Steamboat Springs The Routt County Planning Commission is not in any hurry to extend the Urban Growth Boundary for ambitious developers.
The commission heard presentations for four Urban Growth Boundary amendment applications Thursday night and postponed the fifth, 360 Village, for a week. The commission voted to recommend denial to the Routt County Board of Commissioners for three of the four applications. Only Butch Dougherty, who submitted an application for a half-acre, one-unit lot just north of Old Town, received support. Commissioners voted 5-3 to recommend approval of his application.
The Urban Growth Boundary is a line that was established by the Steamboat Springs Area Community Plan in 1995. It distinguishes between land designated for urban development and land reserved for rural uses.
It was a close call for Steamboat 700, a proposed 700-acre development just west of Steamboat Springs that could include up to 2,200 residences and 300,000 square feet of commercial space. After much debate about the traffic capacities of U.S. Highway 40, affordable housing and growth projections, commissioners voted 5-4 to recommend denial of the UGB application. Chairman Don Alperti, who votes only when there is a tie, stepped in to recommend denial.
"These are enormous numbers," Ellen Hoj, assistant director for the Routt County Planning Department, advised the commissioners of the projected units in the development. "It needs to be thoughtfully considered."
Steamboat 700 was given a nod of support last week from the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission, which voted 4-3 to recommend approval to amend the UGB for the project.
Lyman Orton's application to extend the UGB south to accommodate a neighborhood on 464 acres on the north side of Emerald Mountain also met disapproval from the commission, which voted 6-2 to recommend denial. Like city planning commissioners who voted against the proposal last week, county planning commissioners recognized an "overwhelming public benefit" but hesitated to approve growth to the south of the city, citing traffic concerns.
"I thank you for your passion," Alperti said to Orton, after Orton shared his vision of a Nordic ski lodge, recreational trails, programs for children and accessibility for seniors on the site.
The application for 40 acres owned by Alex Koftinow was also recommended for denial in a 5-2 vote. The Yampa River flows through the property, and applicants offered to donate the river corridor to the city, in return for allowing development on the remainder of the land. But commissioners raised concerns regarding the appropriateness of the property for development, traffic and disruption of valley views.
The city planning commission also voted to recommend denial of the property last week.
360 Village presented to the city planning commission Thursday, after a postponement last week. The 350-acre proposed development west of the Steamboat II and Silver Spur subdivisions also elicited concerns about traffic, as well as its distance from city limits. After meeting for more than two hours in Centennial Hall, city planning commissioners voted 5-2 to recommend denial.
The county planning commission meets at 6 p.m. July 24 to review and vote on 360 Village. The final decision on all proposed UGB expansions will come Aug. 12, during a joint meeting between the Steamboat Springs City Council and Routt County Board of Commissioners.