Steamboat 700 faces more delays

Danny Mulcahy pushes for September vote on annexation

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— A decision about whether to annex the proposed Steamboat 700 master-planned community west of city limits could be delayed again, a prospect that is frustrating Principal and Project Manager Danny Mulcahy.

A Steamboat Springs City Council vote on annexation originally was scheduled for July in a pre-annexation agreement the city signed with Steamboat 700. Earlier this year, city officials delayed that vote to Sept. 15. At their weekly negotiating meeting with Steamboat 700 representatives Wednesday, city officials said they might need even more time. The negotiating meetings are not open to the public because they are administrative in nature and do not include more than two council members. After the meeting, Mulcahy and City Council President Loui Antonucci confirmed that a delay was discussed.

"I didn't argue too much over the Sept. 15 (delay), even though it didn't make me happy," said Mulcahy, who said he has spent $1.5 million on studies required by the city. "The agreement for me to pay (for studies) prior to annexation was based on the city making every effort to have me annexed by this summer. : I've shown my commitment, and I've asked them to show some effort to achieve that date."

Antonucci said the city is not being adversarial and that the City Council affirmed its desire to see western Steamboat developed by signing the pre-annexation agreement.

"What's happening is, it's just taken longer to get through the results of these studies than anybody anticipated," Antonucci said. "We said we'll try, but there's all these hoops we have to jump through."

Antonucci also said there's a number of issues developers and the city still don't agree on, such as how the project will achieve fiscal neutrality, design guidelines and Steamboat 700's participation in augmenting the city's water rights.

"A deal of this size has a lot of small details that need to be addressed," Mulcahy said. "But I don't think there's really that many items outstanding that can't be worked out. : In business and anything, if you don't put a deadline on stuff, it doesn't get done."

Mulcahy noted he has been talking to the city since he and his partners purchased 700 acres west of city limits in 2006. About 500 of those acres are being proposed for development and annexation. Mulcahy said the delays are very expensive and that he spent between $200,000 and $300,000 a month in the past year.

"You can only bear the burden so long," he said.

Mulcahy said the delays are having a bigger impact on the feasibility of Steamboat 700 than the troubled economy, which he said is affecting his project only "in psyche."

"It's not the economy at all. We never intended to have houses built at this time or even next year," Mulcahy said. "I didn't plan on receiving any revenues this year or next year. : This is a 20-year project."

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