Steamboat Springs Steamboat 700 developers told city planners Wednesday that they intend to move forward with pared-down development and annexation proposals after their application to extend the urban growth boundary was denied Tuesday night.
"They said they are moving forward, full-speed ahead," Planning Services Manager John Eastman said.
The UGB is a provision of the Steamboat Springs Area Community Plan that delineates land appropriate and not appropriate for urban development. The Routt County Board of Commissioners voted, 3-0, against Steamboat 700's request to extend the urban growth boundary by 185 acres at a joint meeting with the Steamboat Springs City Council on Tuesday. Although council approved the application, 4-2, amendments to the community plan must receive joint approval.
Steamboat 700 Project Manager Danny Mulcahy did not return a message left on his cell phone, but Eastman said the developers met with city planning staff Tuesday and committed to moving forward with an application for the project's remaining 515 acres, which already are within the UGB.
Eastman said 515 acres still is a substantial project and noted that of a potential 2,200 residences, only 190 were intended for the 185 acres that lie outside the UGB. Eastman said Steamboat 700 developers still intend to meet an Oct. 31 deadline for submitting a petition and application for annexation.
By committing to a 515-acre application, Steamboat 700 would avoid presenting City Council with a volatile proposition: considering an annexation of the full 700 acres that would ignore the urban growth boundary and the area community plan. While Councilwoman Cari Hermacinski said Monday it would be "political suicide" to disregard the area community plan, Councilman Jon Quinn said Wednesday, "Everything's on the table right now for me."
Such a move would be legal because annexations are governed by state statute and master plans are considered only advisory, but Eastman said such a move would violate the terms of the city's pre-annexation agreement with Steamboat 700, which stipulates that the development will conform to the Steamboat Springs Area Community Plan and West of Steamboat Springs Area Plan.
That agreement, approved at an Aug. 5 meeting of City Council, is not affected by Tuesday's denial of a UGB expansion, City Attorney Tony Lettunich said.
"The concepts are still applicable, regardless of the size," Lettunich said.
Per the agreement, Steamboat 700 developers must complete a number of studies - on issues such as traffic, visual impacts, fiscal impacts, water capacity and environmental assessments - before they petition for annexation.
Quinn and other council members who voted in favor of Steamboat 700's UGB expansion expressed disappointment Wednesday.
By denying the request, the community could lose out on some potential public benefits that would have been associated with the project, Quinn said.
"There's no question, with a smaller parcel, they're only going to be able to do portions of what they thought they could do," Quinn said.
But Eastman noted that the city would only make demands of Steamboat 700 commensurate with the impacts of the development.
"We're not asking for it to pay extra," Eastman said. "If there's less development, it's got less it needs to pay for."
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