Photo by Matt Stensland
Steamboat 700 Principal and Project Manager Danny Mulcahy takes notes while Bill Cousins speaks to Steamboat Springs City Council members during Tuesday night's public comment period about the proposed development. Cousins, who just moved to Steamboat a week ago from California, said he wanted to comment because he is concerned and interested in the future of Steamboat.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
To petition for a vote
Five city voters must file an affidavit with the city clerk stating that they'll serve as a petitioners' committee.
The group must file its referendum petition within 30 days after the City Council adopts the ordinance being challenged.
When a referendum petition is filed with the city clerk, the ordinance sought to be reconsidered shall be suspended. The suspension shall terminate when:
There is a final determination of insufficiency of the petition, or
The petitioners' committee withdraws petition, or
The council repeals the ordinance, or
Certification of a favorable vote of qualified electors of the city on the ordinance.
The vote shall be held not less than 30 days and not later than 90 days from the date of the final council vote. If no regular municipal election is to be held within the period prescribed, the council shall provide for a special election.
Source: Steamboat Springs' Municipal Code
Steamboat Springs Several residents who attended Tuesday's Steamboat Springs City Council meeting renewed calls to put the proposed Steamboat 700 annexation to a vote.
Extra chairs had to be brought into Centennial Hall to accommodate the large crowd that turned out for council's preliminary consideration of a collection of resolutions and ordinances that would annex the 487-acre project, which proposes 2,000 homes and 380,000 square feet of commercial space on property just west of the current city limits. The first readings of ordinances passed, but Steamboat 700 developers were asked to address a number of issues before returning for final consideration.
"This is a major, major thing for the folks in town, and they should have a say in it," resident Bill Moser said.
Resident Ed MacArthur cautioned council against putting the decision to a vote and said the majority of city residents won't do the research necessary to say whether the complex development is a good idea. MacArthur, who is president of the Yampa Valley Housing Authority, urged council to support the project.
"Nothing in life will ever be perfect, but this is a good plan," MacArthur said. "We won't be a community if we don't have places to go in the future."
Final consideration of the annexation is Oct. 13. If council approves it, petitioners would have to gather enough signatures from city residents - 10 percent of registered voters - to force a referendum election.
Residents who raised concerns about the project mostly were worried about traffic impacts and affordable housing. The crowd also included several Steamboat 700 supporters. Many wore buttons and stickers stating, "I support Steamboat 700," and argued for the project's potential to make Steamboat a more affordable place to live.
"I want to be near my parents," Catelyn Stokes said, "and there's no way they're leaving."
Noreen Moore, of the Routt County Economic Development Cooperative, said housing stock is key to Steamboat's ability to attract the location-neutral businesspeople that are key contributors to the local economy.
"In today's technology world, housing will be a motivator," Moore said. "It's not growth for growth's sake."
Housing also was on the mind of council members, who were worried about the prices of homes in the development beyond the subsidized units that will be created as a result of Steamboat 700's community housing plan.
As of press time Tuesday night, council members had just approved, 4-3, the first reading of an ordinance annexing the property, after debating the housing issue. Steamboat 700 Principal and Project Manager Danny Mulcahy was trying to assure council that the homes in Steamboat 700 would be modestly priced.
"I told you a million times over three years that our market is attainable housing," said Mulcahy, who said he would try to address council's concerns before the final hearing in two weeks.
Council members were struggling to figure out how they could be guaranteed of Mulcahy's assurances or somehow put it in writing, but they were split about whether to institute additional deed restrictions, residency requirements or other measures.
"If the people who form the backbone of this community can't afford to live there, what did we create?" City Council President Loui Antonucci said. "The community has expectations, and I think we would be remiss if we didn't address those expectations."
Councilwoman Cari Hermacinski said she wanted to see numbers proving that Steamboat 700 could create housing for Steamboat's middle class given all the cost burdens in the annexation agreement.
"Convince me before Oct. 13 if you want my vote," Hermacinski said.
Hermacinski voted against the first reading of the annexation ordinance. Councilman Steve Ivancie and Meg Bentley voted against it also because they preferred to table the ordinance. Antonucci and council members Scott Myller, Jon Quinn and Walter Magill voted in favor of the ordinance.
- To reach Brandon Gee, call 367-7507 or e-mail email@example.com