Steamboat 700 sustainability measures debated

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Visit www.steamboat700.... and steamboatsprings.net/departments/planning_department/steamboat_700_july_2009 for downloads and for more information about Steamboat 700.

By the numbers

- 1.2 percent: A real estate transfer tax at this rate will be instituted within the project to help pay for items such as affordable housing and a school

- 12.5: The number of acres Steamboat 700 will donate to the city for the development of affordable housing

- 13: Miles of trails

- 20: The number of years property rights will be vested if certain requirements are met

- 80 to 95: The estimated property tax mill levy within the development

- 126: Acres of open space

- 487: The total size of the development in acres

- 2,000: The number of homes - from apartments to large-lot single-family houses - proposed

- 17,600 to 21,900: The number of daily vehicle trips the development will generate on surrounding roads

- 380,000: The square footage of commercial development proposed

- $280,000 to $600,000: The average price of housing within the development, in present day dollars

- $960,000: The amount being paid to firm up some of the city's existing water rights

Timeline

- Thursday: Planning Commission meeting; annexation review, traditional neighborhood design amendments and recommendation to City Council

- Sept. 29: City Council meeting; initial review of annexation plat, annexation agreement and traditional neighborhood design ordinance

- Oct. 13: Final consideration of annexation plat, annexation agreement and traditional neighborhood design ordinance

— The city of Steamboat Springs and the developers of the proposed Steamboat 700 annexation have negotiated for months and reached agreement on many complex issues, including affordable housing and water.

The two still stand in sharp disagreement, however, when it comes to the sustainability practices that may or may not be incorporated into the development that proposes 2,000 homes and 380,000 square feet of commercial space on 487 acres just west of city limits. City officials say there are no sustainability requirements in the annexation agreement, but Steamboat 700 planners say their sustainability master plan is a firm commitment to employing green features in the development.

"To be absolutely clear, there are no sustainability requirements in the annexation agreement," city Planning Services Manager John Eastman said Thursday. "If they were to do nothing in (their sustainability plan), there would be no repercussions under the annexation agreement."

Steamboat 700 planners argue just the opposite and say that if they don't follow through on their commitments in the sustainability plan, the city would have the same recourses as if the development didn't build its required infrastructure or contribute its required lots to affordable housing.

"We volunteered to Planning Commission and City Council to put a set of sustainability contributions into the annexation agreement, and that was agreed to by council," Steamboat 700 consultant Peter Patten said Thursday.

The most current draft of the annexation agreement states only this about sustainability: "The governing documents for the development will contain the provisions substantially as set forth in" Steamboat 700's sustainability master plan. Practices outlined in Steamboat 700's sustainability master plan include:

- Cooperating with local agencies to develop a carbon offset program

- Locating open spaces, amenities and transit stops within comfortable walking distance of homes

- Incorporating biking and walking trails

- Using native and drought-tolerant landscaping

- Requiring low-flow domestic plumbing fixtures

- Mandating the use of Energy Star-rated appliances

Eastman said that although he hopes Steamboat 700 will follow through on these and other sustainability measures, the sustainability plan is not legally binding. Eastman said goals that are not required sometimes are lost in the implementation stage. For example, he said that on a recent site visit to One Steamboat Place, he discovered that inefficient, top-loading washers had been installed in the luxury development at the base of Steamboat Ski Area. During the planning process, Eastman said One Steamboat Place similarly promised to employ green practices, but the city did not require third-party certification.

"Under no circumstances would you purchase top-loading washing machines if you were seeking LEED certification. It emphasized the importance, to me, of third party certification. They really make things happen," Eastman said. "My experience has been without actual requirements, the follow-through can be spotty at best."

Steamboat 700 Principal and Project Manager Danny Mulcahy, however, says he means it when the sustainability plan states the development "will" do something.

Earlier this year, the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission recommended to City Council that it require some sustainability practices as part of the Steamboat 700 annexation. City Council, however, decided it would be more appropriate to pursue such requirements citywide.

