Photo by John F. Russell
A portion of this land near Emerald Mountain could some day be home to a large neighborhood if Lyman Orton can convince the City of Steamboat Springs to add acreage to Steamboat's Urban Growth Boundary. Orton has not submitted a development application to local government, but he is among five individuals and development entities seeking an enlarged growth boundary, which is a precursor to annexation.
5 seek amendments to urban growth boundary
Four of the five propose to create affordable housing units.
- Butch Dougherty, represented by Dan Wilson, proposes one dwelling on a half-acre lot
- Steamboat 700, represented by Patten Associates, seeks 190 dwelling units on 185 acres
- 360 Village/Wilton Development, represented by TST Inc. Chris Erickson, proposes 110 to 125 dwelling units on 240 acres
- Alex Koftinow, represented by Vicky Hanna, proposes 26 dwelling units on 40 acres along the Yampa River near Tree Haus
- Lyman Orton, represented by Towny Anderson, proposes 300 to 475 dwelling units on 464 acres
Urban Growth Boundary hearing dates
- 5 p.m. July 10, Centennial Hall: Steamboat Springs Planning Commission expected to make recommendations on all five requests
- 5 p.m. July 17, Commissioners' hearing room at the Routt County Courthouse Annex: Regional Planning Commission expected to make recommendation on all five
- 5 p.m. Aug. 12, Centennial Hall: City Council and County Commissioners in joint meeting expected to make final decisions on five requests to amend the urban growth boundary
Note: The urban growth boundary process does not amount to final approval of any developments. Property owners would still face separate annexation and development permit hearings.
Steamboat Springs Steamboat Springs resident Lyman Orton envisions creating a neighborhood of as many as 475 homes and a Nordic ski lodge on 464 acres just outside the current city limits on the north side of Emerald Mountain.
Orton has not submitted a development application to local government. However, he is among five individuals and development entities seeking this summer to have acreage added to Steamboat's urban growth boundary. Adding land to the urban growth boundary is a precursor to annexation.
Orton's advancing age and his passion for open space and recreation are among the factors that have led him to make his proposal, he wrote in a letter to the city and county. Orton, soon to turn 67, owns 1,200 contiguous acres on the flank of Emerald Mountain. The mountain looms over the south side of downtown Steamboat Springs and Howelsen Hill.
"The time has come for me to determine the ultimate destiny of the land under my stewardship on Emerald Mountain," he wrote. "When I die, my estate will sell the 1,200 acres to help pay taxes. The way the property is configured, and being outside the current urban growth boundary, the sale will likely be to a high-end private-community developer, as that will bring the most money. But I do not think Steamboat Springs and Routt County need another private community."
Instead, Orton is proposing Emerald Mountain neighborhood. It would include mixed-income clustered housing units, with a percentage exceeding city requirements dedicated to affordable housing units. Tentatively, there would be townhomes, single-family homes and multi-family rental housing, Orton proposed.
City Planner Jason Peasley said in order have their properties added to the urban growth boundary, each of the five owners and their representatives would have to convince the City Council and Routt County Board of Commissioners that they constitute a desirable amendment to the Steamboat Springs Area Community Plan.
"They'll have to demonstrate positive and measurable public benefit to the community commensurate with the cost to serve the (new) community" or development, Peasley said.
The public benefit can be provided in three different areas: open lands, cultural resources and affordable housing.
"Lyman wouldn't be doing this if he wasn't passionate about these two resident-centric issues, open space/recreation and affordable housing," said Towny Anderson, his representative. "Just as the Fairview neighborhood nearby has provided affordable housing for a recent generation, Emerald Mountain neighborhood could do the same for the next generation."
Anderson confirmed that Orton has proposed to require that 30 percent of the housing be affordable at 90 percent of the area median income.
"He's put his commitments on paper," Anderson said. "This is what he's committed to do, because he's in a position to do that."
Anderson added that it is not Orton's intent to develop any housing himself, but to make the opportunity available to nonprofit and commercial development entities.
Orton's proposal also envisions creating a public recreation facility, Howelsen Emerald Mountain Park, with a network of trails for nonmotorized recreation in all seasons. A Nordic lodge would be built to serve park users year-round, and a real estate transfer assessment would assist in the creation of the park.