Steamboat Springs City Council OKs road for CMC

Plan approved for access; intergovernmental agreement dissolved

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Editor's note: This story has been updated from its original version to correct a quote from Sarah Katherman.

The Steamboat Springs City Coun­cil voted unanimously in front of a packed house Tuesday night to approve the new Crawford Spur access road off 12th Street for Colorado Mountain College.

The road plan paves the way for a $15 million administrative and classroom building on the Al­­pine Campus. The road would be about 300 feet from the existing access from Bob Adams Drive, but it satisfies the requirements of the International Fire Code.

Councilman Jon Quinn asked CMC President Stan Jensen whether the new access road was a better outcome for the college.

“We would prefer this for a couple of reasons, one being the best expenditure of taxpayer money,” Jensen said.

An earlier plan to build the access road as a steep continuation of 13th Street was expected to cost as much as $8 million. The new road will require construction of retaining walls as high as 9 feet, but won’t cost as much.

The council vote came despite the objection of neighbors, several of whom expressed support for the college but not for a road.

Winston Walker, who has lived nearby at 923 The Boulevard for 37 years, reminded the council just how steep 12th Street is.

“The traffic issue on 12th Street really gets to be a crisis in the wintertime,” Walker said. “If you have to hit the brakes for a college kid coming up the hill, you are sliding. I would like to challenge council as well as the college to think long term. Everyone knows what a fantastic asset CMC is. If it really grows, is this going to be the best access down the road?”

Sarah Katherman told the council her driveway would be unsafe when the new road is built.

“It is sure to reduce value of our home, which is our life’s investment, and it will create a very dangerous situation at our (steep) driveway,” Kath­erman said. “There’s no way this can be safe. No matter what: this project is in my front yard and backyard."

She said she would be OK with the road if it were limited to emergency vehicles.

The council didn’t go that far but made its approval conditional upon banning delivery trucks from the road. It also asked for signage directing motorists to the new stoplight at 11th Street, via Oak Street. Councilman Walter Magill urged that the city go forward with existing plans to build a sidewalk on 12th Street.

In a related matter, the council voted, 6-0, to grant CMC’s request to dissolve an intergovernmental agreement requiring the college to get final city approval for building projects. Councilwoman Meg Bentley was absent.

“Without the IGA, which is the only one like it in CMC’s district, we never would have had this discussion,” City Council Pres­i­dent Cari Hermacinski said. “The college has its own board entrusted to spend tax dollars in its district.”

In other action

Steamboat Springs City Council:

■ Unanimously passed a resolution appointing 14 people to its new Tax Policy Advisory Board

■ Voted, 4-2, to create an off-leash dog park at Rita Valentine Park, leaving out plans for off-leash dog walking at Spring Creek Park, with the exception of First Pond, where pet owners may exercise dogs on voice command. In a separate vote, they called for a study of increased fines for pet owners who don’t pick up after their dogs.

■ Voted unanimously to OK the city’s $50 million 2011 budget on first reading

■ Voted to table an ordinance amending the city’s lease with New West Inns for management of the Iron Horse Inn, until New West turns in all of the audit documents request by City Finance

Comments

cmc13 3 years, 11 months ago

Good to see Council use common sense on the Iron Horse debacle. The requested documents will shed light on shifty record keeping at New West or Comfort Inn. Don't understand why it is taking so long just to go through payroll records. Wonder if any property owners would like a Zero percent loan too. On a personal if I miss a payment, I'm getting tons of phone calls. Why did the city wait six months? Whe hasn't a certain council member returned phone calls (she must be busy) ? Or why isn't the paper looking into this corruption?

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bob larson 3 years, 11 months ago

I do not know what the Comfort Inn has to do with this, but I do agree 100% with the fact that the city should not be giving them any type of loan. This deal is only to go to 6-30-11, and yet the city is letting them take 30 months to repay, while still letting New West profit from the operation. I think that something is not right on why New West can not provide documents to the city when requested in a timley manner. I salute the city for not moving forward until all documents are given, and it would be requested that stronger repayment terms be required since New West could make a strong profit this winter, then walk at the end of the current term and leave the city stuck with a bill for past rent if they were to file Chapter 7 or 11.