Steamboat 700 will go before the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission for a final time at 5 p.m. Thursday. Commissioners will make a recommendation to City Council on the controversial and complex development and annexation. Council is scheduled to consider the first and second readings of annexation ordinances at its Sept. 29 and Oct. 13 meetings, respectively.

Comments

Aspengold 5 years, 3 months ago

The ad promoting Steamboat 700 in today's paper suggests that it actually willl help alleviate traffic congestion because "workers won't live down valley". Unless all these new residents plan to walk to work, shopping, dining or skiing , I don't see how doubling the number of cars on Lincoln can decrease congestion.

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Chad James 5 years, 3 months ago

If growth happens, consolidating growth in one area instead of spreading it throughout the County, locating employment centers, shopping, parks, daycare, grocery, schools, and housing in West Steamboat, and by providing expanded transit service, bike lanes, and connection to the core trail the traffic should be mitigated more then it would be otherwise.

Additionally, the traffic is a problem today without any hope of a plan or funding coming from the City or County. Once annexed, SB700 CANNOT continue unless the traffic problems are solved. We have no other partner to to leverage state funds for US40.

Friday we heard candidates saying the solution was in getting grants. Call CDOT or Diane Mitch-Busch(chair of NWTPR)and ask them what chance in the next ten years or anytime in the future does the City have in getting State funds without a significant public match. SB700 will contribute millions to help solve traffic congestion.

Ironically the people talking about grants solving our traffic problems were in a perfect postion to get those grants initiated after the 1998 Mobility and Circulation plan was adopted. The State had plenty of funding from 2000- 2007 if we had implemented the plan the Council spent thousands of taxpayer dollars on and had leaders who would ask for it.

Someone should ask them why they didn't do anything then but are prepared to do so now?

If we prepare for growth and it occurs, we can capitalize on it.

Steamboat 700 is an opportunity for traffic solutions and an opportunity to be prepared for growth.

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Chad James 5 years, 3 months ago

"17,600 to 21,900: The number of daily vehicle trips the development will generate on surrounding roads"

Steamboat Pilot, please be cautious in your sidebars as well as your articles.

This development won't put the first car on the road until 2012. In addition, this development will place approximately 100 homes per year in the WSSAP area. It is not likely to produce 17-22K daily trips any time soon.

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Fred Duckels 5 years, 3 months ago

Chad, I remember the 98 study, I believe Kevin Bennett was in charge then, the study warned of problems from the west. The only result was to fine tune the traffic lights and a few small band aids, where no expense was involved. They did raid the highway trust fund in the form of grants to work on our alternate transportation. Roads were not in favor with this crowd and we see the lack of foresight today. Everytime the congestion became unbearable Jim Weber would make the statement "we are going to fine tune the lights". This was all a plan to force the natives onto public transportation. Next, let's take CDOT and their statements about money available. I have worked with this group for decades and any validity this last proclamation has is purely a coincidence. They may read their own press releases but one hand seldom knows what the other is doing. Just as in Aspen when a road becomes a problem it always seems to find funding. Making a big deal out of the highway 40 to devalue the 700 does not hold water in my experience, local officials have not had the benefit of decades of experience with this group.

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Scott Wedel 5 years, 3 months ago

Other places put sustainable into their building codes so it gets installed in all construction.

I am so sick and tired of seeing places with incandescent bulbs.

I complained for nearly a year every time I went into First National Bank of the Rockies at Anglers that their lighting was incandescent bulbs.

And why in world is Marabou using incandescent bulbs for their exterior lighting at their Ranch HQ?

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Fred Duckels 5 years, 3 months ago

CDOT will never admit to any money if it looks like we may fund this on our own.

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Scott Wedel 5 years, 3 months ago

Let us not forget that CDOT has timed the lights along Lincoln and it is a whole lot better now. Now you can make every light when going west and miss just one going east.

It used to be possible to miss every light when going in either direction.

We should not ignore this in case someone from CDOT reads this and is tempted to go back to the old mistimed lights.

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