Steamboat Springs A zoning change request for the proposed Steamboat Highlands project on Burgess Creek Road proved divisive again, but this time developers were on the right side of a 4-3 vote.
The Steamboat Springs City Council overturned on Tuesday the city Planning Commission's denial last month of the requested zoning map amendment, which will change a 1.4-acre parcel's zoning from RE-1, a low-density residential designation that allows only one unit per lot, to G-1, the city's second-highest-density resort area designation.
A successful zoning map amendment is a necessary precursor for development plans that call for a 328,610-square-foot project 108 feet tall on the subject parcel and a neighboring lot already zoned G-1. The zoning change still must be adopted by an ordinance to take effect.
Supporters and opponents of the zoning change packed Centennial Hall for the lengthy hearing and spoke during the public comment period. Many were residents of the Burgess Creek Road neighborhood who said the zoning change would exacerbate dangers that already exist on the steep, winding and narrow road.
"Your primary issue, your primary concern, should be the health and safety of this community," said attorney Ron Smith, representing the Bronze Tree Condominiums. "And you're ignoring that if you approve this."
Although no council members disagreed about unsafe conditions on Burgess Creek Road, some didn't think those conditions should factor into a zoning decision. And others noted that disadvantages of the rezone are outweighed by advantages such as the possibility of nightly rentals and pedestrian improvements on the site.
"Density equals vitality," Councilman Scott Myller said.
In its 4-3 vote last month, Planning Commission found that the requested zoning change was not compatible with surrounding development and had disadvantages that outweighed its advantages.
On Tuesday, council members Myller, Cari Hermacinski, Walter Magill and President Loui Antonucci voted in favor of the zoning map amendment. Council members Meg Bentley, Steve Ivancie and Jon Quinn voted against it.
Also Tuesday, council members directed that projects in the city's urban renewal authority at the base of Steamboat Ski Area be put out to bid beginning next year. Design firm Wenk Associates and general contractors Duckels Construction have been with the URA since its first projects in 2007.
Council members decided to stick with the firms for this year's projects because Redevelopment Coordinator Joe Kracum and Deputy City Manager Wendy DuBord said conducting a bid process would delay this summer's projects.