The proposed Sunlight residential subdivision has striking views of Sleeping Giant with West End Village in the middle ground.

Photo by Tom Ross

The proposed Sunlight residential subdivision has striking views of Sleeping Giant with West End Village in the middle ground.

New subdivision plan emerges on Steamboat’s west side

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— The partners in the proposed Sunlight Subdivision were holding their collective breath and laying low throughout the long community debate about the annexation agreement for Steamboat 700 in 2009. Now the sun has risen on a new day for the developers.

A business entity called BDMN Storage LLC, headed by building contractor Tom Fox, has returned to the city planning process with plans to develop 93 building lots on 44 acres developers say will be intended for people who work for a living in the Yampa Valley.

“We’ve been working on this for almost three years,” Fox said last week. “The concept is that these are going to be modestly priced lots, and we hope to sell to working people. It was never our intention to go up there and jack the prices as high as we could. We feel there’s a real desire to live closer to where you work.”

The voters rejected annexation of Steamboat 700, which could have led to the creation of 2,000 building lots over a period of decades on land west of city limits, in November. It could have also dictated a different business plan for the developers of Sunlight.

While it waited out the 700 process, Fox said last week, his group solved difficult road access challenges that needed to be solved before it could move forward.

Local ownership

The development group consists of retired Steamboat Springs teachers Bert Svendsen and Matt Tredway, Steamboat Motors owner Bill Keith and Steamboat Realtor Nick Metzler. The site is land they own on an elevated bench punctuated by a pair of knobs on the southwest corner of the parcel, where views are of the Yampa River and commercial buildings in western Steamboat. There are also views of ski trails on Storm Peak to the east and the Sleeping Giant behind West End Village to the west.

The property borders the Steamboat Springs Cemetery to the south and sagebrush-covered hills on the Atwood property beyond the urban growth boundary to the north. Homes in Pioneer Village and Copper Mountain Estates are neighbors to the east.

Fox said the developers might decide to build two or three model homes on the most difficult lots to build on in the subdivision, to set a tone. But independent contractors are welcome to build contract homes in the new neighborhood when it is ready.

“We’re going to proceed at a very deliberate pace,” Fox said.

To discourage speculation on the lots someday, the developers might demand a right of first refusal on secondary lot sales within a set period after the original sale.

City Planner Jason Peasley said Thursday that the proposal is in the pre-application process designed to give developers feedback on potential issues before they formally apply for a development permit.

“We’re working fairly collaboratively with them, and we want to help them create a really nice community up there,” Peasley said.

Steep access roads

Fox said securing the two necessary road accesses to the property has been a challenge, and Peasley said more challenges might lie ahead.

Fox said after lengthy efforts, the LLC acquired deeded road access through the Atwood property (at the base of the toe of Copper Ridge) above the existing residential subdivisions. In addition, they have reached an agreement, he said, with Del and Rodney Herman to use a private road, Indian Trail, leading from U.S. Highway 40 through the western side of Copper Ridge Estates to the Atwood property.

Fox and Peasley agreed that the expectation, based on the Colorado Department of Transportation’s long-range plan for U.S. 40, that development of Sunlight would trigger the process of moving the signalized intersection at the Stockbridge Transit Center slightly west, to line up with Indian Trail.

A second access to the Sunlight Subdivision, less than a mile west, would create a new curb cut on U.S. 40 opposite Curve Court, travel across a vacant commercial parcel owned by Keith, and wind its way up a difficult grade around the two knobs and into the subdivision.

Peasley said the developers could have a difficult time adhering to the city’s maximum road grade of 7 percent. And planning staff wants to learn more about the road cuts that would be necessary on the highly visible slope to achieve those grades.

The tentative site plan for the subdivision reflects a variety of lot sizes and dimensions, varying from some 0.12-acre lots on an interior loop where the developers are proposing a traditional neighborhood design with front porches and garages on an alley to the rear, to lots of 0.7 and 0.8 acres on a cul de sac that sits just above the city’s water service elevation contour at 6,900 feet.

— To reach Tom Ross, call 871-4205 or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com

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