Mike Howard, the clean room lead analyst for ACZ Laboratories, completes a test at the Steamboat Springs based company Monday morning. ACZ Laboratories, along with several other Steamboat companies, will be recognized in a proclamation by city council after being considered as finalists for a list of 50 "Colorado Companies to Watch." Steamboat Springs based Big Agnes and Boa Technology were named to the list.

Photo by John F. Russell

Mike Howard, the clean room lead analyst for ACZ Laboratories, completes a test at the Steamboat Springs based company Monday morning. ACZ Laboratories, along with several other Steamboat companies, will be recognized in a proclamation by city council after being considered as finalists for a list of 50 "Colorado Companies to Watch." Steamboat Springs based Big Agnes and Boa Technology were named to the list.

Base area issues move into spotlight

Council to discuss URA contracts, requested zoning change

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Agenda

5 p.m. Liquor License Authority

5:05 p.m. A proclamation recognizing local businesses Big Agnes, Boa Technology, Moots, ACZ Laboratories, Steamboat Restaurant Group, Little Moon Essentials and Landmark Consultants; discussion about urban renewal authority project bidding with Redevelopment Coordinator Joe Kracum

6 p.m. McKinstry presentation about performance contracting; Vision 2030 update; consent calendar

7 p.m. Public comment; first readings of two ordinances amending allowable uses in the industrial zone district, including a cap on the size of residential units in industrial zones; appeal of a zoning map amendment denied by the city Planning Commission for the proposed Steamboat Highlands development; City Council and staff reports

— Base area issues continue to be a major focus of the Steamboat Springs City Council, which tonight will discuss a requested zoning change on Burgess Creek Road and the city's contracts for projects at the base of Steamboat Ski Area.

The developers of the proposed Steamboat Highlands project will appeal the city Planning Commission's denial of a zoning map amendment for their project. A successful zoning map amendment is a necessary precursor for development plans that call for a 328,610-square-foot project 108 feet tall.

Councilwoman Cari Hermacinski said Monday that she hadn't made up her mind about how she will vote on the appeal, but she noted that city planners recommended approval of the zoning change and the Planning Commission denied it by just one vote.

"While I'm a huge fan of empowering our Planning Commission : if there was a situation where City Council could disagree with Planning Commission, this could be it," Hermacinski said.

City Council President Loui Antonucci said he is concerned about Burgess Creek Road and the possible implications of up-zoning the Steamboat Highlands parcel, but he also said Monday that he was undecided on the issue.

The Steamboat Highlands parcel consists of two lots between Burgess Creek Road and Storm Meadows Drive. One is zoned G-1, a high-density resort designation, and the other is zoned RE-1, a low-density residential designation that allows only one unit per lot. Developers argue that the RE-1 zoning makes no sense and wrote in a letter that the up-zoning to G-1 would "provide the ability for redevelopment with densities that further the intent : to create vitality and viability at the resort." Although city planners and three planning commissioners agreed, four other planning commissioners felt the requested zoning change was not compatible with surrounding development and had disadvantages that outweighed its advantages.

"The zone change, if granted, will serve as a precursor for a very dense and massive project," resident Bill Moser wrote in a letter in which he discussed current traffic and safety concerns on Burgess Creek Road. "The safety of our residents and guests should be addressed before a zone change is granted. This is not a subtle change, it is a change from the lowest density to that of the highest density."

If their zoning map amendment is approved, the developers of Steamboat Highlands will propose a number of public benefits in exchange for height and setback variances. They include the dedication of a 4-acre lot in Overlook Park for affordable housing, economic sustainability in the form of nightly rentals, a building that will earn a silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, a day-lighting and restoration of Burgess Creek through the site, and a voluntary real estate transfer tax on the project that would be devoted to the city's base area urban renewal authority.

URA projects

The city has its own work in mind at the base of Steamboat Ski Area, and council members also will discuss design and construction contracts for projects being conducted by the city's urban renewal authority.

Design firm Wenk Associates and general contractors Duckels Construction have been with the URA since its first projects. Redevelopment Coordinator Joe Kracum is supportive of the two companies, and he said it was assumed that the same team would complete URA projects such as a promenade and improvements to Burgess Creek.

"I'll do what I'm directed to do," Kracum said last month. "What I do know is the cost, the quality and the schedule has been excellent."

Some council members, however, are calling for the work to be rebid. At a meeting last month, Councilman Walter Magill expressed frustration that the Urban Renewal Area Advisory Committee wasn't more seriously heeding council members' call to re-advertise projects.

"They're good with the status quo and Joe," Magill said. "I'm done supporting them until they change their tune."

City Council President Loui Antonucci said he is not supportive of switching design contractors. He said there might be some benefit to bidding again for a general contractor, but he also noted that Duckels Construction hires many subcontractors and may already be negotiating the best prices possible on behalf of the city.

Hermacinski has expressed support for re-advertising the work but said she would want to wait until next year if going to bid this year would delay URA projects planned for this summer.

"I wouldn't want to see a four- to eight-week delay if Joe can show that the pricing for the labor and materials is competitive," Hermacinski said.

Also today:

- Council members will consider the first readings of two ordinances amending development codes to limit the size of residential units in Steamboat's industrial zones to 1,400 square feet and increasing allowable square footage for accessory uses or employee units to 50 percent of a project's total floor area.

- Council members will receive a final report on the Vision 2030 community survey project. The survey's about 1,600 respondents said clean environment, the Yampa River and open space were the three most important aspects of life in Routt County. Affordable housing, little traffic congestion and agriculture were the three most threatened aspects. Seventy-one percent of the respondents were 40 years old or older. Eleven percent were 29 years old or younger.

- Council will issue a proclamation recognizing local businesses Big Agnes and Boa Technology, which were included by the Edward Lowe Foundation on a list of 50 "Colorado Companies to Watch." The proclamation also will recognize Moots Cycles, ACZ Laboratories and Steamboat Restaurant Group, which were finalists in the competition, and Little Moon Essentials and Landmark Consultants, which qualified for the competition.

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