Steamboat Springs After decades without a significant expansion of city limits, Steamboat Springs will likely soon see a proposal for a second major annexation in the west of Steamboat area.
The developers of 360 Ranch - a project that spent months last year as a rural subdivision in the Routt County review process before being withdrawn in December - intend to submit an application to the city this week for a new project called 360 Village. The application will include proposals to extend city limits and Steamboat's urban growth boundary.
"We received a letter from 360 Ranch expressing a desire to annex into the city for development," City Manager Alan Lanning confirmed Monday.
In terms of proposed annexations, the development would join the Steamboat 700 project already under review, bringing the total number of potential new acres to more than 1,000. Steamboat 700 is 700 acres in size and 360 Village is 350 acres.
Tony Connell, a local partner of general partner Hank Wilton of Virginia, said the name "360 Village" refers to the panoramic views the site offers of the Yampa Valley and its surrounding mountains. Connell said the application would likely include 600 to 650 housing units. Commercial uses also are being considered, but Connell could not say on what scale.
Tuesday, Connell said the development team is about 90 percent ready to submit an application to the city and may do so as early as today. The application is expected by Thursday at the latest, as that is this year's deadline for applications to extend the city's urban growth boundary.
Preliminary marketing materials provided by Connell discuss possible project amenities such as a piazza, a recreation center, a "360 Theater," a chairlift between a park and public plaza, a flume trail, an ice-skating pond, an events center and a child care facility.
Randall Hannaway, another local project partner and a Realtor at Colorado Group Realty, said the project would be "very much a locals' community." Connell said the group is committed to satisfying the new urbanism design principles of the West of Steamboat Springs Area Plan as well as its affordable housing guidelines, which stipulate that 20 percent of housing units be made available to people who make an average of 80 percent of the area median income.
Connell served on the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission in the late 1990s when the provisions of the original WSSAP were spelled out. Later, he developed West End Village, where market-rate homes helped subsidize affordable units.
Connell said he hopes for more of the same with 360 Village.
A harder sell
Planning Services Manager John Eastman said 360 Ranch has a tougher road to hoe than Steamboat 700.
"The annexation would be really interesting," he said.
Unlike Steamboat 700, which is adjacent to city limits, 360 Village lies west of county subdivisions Steamboat II and Silver Spur, between Routt County Road 42 and U.S. Highway 40. State statute requires contiguity for annexation, so the city would first have to annex Colorado Department of Transportation right-of-way along U.S. 40 until it reached the project. Eastman called it a "flagpole annexation" that is possible, but not necessarily logical.
"That's not typically something that's encouraged by either state statute or normal annexation procedures," Eastman said. "It's not something we'd take lightly."
Eastman said the city's biggest concerns relate to the extension of city services. As an example, he described a situation where a city snowplow would pick up its blade as it left current city limits and drive through the county to drop the blade again and plow streets in 360 Village. The project is 1.3 miles from city limits as the crow flies, and just more than 2 miles via U.S. 40.
"From an infrastructure and city services point of view, it is not considered logical," Eastman said.
The developers disagree. Hannaway said the proposal makes great sense because of its proximity to a church, a school, a golf course and county subdivisions Silver Spur and Steamboat II.
"I actually think it's quite logical," Hannaway said. "You can't really deny that we don't already have a community there."
Hannaway also said it is dangerous to allow property owners directly adjacent to city limits to gain too much power by being "the only game in town" when it comes to annexation considerations. Connell said the city's infrastructure and service concerns would be addressed in the development plan and annexation agreements.
Eastman said the property - formerly farmed by Frank and Dot Hussey and bought by Wilton West Development in February 2007 for $6.74 million - is a tract the city expected might be annexed one day. But officials expected annexations to progressively roll from east to west.
"They're coming in sooner than expected," Eastman said. "But our job is to listen to the proposals."