Steamboat Springs Developer Brian Olson said Thursday, and U.S. Postal Service officials confirmed Friday, that a deal has been struck to move Steamboat Springs' downtown post office to a future development at South Lincoln Avenue and Pine Grove Road.
"We've got the post office. It's a definite," Olson said shortly after the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission voted, 5-2, to approve development plans for a related condominium project of Olson's. "I facilitated it, and we have a contract."
As part of his planned Trailside Village at City South development, Olson said he has agreed to deliver a one-story, stand-alone building for the post office by Aug. 30, 2011. U.S. Postal Service spokesman Al DeSarro said the contract stipulates that Olson purchase the post office's current building at Third Street and Lincoln Avenue as part of the deal. DeSarro would not disclose the financial details of the contract.
Olson said Friday that the deal essentially is a property exchange. Olson said he does not yet have any specific plans for the building at Third Street and Lincoln Avenue. Olson said he has had conversations with Old Town Hot Springs, which is located across Spring Creek from the current post office building. He also said development of the River Walk project across Lincoln Avenue could influence his plans for the property.
"I'm not necessarily in a big hurry," Olson said. "I think over the next 12 to 18 months, that will evolve, but we don't have any plans yet."
DeSarro said that during the fall of 2009, the Postal Service will consolidate its downtown and Sundance Plaza offices into one operation at the main office, where the Postal Service currently leases space to Coldwell Banker Silver Oak. DeSarro said the move of the entire operation to Trailside Village would occur in the summer of 2011.
City and Postal Service officials long have sought a new location for the post office because of traffic congestion at Third Street and Lincoln Avenue and because the current building is inefficient; it originally was designed as a bank.
"It's really a good situation for everyone," DeSarro said.
At a public meeting in March, however, some opposed the idea of the post office moving away from downtown.
Condo project approved
Approved by the Planning Commission on Thursday was the residential component of Olson's Trailside Village at City South, which includes 225 condominiums in 10 buildings and the dedication of 3.5 acres of open space to the city. The condos average just more than 1,000 square feet in size. Three business owners in the vicinity of the proposed project spoke in favor of it at Thursday's hearing. Planning commissioners Dick Curtis and Rich Levy voted against the project.
The condominium project is planned for the southwest quadrant of the intersection of South Lincoln Avenue and Pine Grove Road, behind Staples, and was considered separately from other elements of the project. Olson said he plans to submit plans next week for 120,000 square feet of commercial space - including the post office, retail and offices - in the northwest quadrant of the intersection. Also, the Planning Commission tabled consideration of Olson's associated community housing plan - which must be approved before he can begin construction - because city planners asked for more time to review it.
Last week, Olson said he planned to submit "a completely different housing plan than the city (inclusionary zoning and linkage) ordinances," which have been criticized by developers as ineffective. On Thursday, Olson said he did not wish to be more specific about his proposal.
Earlier Thursday at a board meeting of the Yampa Valley Housing Authority, board member Ed MacArthur said YVHA's new projects committee had met with members of the development community about a possible alternative to the city's inclusionary zoning and linkage ordinances. Under the alternative, developers would pay an impact fee of an agreed-upon percentage of the project and voluntarily impose a real estate transfer fee of as much as 1 percent that would be designated for affordable housing.
MacArthur asked fellow board members to consider submitting a letter to the city supporting the alternative compliance method. A special meeting was scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Dec. 18 to consider the request.
Also on Thursday, city planning commissioners tabled their consideration of a controversial revision to the Community Development Code that would prohibit the construction of "single-family dwelling units" in the industrial zone district but increase the allowable percentage of "accessory uses" such as smaller employee housing units.
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