Engelken considers 2nd run for City Council

Former councilman: Current City Council is too pro-growth

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Election 2009

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Jim Engelken

— Former Steamboat Springs City Councilman Jim Engelken said he is dissatisfied with the city's legislators and is considering running for council in this year's election.

Engelken is the second former councilman - the other being former City Council President Kevin Bennett - to confirm he is considering running. Both men said the current council is too pro-development. Engelken and Bennett said they would try to slow the pace of growth in Steamboat Springs if elected.

"I'm seriously considering it," said Engelken, who is considering the city's two-year, at-large seat. "I'm not quite ready to commit. Obviously I'll have to make a decision soon, though."

Should he choose to run, Engelken may face Councilwoman Cari Hermacinski, who has not decided whether she will run for a four-year District 1 seat or the at-large seat she holds now.

"I just see this as an extremely pro-development council, and I think we need moderation on council," said Engelken, who previously served on City Council from 1995 to 2001 while Bennett was president. "I think their priorities are out of step with the values of the community. They've done a number of things that show that."

Engelken said he disagreed with the City Council's decision to fire former City Manager Alan Lanning, citing in part Lanning's handling of enforcement issues involving the real estate and construction industries. Engelken said he also was concerned when the council nearly let builders off the hook for an estimated $4.6 million in building use tax.

"To me, that really showed their true colors about what their values are and who they're really working for," Engelken said.

Council members who supported the ordinance said it was unfair to begin enforcing the policy retroactively.

Engelken said he also disagrees with changes approved by City Council to allowable height and other dimensional standards at the base of Steamboat Ski Area. Among other changes, council increased the maximum allowable height by 38 feet in the area to 105 feet.

Of all his concerns, Engelken said Steamboat 700 is the biggest. He said City Council is rushing the proposed 500-acre development west of Steamboat that is seeking annexation into city limits. Council tentatively has scheduled a vote on the annexation this fall. Engelken said there are too many unanswered questions about the project's costs and benefits.

Engelken said his decision on whether to run for council is pending continued negotiations with his wife and an assessment of "whether I really have that fire in the belly."

Engelken's wife, Nancy, is the city's community housing coordinator. City Manager Jon Roberts said the fact that Engelken's spouse is employed by the city is not an issue.

"There's actually an adopted city policy that addresses that specific circumstance," Roberts said. "That policy specifically states that, that wouldn't be prohibited."

Other candidates who have confirmed their intended candidacies for this year's City Council election include incumbent Councilman Walter Magill, who holds a District 3 seat representing southern Steamboat; and local businessman Kenny Reisman, who said he would run for the four-year, District 2 seat representing the mountain area. Term-limited City Council President Loui Antonucci is vacating that seat.

City Clerk Julie Franklin said nomination petitions can't be released to potential candidates until today. The last day to file petitions is Aug. 24.

Comments

Aspengold 5 years, 4 months ago

Steamboat needs you desperately, or it will be lost forever. Please, please, please run! (and talk Mr. Bennett into it also.)

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Fred Duckels 5 years, 4 months ago

Im sure the city will let this group use the Iron Horse Inn for a campaign headquarters.

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carlyle 5 years, 4 months ago

I would bet that Messrs. Engelken and Bennett are members of the YVCA. Any takers? The developments nearing completion - Edgemont, One Steamboat Plaza, the condos on Lincoln - were approved well before the current council was elected. The prospect of attainable housing that 700 represents continues to be delayed. I look forward to the meetings at the Iron Horse Inn. 700 will certainly change the feel of Heritage Park, Steamboat II and Silver Spur. It won't touch anything else; after all, the development is two miles west of 13th.

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freerider 5 years, 4 months ago

run Jim ...you got my vote ...we the people...I'm sick of the current line up...all bought and paid for Idiots abusing there power

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elphaba 5 years, 4 months ago

A vote for Jim and Kevin is a vote to regress to nasty politics - secret deals - and development that benefits financially only Jim and Kevin and their cronies. It was the Ken Brenner/Susan Dellinger Council that was wildly pro-development and they were protoges of these two. Spare us!

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Fred Duckels 5 years, 4 months ago

It seems that if one is not a "no growther" they are automatically pro development. The no growth crowd has a definite agenda, but I don't know anyone that is pro development. I think the rest of the people are looking to be fair and make good decisions. I may support growth if I think it the fair thing to do regardless of my personal preference, I think we only need enough growth to keep our economy viable. The current council record has not approved of much growth at all, despite prospective candidates efforts to brand them. We have had some councils that resembled the Keystone Cops but the lstest group has been very low key. I like that.

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seminative 5 years, 4 months ago

Great news, Jim. I hope you decide to run. I would love to see both you and Kevin on the City Council to represent those of us that are for more thoughtful growth, not just growth for growth's sake.

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1999 5 years, 4 months ago

carlyle.....so steamboat 700 won't affect anything or anyone other than those living in silver spur, heritage park and steamboat 2 ??? are you out of your mind???

you can not be serious.

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carlyle 5 years, 4 months ago

1999 - why will development at 700 change anything downtown? What possible impact on the ski area will 700 have other than to possibly provide more skiers and boarders? If a grocery store is built in 700, most of the grocery shopping traffic will not go through downtown. What will change is the pricing of homes in Steamboat Springs. And what has changed downtown is the overhang of condos on Lincoln Avenue. The current council had nothing to do with those approvals.

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greenwash 5 years, 4 months ago

What is so bad about Downtown other than the traffic?And empty buildings?

IF you let Yampa street river side continue to be built up with multiple story buildings,that will be a problem and destroy what character is left.

Personally I think Victoria is gorgeous but who wants to live on Lincoln overlooking Dicks Conoco?no one.

Howelson Place looks nice a little too big AND also EMPTY.

Alpen GLow also nice addition to downtown a little too big AND EMPTY.

Olympian nice looking,too close to Yampa street and god can you imagine leaving your doors open to your loft porch and smelling the rodeo grounds every night.Also EMPTY.

I would hate to be the one responsable for the monthly service on these blood suckers.

If these buildings were full WE MIGHT have a vibrant downtown scene....BUT there NOT.

SOOO how is Engelken going to help?

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greenwash 5 years, 4 months ago

Hate to tell ya....Im born and raised here.

Look what those buildings replaced...?

Tighter control over height and style would be best.And no Big Box or its really over.

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