Steamboat Highlands wins zoning approval

Urban renewal authority projects will go to bid next year


— 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.


dave mcirvin 7 years, 10 months ago

A far more useful question for the editorial body of the Steamboat Pilot would be "are you as a voting, tax paying citizen, pleased with the job and the direction that the city council, planning commission and county commissioners are doing for our community at large"?


addlip2U 7 years, 10 months ago

Shame on you City Council members!
We elected you. We entrusted you to represent us, the respectable and vital members of the Steamboat Springs community. Instead, you continue to stand on the side of the developer(s). Either you do not understand your role as a member of the City Council or are just arrogant and laugh at the face of those that will be here long after the developers with loaded pockets leaving behind destroyed for ever, what at one time made Steamboat so unique.


greenwash 7 years, 10 months ago

YADA YADA YADA....Dont forget Townsend,Dellinger,Post,Romberg and the many others who so thanklessly served these various bodys and received alot of Sh*# for decisions not everyone is going to like.

I say good call....Good use of an infill site.Density baby Density.


diplodocus 7 years, 10 months ago

If a developer used "affordable housing" and "green" in the same paragraph, city council would approve a replica of the Taj Majal built out of oleo margerine. They're like Ado Annie: they just can't say no to development. Looks like Burgess Creek will have another shady canyon-- this one created by twin 105 foot high towers. I guess the twin towers in New York weren't catastrophe enough.


pliny 7 years, 10 months ago

Among many others representing the various existing condominiums, homes and properties along Burgess Creek Road and Storm Meadows Drive, we spoke last night with the overwhelming majority in opposition to the zoning change. From our extensive experience in other communities' planning processes, we know the only real planning control with teeth is zoning -- so this is a major defeat for the Steamboat Springs community. And in any other community, the lot in question, dominated by a lush natural significant watershed, would be preserved as it is. Certainly it would never be a candidate for up-zoning.

But with our current City council dominated by a single thought: high density development at any cost -- damn the environment, damn the ambience that made Steamboat what it is, damn the thought that a mountain base could possess developments of taste, character and logical transitions...we just need density!

Antonucci, Hermancinski, Magill, and Myller do not represent the community and are clearly in the developers' pockets. They couldn't think long term if we paid them to. Fortunately, we voters can remove three of these four this November. Sadly major planning decisions are underway and Steamboat will continue to suffer from a lack of thoughtful leadership in the meantime.


1999 7 years, 10 months ago

great...idiot planners and idiot council people.


Scott Wedel 7 years, 10 months ago

After guaranteeing the URA's bonds for the promenade there is no way the city council is not going to approve projects within the URA's boundaries.

They are going to make sure the URA can pay the bonds without the City's help so every development in the URA is going to be approved and whatever else it takes to be sure the URA has sufficient revenues.


diplodocus 7 years, 10 months ago

I thought city council was supposed to represent the PEOPLE of Steamboat Springs. None of the PEOPLE I've talked to want this monstrosity on Burgess Creek Road. The majority at the meeting spoke against it. So much for representative government. And why does council consistently go against the recommendations of the planning department. I think we have a very dysfunctional government here. Of course, if I were a developer looking to make a few million and then leave the mess behind me, I'd probably love them.


pliny 7 years, 10 months ago

For what it's worth, in this case, the planning department's irresponsible language supporting the zoning change read like something the developer handed to them.

The real answer to getting our council to represent the community is to remove the pure "developer representatives" we mistakenly put in power in the last election. It turns out that the last election's "throw all the bums out" mentality produced a worse outcome for all of us. We can never get "perfect representation" but we can sure do better than what we have now.

We desperately need the council to be dominated with people of integrity like Councilpersons Bentley and Ivancie. They thoughtfully analyzed and spoke to each of the five legal arguments for a zoning change, requiring clear and convincing evidence -- coming to the logically correct conclusion.

Our council president/real estate agent Antonnuci, member/architect Myller, and the self-impressed Cari Hermacinski didn't need no "stinkin'" clear and convincing evidence. They knew their conclusion up front -- it was whatever they and their developer friends wanted. There is a history in the voting record! The disdain they felt for the annoyance of the public discussion was palpable. It was ruining their evening. If only they could rid themselves of it entirely.

Developer dollars do and always will have influence but elections can straighten things out. Hopefully, Steamboat has people of integrity with brains who will step up to the painful task of running for City Council this fall. Words won't fix this but elections can.


1999 7 years, 10 months ago

too bad the planning commision is not elected.


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