Steamboat Springs The Steamboat Springs City Council hasn't done its homework - yet.
At least that's what they told the developers of Steamboat 700. Although the council reviewed a pre-application Tuesday for the project that proposes about 2,000 homes and hopes to be annexed into city limits, City Council President Loui Antonucci said council members need to do more research before fully responding to it.
That research will include a May 30 bus tour of new urbanism developments in Stapleton and Lowry. As a response to suburban sprawl, new urbanist neighborhoods are designed to be dense and pedestrian-friendly. They typically contain commercial districts, parks and other features that reduce the need for off-site automobile trips.
The same urban design principles are called for in the city and county's West of Steamboat Springs Area Plan. Steamboat 700 is within the plan's boundaries. Tour participants include council members, the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission, developers, utility providers and others. Members of the public can attend by contacting city planner Jason Peasley at 871-8229 or email@example.com by May 20.
City officials have described the tour as a chance to see what works and what doesn't. That will be particularly helpful to council members and planning commissioners when it comes to elements of the Steamboat 700 project that developers and city staff members disagree on.
One such element is the location of Steamboat 700's main village center. City staff members say they would like to see the center more centrally located and developed around the area's main arterials. Steamboat 700 has proposed a village center with main arterials on the perimeter. Land-use consultant Peter Patten said Steamboat 700 does not want major roads running through their village center because they hope to create a pedestrian mall similar to the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder.
"This is something Steamboat doesn't really have, and we'd like to create this," Patten told City Council on Tuesday. "This is something that's important to us."
Planning Services Manager John Eastman said building the village center along the development's main roadways would create an "arrival experience" similar to driving through Old Town on Lincoln Avenue. He also predicted the roads would be less busy than suggested by Patten, saying traffic would be comparable to that on Colorado Highway 131 through downtown Oak Creek.
There also has been discussion of Steamboat 700's lack of any proposed light industrial uses as envisioned in the West of Steamboat Springs Area Plan. Patten said light industrial was not included because of the possibility of accompanying elements such as odor and noise, but he said developers might be open to an extremely light industrial use similar to TIC.
"We're all for the professional, clean businesses," Project Manager Danny Mulcahy said. "We're not looking for pungent odors, loud noises, (company) yards."