Hayden board cuts curve speed limit

Changes to affect Hayden's Hospital Hill streets

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— Drivers on Hospital Hill are going to have to ease off the gas - and maybe even hit the brakes.

The Hayden Town Board voted Thursday to reduce the speed limit around a curve on the hill. The speed limit will drop from 25 to 15 miles per hour on Walnut Street, Jackson Avenue and South Pine Street between Washington and Crandall avenues.

Neighbors had complained that people speeding around the curve where Jackson and Pine meet created a safety hazard. A police survey netted few lawbreakers.

Although trustees including Tom Rogalski and Jim Haskins expressed reservations about the effectiveness of lowering the limit, only Trustee Bill Hayden voted against the change.

"I don't think this is enforceable or doable, and I don't think the council should waste its time," Hayden said.

Trustee Richard "Festus" Hagins, who lives in the affected neighborhood, supported the change.

"I think we owe it to that neighborhood at least to do something like that," Hagins said. "I don't think it's a big cost to go to 15. : It's a safety issue."

The ordinance is set to be published Wednesday, Town Manager Russ Martin said. Signs will be posted, and enforcement will begin 30 days after that.

In a tenser discussion, the Hayden board wrestled with zoning issues in the Golden Knolls subdivision. In 1994, lots 20 to 23 in the neighborhood were zoned for duplex construction. In 2005, the town mistakenly rezoned the lots for single-family homes. This past February, town staff asked the board to fix the error, and the board denied the request.

Steamboat Springs resident Marc Small said he bought one of the lots in 2007, thinking it was zoned for a duplex. On Thursday, he asked the town to correct the rezoning error. After debating it, the board approved his request.

"I am a Realtor, but I had no idea that it was not a duplex lot," Small told the board. "It was sold to me as a duplex lot. ... It was totally a mistake that it was changed to single-family."

Travis Mathey, whose family lives in the house next to Small's lot, said he was upset to be revisiting the issue so soon after the February decision.

"I was pretty upset about this when I first heard about it, and I came in here, and you as a council unanimously disapproved of that motion," Mathey said. "I thought that at that point, it was over, so there's been a little bit of frustration that I'm back here dealing with this."

He said he thought allowing a duplex on the lot would alter the character of the neighborhood.

"When I bought my single-family house here : I did my due diligence through my Realtor and found that it was a single-family site," Mathey said. He also said he feared that changing the zoning on only one lot would be considered spot zoning. An attorney for a man who owns two of the other lots, however, said he also would seek to return them to duplex zoning.

Several other Hayden residents spoke in favor of Small's request.

The Town Board was evenly divided. Hagins and Trustees Trace Musgrave and Chuck Grobe voted in favor of the rezoning. Haskins, Rogalski and Hayden voted against it. Mayor Lorraine Johnson had to cast the deciding vote, and she approved the change.

Also at Thursday's meeting:

- The board approved a contract for the new building at Dry Creek Park. Petra General Contractors Inc. will construct the facility for $405,000.

- The board approved the annexation of four acres near Yampa Valley Regional Airport, owned by Gary and Carol Williams. Trustees also approved light industrial zoning for the land.

- To reach Blythe Terrell, call 871-4234

or e-mail bterrell@steamboatpilot.com

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