Kyle Pietras stands along Lincoln Avenue with the vintage bicycle he uses to commute. He plans to run for the at-large seat on the Steamboat Springs City Council this November on a pro-growth, pro-business platform.

Photo by John F. Russell

Kyle Pietras stands along Lincoln Avenue with the vintage bicycle he uses to commute. He plans to run for the at-large seat on the Steamboat Springs City Council this November on a pro-growth, pro-business platform.

Council candidate Pietras supports annexation, business


Election 2009

Visit for complete coverage of this year's races and issues.


- District 1 (four years): Cari Hermacinski (at-large incumbent, council president pro tem), Kevin Bennett (former council president)

- District 2 (four years): Kenny Reisman, Ken Solomon

- District 3 (four years): Walter Magill (District 3 incumbent)

- At-large (two years): Jim Engelken (former councilman), Kyle Pietras

- Not up for election: Scott Myller (District 1), Meg Bentley (District 2), Jon Quinn (District 3)

- Leaving council: Loui Antonucci (District 2, council president, term-limited), Steve Ivancie (District 1, term-limited)

Clear differences of opinion are emerging between the candidates for the Steamboat Springs City Council's at-large seat.

While candidate Jim Engelken has leveled heavy criticisms against the current governing body - which he thinks caters too much to the development and real estate community - and opposes the planned annexation of Steamboat 700, Kyle Pietras is an unabashed pro-growth and pro-business candidate. He also is a political newcomer while Engelken previously served on City Council from 1995 to 2001.

An avid mountain biker, Pietras cycled to a Monday morning interview on a rusty town bike. He described himself as "a Steamboat guy" and said his political views are shaped by what he thinks needs to be done to ensure Steamboat stays Steamboat. Pietras is originally from Massachusetts and moved here in 1995.

"It's harder to live here now. I want my children to have children and be able to live here," said Pietras, who owns a small landscaping business. "Jim's been pretty consistent through his whole career. It's admirable how involved he's stayed over the years. Voters know what they're getting with Jim. I'm kind of a realist. We need tourists. We need workers working. We need growth in town. Being against growth, it's just not realistic."

Pietras formerly worked for the city's Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services Department and the Steamboat II water and sanitation district. He said friends encouraged him to run.

"It seems nobody else wants to step up and do it, so I'll do it," said Pietras, 39, who has a wife and two young daughters. "It just kind of popped up one night, and so I went for it."

Pietras said Steamboat 700 will provide housing for Steamboat's lower- and middle-income families and also create jobs.

"A lot of our retail businesses are hurting right now. Restaurants too," he said. "(Steamboat 700) is going to bring a lot of money in town. : I've been able to stay busy, but I know a lot of guys who haven't. : There's an opportunity to make our town a little more self-sustained."

Also in contrast with Engelken, Pietras said he supports the direction City Council is moving on affordable housing - allowing developers to pay a fee or couple a fee with a real estate transfer tax instead of building deed-restricted units - and supports council's decision to amend zone districts and design standards at the base of Steamboat Ski Area to allow buildings as tall as 105 feet.

"You look at any ski town in the country, and that's their height," Pietras said. "They're all like that."

However, Pietras also supports an ordinance working its way through the city now that would prevent developers from demolishing property at the base area until they receive an approved plan for redevelopment. The ordinance was spurred by the demolition of Ski Time Square and Thunderhead Lodge and subsequent claims by developers with The Atira Group that they may need as many as five years to break ground on redevelopment projects.

"I think that's a really good idea. Everyone's bummed that we've lost Dos (Amigos) and a lot of bars that we had here forever," Pietras said. "It's just a bad scene. : It was more efficient to do it the way they did, but I think they could have probably gone one section at a time."


addlip2U 5 years, 9 months ago

Sure hope this is a just a "photo op" pose, rather than how to be "dressed" to ride a bike safely. Helmet anyone?


1999 5 years, 9 months ago

I'm just a steamboat guy who wants it to stay the same as when I came in 1995...... and I'm a family guy concerned about the number of bars at ski time square.

great............ another pro growth pro development person. I'm sure he was hired to run by the same people who hired our last city council.


Fred Duckels 5 years, 9 months ago

No growth-pro growth, we can opine forever but the market will dictate most of the activity in the valley. We are not as influential as we would like to think. The no growth crowd seems to forget their inept attempts at management and I'm sure that they hope the voter has a short memory. We are getting a larger group of voters that depend on a growing economy and this may change the way things work around here, much to the dismay of some. I am not big on growth but this is just a possibility.


Duke_bets 5 years, 8 months ago

Chad - Steamboat Springs population - 9.893 July 1, 2000 and 9,592 July 1, 2008. That's a decline. Routt County had growth primarily due to Stagecoach.


freerider 5 years, 9 months ago

Just the facts folks . 2000 more houses = 4000 cars = no way your going to drive through town anymore....any questions ...stop the 700 club and this new fool before we have to fix it


Fred Duckels 5 years, 9 months ago

freerider, Forget 700, if the economy picks up we can't get down Lincoln now. The 700 is putting comsiderable money into traffic problems. Lincoln is a long neglected problem due to the no growth crowd and local merchants. The plan here is to force everyone onto the bus.


goremtn 5 years, 9 months ago

Seriously, is anybody paying attention to this? This is in the same newspaper people: 400 new homes in the county here....400 new homes iover there....200 new homesites in the county over all adds up the same way, I just dont see anywhere in the article that the STagecoach dude has to cough up to deal with US 40.


