City tries to prevent 700 eyesore

Location of planned development's industrial uses debated

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Steamboat 700 by the numbers

Total size: 508 acres

Open space and parks: 147 acres

Development area: 361 acres

Start of infrastructure construction: 2010

Start of homebuilding: 2011

Build-out: 20 years

Housing units: 2,044*

Commercial uses: 340,000 square feet*

Community housing units: 511**

Real estate transfer fee: 1 percent***

* Under a large-format retail alternative land-use plan, the number of housing units would be reduced to 1,818 and one of three mixed-use "village centers" would be replaced with a 348,000-square-foot retail center with space for two large-format retailers and a grocery store.

** Number includes a mix of for-sale and rental housing options for households earning between 70 percent and 160 percent of the area median income.

*** Initial sales and community housing units excluded. The transfer fee would be dedicated to community enhancements and housing affordability, and a specified amount would be earmarked to provide a permanent funding source for the Yampa Valley Housing Authority.

Source: Steamboat 700

— The location of light industrial uses, including an industrial substation, was the primary item of contention among developers, residents and the Steamboat Springs City Council as the latter continued their review of the proposed Steamboat 700 master-planned community at a meeting Tuesday.

Steamboat 700's proposal is to cluster light industrial and public facilities such as a fire station, an electric substation and yards and garages for the city's public works and parks departments and the Steamboat 700 homeowners association on a parcel in the southwest corner of the project.

That proposal has spurred a backlash from residents in Silver Spur because the campus would be located directly across from the subdivision's open space on the west side of Routt County Road 42.

"This is a serious impact that we feel shouldn't be our burden," said Todd Musselman, representing the Silver Spur homeowners. "We don't feel where they're being placed is sensitive, obviously."

Land-use consultant Peter Patten said the substation would be screened and hidden by surrounding development and could be mitigated by sinking it below grade and surrounding it by a berm and landscaping. Musselman disagreed and noted the possibility that the substation could be built first while the rest of the development proceeds across 500 acres from east to west.

"We shouldn't be forced to look at that for 20 years," Musselman said.

Patten also noted Steamboat 700's public benefits such as parks and a trail system.

"We do feel Steamboat 700 is providing a lot of benefits to the surrounding residents," Patten said.

Steamboat 700 Principal and Project Manager Danny Mulcahy said he understood the Silver Spur residents' concerns and apologized for not communicating his intentions with them better. However, Mulcahy also rejected some alternative proposals for relocating the light industrial area closer to any of his proposed mixed-use "village centers."

"I don't want yard spaces in the middle of my high-density village center," Mulcahy said.

"At the end of the day, it's about community and impacting the least amount of people possible."

Musselman countered that Steamboat 700 residents at least would purchase their homes with knowledge of the substation's location.

Council members Meg Bentley and Jon Quinn sympathized with the Silver Spur residents. Councilman Steve Ivancie sought assurances that Mulcahy was willing to consider alternate locations and possibly spreading the facilities across the development.

Council took no formal action on the matter, which ended with Mulcahy's promise to meet with the residents of Silver Spur and Steamboat II.

Also Tuesday, council rejected a number of requirements proposed by the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission that would have required a number of sustainability and energy efficiency measures of Steamboat 700 such as carbon neutrality.

Council members said they thought development already was trending greener naturally and that any additional green building regulations should be imposed citywide.

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