The planning commission has to show that money does not yield the strong hand. To me, this one incident shows the political agenda that all humans have. If the city staff assessment said it did not meet the requirements for a revision to a vested approval, then why was there even a vote? Because it's about control.

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bubba 6 years, 9 months ago

It should be noted that there was a 'clarification' on the front page of today's paper that the three individuals who this article said voted to approve the plan in fact voted against denying the plan, and voted (in a failed motion) to table it and encourage the developer to make changes to certain parts of the plan.

The denial of this plan probably moves the developer closer towards building the 1985 plan which they have vested rights to do, which is probably a lot worse than any new plan, even if it doesn't meet all of the guidelines that have come about since 1985. Nice going, guys.

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