Duke_bets 5 years, 9 months ago

400 new homes and 200 new homes. Let's try 0 new homes. There won't be any more of a traffic problem 10 years from now than there already is. The population will remain stagnant. Has anyone checked out real estate listings? I don't believe anyone is moving to town. Seems the other way around these days. Population is actually down according to the US census. If no growth was experienced in the last decade, I can't believe there will be growth in the next decade.


Chad James 5 years, 8 months ago

Q: Why is traffic a problem today?

A: because the workforce can't afford to live here and they have to drive into town everyday to do everything from work, shop, or play.

A: Because the grocery store, post office, day care, parks, offices, restaurants are heavily slanted toward the east end of town requiring anyone who lives WEST of town to travel through our "quanit little downtown" to get anywhere.

How is traffic going to be solved? Someone needs to pay for it.

Who has the money to pay for? Answer: not the City

Who is responsible for fixing the problem? Answer: should be the State and Feds

Are the State and Feds going to fix it without a financial partner? Answer: No

Steamboat 700 has already spent nearly a million dollars to help fix the problems (that exist today) and has now proposed to provide 16 million dollars to start fixing the problems and to leverage State and federal funds.

Steamboat 700 will generate nearly 20+ million in use and excise tax to the City and millions to the county in property taxes.

Steamboat 700 is an opportunity to have a partner in the traffic solutions- which is way more then we have without them

You folks need to spend more time checking into facts before you make these claims


Chad James 5 years, 8 months ago

Routt County grew by 66% since 1990 and this is the third recession since that time.

It grew by 8.5% since 2008.

Furthermore, I can't find any data that suggests a decrease in population especially with the Echo Generation being as large as the Baby Boomers.

I think history supports the projections that Routt County will grow from 49% to 71% over the next 20 yrs.

Would you like to MANAGE where this growth goes, or would you prefer to have it spread all over the county, causing more traffic, using all of our services like the ice arena, library, parks & open space, etc. but not contribute to solving the problems we have as it relates to traffic, housing, fire, police?

Here's some actual data...instead of blogger speculation. pg 1& 3


Scott Wedel 5 years, 8 months ago

Regardless of what you think about growth, it is not being spread all about the County. Growth is in Hayden, Stagecoach and SB.

The current situation strikes me as coming close to what happened in the mid 70s when so many lots were platted that basically no new lots were needed for the next 20 years.


Fred Duckels 5 years, 8 months ago

Snowbow, I don't like any more growth than necessary,but the no growth proponents seem to imply that if they had control, our growth would be arrested. This is the same faulty reasoning that has led to terrible decisions by councils past. This is why we have to redo our affordable housing rules everytime a unit sells. The no growth bunch couldn't prevent the last bubble to blow through here. It would be easy to make the case that our past councils were pro development, this seems to be the negative catch phrase leading into the next election.


Chad James 5 years, 8 months ago

Duke, Great point!

There was 66% growth in population in the county, but prices and availability of property types in Steamboat make it so that the growth HAD TO go to places like Stagecoach, Oak Creek and Hayden.

Imagine if those homes were already in Steamboat, TONS less use of roads and FAR more income to the city.

This town will continue to grow.


housepoor 5 years, 8 months ago

Those population figures are forecasts based on labor force demands. Do you think they used our current unemployment rate into consideration or use an historically much lower figure? Not to mention many in the construction field don't file for unemployment and wait for something to happen, they move to where the work is. Steamboat is not a fun or easy place to be when trying to survive on unemployment.


Scott Wedel 5 years, 8 months ago

The last population figure was 7/1/2008 which was when construction was still busy.

And from 2000, SB lost mobile home parks and other lower rent units that were replaced by fancy vacation housing. So it is not totally absurd that SB could have gone through the boom and not grown the local full time population.


trump_suit 5 years, 8 months ago

The writing is on the wall here if you only choose to read it.

Steamboat proper growth has held steady or declined from 2000 to 2008. On the surface it would appear that the no growth policies are working.

However, population growth in the county at large show significant and steady growth regardless of the economic situation.

it seems to me that Fred is right here. The growth is driven by market forces byond the control of City Council and by trying to contain or control said growth it has have the effect of raising real estate prices in Steamboat, and has increased growth in almost every other place....

I will repeat for anyone listening. A community that is not growing is a community that is watching it's youth leave for richer opportunites in other places. If we do not provide a path for our children to obtain housing here in Routt County we will wathc them from the front porch as they move away.


housepoor 5 years, 8 months ago

Damn Fred, your right again?? Write in Fred for City Council!!!


Chad James 5 years, 8 months ago

Snowbow, I'd love to read your blog...wait, that's right I don't know who you are?


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