City manager selects citizens committee to revise historical preservation ordinance

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— City Manager Alan Lanning has chosen seven local citizens to serve on a committee that will review Steamboat Springs' policies regarding historic structures.

The committee's members represent a range of viewpoints about historic preservation. David Patterson and Tim McCarthy are considered neutral on the subject. Kathe McCoy and Arianthe Stettner are advocates for a preservation-oriented policy. Garrett Simon and Dena Shively are advocates for private property rights. Local attorney Jim Moylan will chair the committee.

Moylan "is great," Steamboat Springs City Council President Susan Dellinger said. "He's a good listener and he's not invested in anything."

In September, the City Council enacted a moratorium banning the demolition of structures deemed historic, while the city's current historic preservation ordinance - one of mandatory review but voluntary compliance - is reevaluated. The moratorium followed a broader-reaching emergency moratorium that halted even minor renovations to older homes throughout the city for weeks.

The current moratorium is in effect until March 1. Dellinger said she hopes the committee can come up with recommendations for a revised ordinance by then.

"You've got to have it done before the building season starts," she said.

Shively said she initially applied for the committee just to show city officials the broad concern in Steamboat regarding historic preservation.

"I was flabbergasted I was picked," Shively said.

Shively said she was surprised because she has no background or expertise in historic preservation. She considered turning down the position but was worried "they would pick someone even less qualified," so she instead started researching the subject in preparation for work on the committee.

Simon works for development firm The Atira Group, but said he applied for the committee out of personal interest. Simon said he hopes to bring "more reason, and less emotion" to discussions on a subject that has sparked great passion in the community.

Patterson said he applied for the committee, believing it would be a great opportunity to participate in a discussion about "the fabric of the community."

"In the past, I've been involved in historic preservation, but I also believe historic preservation needs to be tempered with the interest and desire of the community," he said.

Concerns

Of the 34 people who applied for the committee, some said they are confused by Lanning's selection process.

Some applicants for the committee, including people chosen and not, said they were told there would be interviews prior to the committee's selection. But no interviews took place.

City Clerk Julie Jordan said City Council usually interviews candidates for committees and commissions, but in this case, council members told Lanning to choose committee members directly.

"We probably told some people to expect a call to set up an interview and it never happened," Jordan said.

Lanning said he based his selections on resumes and written statements submitted by the applicants. He said he gave every application equal consideration and said omitting interviews is not unusual.

"I don't have a usual way of forming a committee," Lanning said.

Old Town resident Beverly Glenn applied for the committee but wasn't chosen. She said she is troubled that interviews did not take place.

"I'm very, very, very concerned, as are my neighbors," Glenn said.

Lanning said his goal in forming the committee was to identify a group of people who could stay on task, work together and create an ordinance.

"We'll see at the end of the day whether or not it works," Lanning said.

No meetings of the committee have yet been scheduled. Jordan said all of the committee's meetings will be open to the public.

- To reach Brandon Gee, call 871-4210

or e-mail bgee@steamboatpilot.com

Comments

wzstfu 7 years, 1 month ago

"We'll see at the end of the day whether or not it works," Lanning said. What kind of statement is this? Who hires people for a job without conducting interviews? I'm getting a really bad feeling about this one.

I'm more than a bit confused by this moratorium. Does it only cover demolishing and major renovations on houses older than 50 years? What about structural repairs such as a leaky roof?

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