Base area changes near finish

Growth, development items dominate today's council agenda


If you go

What: Steamboat Springs City Council meeting

When: 4 p.m. today

Where: Centennial Hall, 124 10th St.

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

On the 'Net

Visit to download materials for tonight's Steamboat Springs City Council meeting.


4 p.m. Executive session to discuss negotiations with Steamboat 700 and 360 Village

5 p.m. Council convenes as the Steamboat Springs Redevelopment Authority to discuss public improvement projects at the base of Steamboat Ski Area

5:40 p.m. Community Support Task Force update

6:10 p.m. Discussion and consideration of the 360 Village pre-annexation agreement; resolution adopting the pre-annexation agreement; first readings of ordinances approving hangar ground leases at the Steamboat Springs Airport; second reading of the second 2009 supplemental appropriation ordinance; second reading of an ordinance stating that terms for all board, committee and commission members shall remain effective until City Council ratifies a replacement

7 p.m. Public comment; first reading of a zoning map amendment for Overlook Park; first reading of a zoning map amendment for Steamboat Highlands; development plan for Sweet Pea at the Curve outdoor vegetable stand; final development plan for a 3,000-square-foot maintenance garage at Colorado Mountain College; second reading of an ordinance amending base area design standards and zone districts; second reading of an ordinance up-zoning several base-area lots; City Council and staff reports

— The creation of a high-density mountain village at the base of Steamboat Ski Area has been cited by some as a key component to the city's long-term economic vitality. Today, the Steamboat Springs City Council will consider giving final approval to a package of amendments that would pave the way for taller, denser and more predictable developments in the base area.

Proposed amendments to base area dimensional and design standards would increase the highest allowable building height from 67 feet to 105 feet. In practice, developments of about that height already have been built or approved at the base area through the city's planned unit development process. Through the PUD process, the city negotiates public benefits such as affordable housing and green building practices in exchange for increased height and other requested code variances. Critics said the process was frustrating, drawn-out and unpredictable.

Councilwoman Cari Hermacinski described the PUD process as a "horse-trading debacle" and said she is excited about the proposed changes.

In addition to changes to allowable height and other dimensional standards, the proposed amendments would require developers to make an additional contribution to the city's urban renewal authority at the base area and have their projects certified by a green building program, such as the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program. The base area PUD process would be eliminated, and the city is proposing that no further height variances be allowed.

If approved, city planner Jonathan Spence said city officials hope The Atira Group will voluntarily opt to have its redevelopment of Ski Time Square reviewed under the new guidelines. Development plans for a new 660,000-square-foot Ski Time Square include buildings as tall as 105 feet and were submitted June 1. Earlier this year, the PUD process proved complicated, confusing and lengthy for Atira's other proposed redevelopment project on the former site of Thunderhead Lodge.

Council also will consider up-zoning 12 base-area parcels today. Ten of the parcels are located between Ski Time Square Drive and Burgess Creek Road. The other two - home to the Dulaney Condominiums and Ptarmigan Inn - are on the south side of the base area. At a Steamboat Springs Planning Commission meeting in May, concerns were raised about the possible effect on the residential character of Burgess Creek Road and the ability of the steep street to handle high-density development. Some also were concerned that up-zoning the Ptarmigan parcel would allow redevelopment inconsistent with surrounding buildings and that could obscure south valley views from the north side of the base area.

As part of a packed meeting agenda tonight, the council also will weigh in on development proposals in western Steamboat. The developers of 360 Village would have to submit a petition for annexation to the city by Sept. 1 under a pre-annexation agreement the council could adopt tonight.

"It just sets forth the items that will be agreed to that the city and 360 Village need to address during the annexation process," City Manager Jon Roberts said about the pre-annexation agreement, which is similar to one the city signed with the developers of Steamboat 700.

Both developments are west of city limits near Routt County subdivisions Steamboat II, Silver Spur and Heritage Park. The plan for 360 Village calls for 638 residential units, 62,000 square feet of commercial space and a 100-room hotel. The pre-annexation agreement sets the bar for such issues as affordable housing requirements, project vesting, fiscal impacts and water rights dedication.

Also today

City Council members will receive an update on the Steamboat Springs Post Office. The U.S. Postal Service has a contract with local developers to relocate its operations to South Lincoln Avenue and Pine Grove Road. In the interim, it plans to close its branch at Sundance Plaza and consolidate operations at the main office at Third Street and Lincoln Avenue. In a June 9 letter, City Council President Loui Antonucci wrote that the Postal Service's plan was "unacceptable" because of safety concerns related to traffic.

"We have some concerns about traffic and pedestrian issues with expanded activities," Roberts said Monday. "We want to work with the Post Office to address and mitigate those impacts."

Roberts acknowledged that the city has no real authority over the Postal Service's plans because the U.S. government is exempt from municipal regulations, but he said he hopes and expects that it would participate in mitigating the impacts. Roberts said options include improving access to the downtown office and installing more cluster boxes in Steamboat neighborhoods.

- To reach Brandon Gee, call 871-4210 or e-mail


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