An artist's rendering gives an idea of scale for the proposed redevelopment of Thunderhead Lodge. The Steamboat Springs City Council is set to vote on the project at its meeting today.

Courtesy Illustration

An artist's rendering gives an idea of scale for the proposed redevelopment of Thunderhead Lodge. The Steamboat Springs City Council is set to vote on the project at its meeting today.

Atira seeks green light

Thunderhead project requests number of code variances

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If you go

What: Steamboat Springs City Council meeting

When: 5 p.m. today

Where: Centennial Hall, 124 10th St.

Call: City offices at 879-2060 for more information; to listen to live City Council meetings, call 871-7070.

Agenda

5 p.m. Historic Preservation Commission update; consent calendar; first reading of an ordinance suspending linkage; Thunderhead final development plan

7 p.m. Public comment; community housing plan amendment for Trappeur's Crossing; City Council and staff reports

— One of the most anticipated redevelopment projects at the base of the Steamboat Ski Area will seek a final green light from the Steamboat Springs City Council today.

The Atira Group is redeveloping the former Ski Time Square and Thunderhead Lodge properties that it demolished last year. Atira has decided to submit separate development applications for the projects, with the 390,000-square-foot Thunderhead site coming first. The application anticipates 100 residential units averaging about 2,300 square feet, along with two restaurants and shops totaling 13,339 square feet in commercial space.

The city Planning Commission recommended approval of the project in a 5-1 vote last month.

Atira is requesting several variances for the project, including overall heights about 30 feet above code, and the company plans to build a turnaround driveway in the Ski Time Square Drive public right of way. Atira also is requesting a five-year grace period instead of the standard three years before it must pull a building permit.

Despite the request, Mark Mathews, an Atira vice president, said the company will immediately begin marketing the project in an effort to lock up enough presales to secure construction financing.

In exchange for the variances, Atira is proposing to earn a silver certification from Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, for green building practices in the construction of the two eight-story buildings; public amenities such as seating areas, restrooms and outdoor fireplaces; the gifting of space to Yampa Valley Medical Center to relocate its injured skier transport center; and economic sustainability in the form of short-term rentals.

Planning Commissioner Rich Levy cast the dissenting vote at the Planning Commission meeting because he disagreed that the project's public benefits are commensurate with its requested variances.

Many neighboring condominium owners also oppose the project. Business owners, other developers, YVMC and the Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. publicly have endorsed the project.

Many have argued that the city's current base area design standards are outdated considering the desire for increased density at the base area called for in other planning documents.

Councilwoman Cari Hermacinski said the standards are being rewritten to allow for a maximum height of 105 feet, which is consistent with existing structures such as Torian Plum Plaza, Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel & Condominiums, Sheraton Steamboat Resort and One Steamboat Place, which is under construction.

"Height is not giving me a problem right now," Hermacinski said. "We do want to see higher heights there because of the density issue."

More baseball tournaments?

Also today, Director of Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services Chris Wilson will ask council whether it wants to contract with the World Softball League and American Baseball Association, which want to use city fields for tournaments this summer.

The tournaments would join 10 weeks of Triple Crown Sports tournaments already scheduled this summer and would have to be played on Memorial Day weekend or a weekend in mid-August to avoid conflicts with previously scheduled events.

Council also will consider two resolutions pertaining to a planned concrete skate park. The first resolution would transfer a 19-acre parcel of land known as the Bear River parcel from the city's wastewater fund to the general fund. The west-side site, which is a former sewer lagoon that would have to be reclaimed, has been identified as the location for a new skate park.

The second resolution would approve the submittal of a grant application to Great Outdoors Colorado for $200,000 in matching funds to construct the skate park.

The city has budgeted $305,000 in its 2009 capital projects plan for the project but expects $200,000 of that amount to be raised privately by skate park supporters. Deputy City Manager Wendy DuBord said Monday that the project is "totally contingent" on that fundraising.

The first reading of an ordinance to suspend linkage, an affordable housing fee charged to developers, is on today's agenda.

Additional sweeping changes to the city's affordable housing ordinance, however, are not yet ready for consideration.

DuBord said city staff is doing additional research into replacing current policies with an impact fee and real estate transfer tax.

A first reading of an ordinance that would make the switch is tentatively scheduled for March, DuBord said.

Today's council meeting will be the first for new City Manager Jon Roberts, who began working for the city today.

- To reach Brandon Gee, call 871-4210 or e-mail bgee@steamboatpilot.com

Comments

JustSomeJoe 5 years, 6 months ago

All hindsight at this point, but what a horrible move this has been for Steamboat. Tear down Thunderhead and the existing businesses and sit on it for five plus years, and they want a height variance? Do we really need anything larger than Torian Plum there? Potentially six plus years of lost tax revenue from the lodging and businesses that have been torn down.

Vote no on the height and permit variance.

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