Little middle ground

Preservation debate continues as panel prepares ordinance


— A committee charged with reviewing the city's historic preservation policies was praised Thursday for tackling an "impossible task," during a public hearing that continued to reveal the difficulty of the group's assignment.

Jim Moylan, chairman of the Historic Structure Policy Review Committee, expressed hope that the committee ultimately will craft an ordinance "we all can live with" - but comments from the public showed little hope that the committee can please everyone.

The issue of historic preservation came to a head last year, when the Steamboat Springs City Council placed an emergency moratorium on demolitions and significant alterations to structures more than 50 years old. Time has done little to cool the passions surrounding an issue that pits private property rights against the protection of community resources.

Moylan began Thursday's hearing with an update of the committee's work thus far. To replace the city's existing policies, Moylan said, the committee plans to recommend that the city create its own historic register and pay for an inventory of all properties in the city, to determine which structures are eligible for listing. Actual listing, however, would be subject to the owner's consent. Only eligible properties that opt to be included on the register would be subject to mandatory design guidelines, Moylan said. He also said the committee will strongly encourage City Council to adopt honorary and financial incentives for properties that meet the design guidelines.

Other recommendations include broadening the Historic Preservation Advisory Commission's role to include education and outreach. The group distanced itself a bit from its consideration of "conservation overlay zones," an idea that came under fire from the Steamboat Springs City Council on Tuesday.

"Maybe we set off some alarm bells that didn't need to be set off at this time," Moylan said. "We need to take a harder look at the existing zoning before taking that next step. What we have now may be enough."

Although the committee is proposing sweeping changes to existing policies, some believe it has not done enough to change the current system of mandatory review and voluntary compliance.

"It's going to fall short of any protection for historic properties," preservationist and former councilman Towny Anderson said. "It's not about owner consent, it's about a community resource. : Let's just call it what it is. We're at voluntary compliance. Everything that you've laid out is still voluntary compliance."

Anderson said historic structures need to be considered just as valuable - and protected as rigorously - as wetlands or winter range for elk. In response, Steamboat Springs resident Troy Brookshire said such areas are defined by science, and are "not based on someone's definition of character."

Recognizing that the committee is moving in a direction more agreeable to Brookshire than himself, Anderson proposed a compromise that would at least mandate the protection of a handful of the city's most historically significant properties.

"If we start high, there's going to be less controversy," Anderson said.

Old Town resident John Fielding agreed and suggested a tiered regulatory approach.

"I think that we're not really protecting the things we need to protect if we make it completely voluntary," Fielding said. "Certainly not all historic properties are created equal. Let's consider some tiered levels of protection based on level of significance."


inmyopinion 9 years, 2 months ago

know nothing- you really should consider changing your username because your comments constantly prove that you actually know nothing. One thing that I am interested in knowing is, do you own any property in Routt County?


vanguy 9 years, 2 months ago

Hey knownonsense:

....You might be surprised...realtors probably know a thing or two about private property rights. Get off your barstool/snowboard, get educated, and get involved.

If my memory serves me correctly, Troy Brookshire was born and raised in Routt County, has been extremely involved in our community his entire life, and also served on the county planning commission for some 4 years. Towny did things like buy the Iron Horse Motel and move our community center outside of our downtown community.

To Towny and the hysterical preservation society....don't try to tell me what I can or can't do with MY private property. It's my choice, not yours, not the city's! People always have the option to preserve without you ramming it down our throats.


Penny Fletcher 9 years, 2 months ago

This is to Know it All; What does a realtor is obvious that Troy Brookshire knows a hell of a lot more than you do. How many hours have you sat on a planning commission meeting developing LPS standards and working on ridgeline regulations or the endless hours dealing with gravel pits and how they would seriously impact the valley floor and assisting other member in coming up with a fair decision to all. How many hours have you spent negotiating sales contracts that help save buyers and sellers thousand of dollars and walking away from with great satisfaction. I ask you, how many volunteer hours have you put into the community in the last year, how many dollars have you committed to donating to community services. The bottom line .. private property is our own and we should be able to do what we want to do with it. My question to you is: 40 years from now will you be still sitting on your barstool, making comments about all the advantages rich realtors, developers, second home owners have over you and how you want to constantly comment negatively or are you going to get involved and donate, get involved, and participate. If any anyone should be declared as historic preservation it is Troy Brookshire and all the work, time, energy and family legacy he has invested in this valley........listen to him


424now 9 years, 2 months ago

The city can historically preserve anything "it" owns.

As to telling a home owner that they not only can't tear down a dilapitated building but that they "must" also allow for and make efforts to preserve it should be illegal.

Let the city purchase at market value any building or structure they want preserved "if" the owner is willing to sell. Then they can preserve to their hearts content. Otherwise they need to respect the rights of property owner.


twostroketerror 9 years, 2 months ago

Could be the reason STS is going down in one swell foop, before someone finds it 'historic'.


JustAsking 9 years, 2 months ago

Why don't Towney and Knowitall go together and buy up everything they want to "preserve?"

WHY, knowitall, do you think, as you stated, that "IF the owner of the Original Fm Light building wants to tear it down? Suddenly it becomes a community issue not a property right (sic) issue."

WRONG, it is very much a property rights issue. If you or Towney want to offer incentives to the owner to preserve his property or buy it AT AN AGREED PRICE, OK, but infringing on his rights make you a COMMUNIST.

It's one thing as a property owner to agree with restrictions as a benefit to yourself. (buying deeed restricted property)It's quite another to have them arbitrarily imposed after the fact by a minority group of dictators.

NOTE TO TOWNEY: Are you getting a clue as to why the voters overwhelmingly rejected you?


424now 9 years, 2 months ago


Now that tells it all right there doesn't it knowitall. Due to your obvious pristine and pedigreed lineage you feel you have the right to dictate who can come to your little slice of paradise.

Make no mistake. You are a dieing breed. The City of Steamboat Springs will grow around you. Some of the buildings that you feel are heritage items will disappear. Slowly and inevitably your Steamboat will vanish.

In its place will hopefully be a well organized city filled with tolerant, intelligent and considerate people. In that kind city your type of discrimination has no place.


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