If you go
What: Steamboat Springs City Council meeting
When: 4 p.m. today
Where: Centennial Hall, 124 10th St.
Call: City offices at 879-2060 for more information; call 871-7070 to listen live to City Council meetings
- 4 p.m. Executive session to discuss projects seeking annexation into city limits
- 4:45 p.m. Resolution to approve a contract extension with Wenk Associates to produce design and construction documents for projects at the base of Steamboat Ski Area
- 5 p.m. Update on a National Environmental Protection Act study of U.S. Highway 40 in west Steamboat; update on a water and wastewater rate study master plan; discussion of city affordable housing policies; discussion of possible changes to the Home Rule Charter
- 7 p.m. Public comment
On the 'Net
For more information about the U.S. Highway 40 NEPA study, visit www.us40west.com
Steamboat Springs A group studying improvements to U.S. Highway 40 in west Steamboat Springs is honing in on a proposal that would widen the road to four lanes from downtown to Steamboat II.
Consultants also are reviewing 10-foot separated sidewalks along U.S. 40, double left-hand turn lanes at the intersection of Elk River Road and U.S. 40, and a pedestrian overpass or underpass at the same intersection. Other potential improvements include double left turn lanes for traffic turning onto 13th Street from Lincoln Avenue and westward extensions of Steamboat Springs Transit bus lines.
Any improvements would be paid for by the city, Routt County and developers - including Steamboat 700 and 360 Village, two large projects seeking annexation into city limits.
"It would be done on a cost-sharing basis, and that's still being developed," City Manager Jon Roberts said Monday. "Once you determine the preferred improvements, you have an estimated cost and then the estimated cost gets proportioned out. And that proportionate share has not yet been determined."
Today, the Routt County Board of Commissioners will consider two versions of a letter they plan to send to Steamboat 700 concerning the dedication of county building-use tax collections generated within the development to the U.S. 40 improvements. City Council President Loui Antonucci said the city has not yet determined how much the city will contribute or where the funds will come from.
"We know we're going to have to participate," he said, "but we haven't committed to anything yet."
The study is addressing alternatives to meet transportation needs while also examining the effects of the alternatives on environmental resources. Because U.S. 40 is part of the federal highway system, the study is required under the National Environmental Protection Act. An update on the NEPA study will be presented to the Steamboat Springs City Council today.
"This isn't the final acceptance," Roberts said, "but this is to introduce the items that are being : considered."
Antonucci said he doesn't expect council members to give specific direction on what the highway should look like because they are not traffic experts, but he did say council might take options off the table if it is felt that certain improvements don't match Steamboat's character.
The study group already has considered and rejected proposals including expanding U.S. 40 to six lanes, creating reversible high-occupancy toll lanes, a roundabout at U.S. 40 and Elk River Road and grade-separated intersections, also known as flyovers.
In other City Council action today:
- Council members will receive an update on a water and wastewater rate master plan being conducted by the city. The master plan is expected to propose the creation of a new stormwater utility fund that could be funded by developers and a service charge to all residents. Roberts said stormwater system improvements currently are paid for out of the city's general fund. Antonucci said he's not crazy about the idea.
"They say they want to run that thing as an enterprise fund. OK, but who pays into that fund?" he said. "I get a little concerned because : one of our goals is that Steamboat stays affordable for local people to live here. If we have to find more ways to tax people, that kind of goes against the goal."
- Council will debate potential changes to its affordable housing ordinance. The changes would allow developers to make a payment to the city in lieu of building actual affordable units. Under the city's existing inclusionary zoning policy, paying a fee in lieu is allowed only at base area projects and for fractional units. Council also will consider allowing developers to propose a voluntary real estate transfer tax on first and subsequent sales of units.
Antonucci said he supports flexibility and giving developers a variety of options for satisfying affordable housing requirements.
"I think it has to be a multi-pronged approach for developers," he said. "I don't know if you can make an ordinance that withstands the ups and downs in the economy."
However, a city staff report states that city staff supports changes to inclusionary zoning to confront the current economic situation "with the hope that within a reasonable period of time, circumstances will permit a return to the original intent of the" ordinance.