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cmc13 3 years, 11 months ago

Okay New West is the Comfort Inn (4Sale) and so is Iron Horse. Think the city is foolish enough thinking New West will pay back anything. Wonder why certain persons are being let go at Comfort and being replaced with Iron Horse employees. The audit hopefully will find certain employee records not paid in full. Has anyone wondered why other Property managements have not bid on the Iron Horse? Almost like the City and New West are a perfect match.

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bob larson 3 years, 11 months ago

Funny that the RFP asked back in September from the city has not been released to anyone at this point, seems the city is happy not getting payment and will do anything not to rock the boat with a non-paying company. About Comfort Inn being for sale, I had heard something this spring about it being for sale, from a hotel owner in Craig.

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cmc13 3 years, 11 months ago

Tonight between 7pm and 730pm called all Council members. Two were home, two called back, three wanted to talk. One member I called again to ask about the Iron Horse, she refused to comment. To Kenny, Meg and Scott thank you for your time.

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John Fielding 3 years, 11 months ago

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Regarding the CMC roadway approval, the message given to council from city staff was that at this point in time there was an expectation of a "net zero" traffic change based on the new building serving to replace the facility that will be razed. Only one building was indicated as planned for demolition as far as I had heard. The additional replacement of buildings indicated by the message issued today from President Perhac may change that expectation.

Regardless of the short term changes in student and faculty traffic, eventually we must expect the campus to grow significantly with attendant increases in traffic. It is unlikely that any mitigation by directing it to Oak then 11th streets and improvements to those streets will overcome the unsuitability of those streets for heavier traffic. The intersection at Oak and 12th is especially problematic as the slope creates a "reverse bank" for the left turns and slide offs are frequent. Visibility up 12th from Oak is poor and students on cycles and skateboards often have near collisions with autos there. Both the Crawford Spur and Bob Adams enter 12th where grades are steep, especially 12th above Bob Adams.

In the immediate future, the construction traffic will cause significant distress to all users of 12th, Bob Adams, and the last blocks of Oak and 11th. (One assumes the Crawford Spur will have this traffic disallowed).

In the near term the events at the new auditorium will cause large numbers of vehicles and pedestrians to come and go in concentrated blocks, a condition that does not presently occur except on July 4th when delays and congestion are severe.

All of these safety issues and the overloading of narrow residential neighborhood roads would be solved completely by reviving the 13th st access proposal. Much of the existing traffic would use it, creating better conditions by far for the non auto uses of 12th, as well as for the residents who use it. The construction traffic would have its disruption limited to two residences, those which would be afflicted regardless of the location of the construction access route.

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John Fielding 3 years, 11 months ago

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The actions taken by city council at the September meeting supported the 13th st proposal by substantial majorities. The negative comments by those who were in the minority appear to have been given undue weight in the colleges reconsideration. It was the opinion of all involved in the design and planning process that this was the best by far of potential solutions to the access issues. The only significant downside is the cost compared to the other option.

That said, the cost issue should be looked at again to reveal hidden benefits and liabilities of the two proposals. The safety and neighborhood traffic issues have been well outlined above. The greatest hidden benefit of the 13th st proposal is that it involves the acquisition if a very substantial piece of real estate, one that all concerned with the colleges growth have identified as essential to the future of the campus. Subtracting the purchase price of that parcel is a major leveling factor. The costs of improvements to 12th, Oak and 11th streets has not been factored in. To deal with much increase in traffic a middle lane should be contemplated for 12th at the very least, a entry lane for merging onto 12th is also well worth consideration. Sidewalks along 12th, Oak and 11th will be needed to linked to Crawford Spur and Lincoln. Diagonal parking on 11th will need to be eliminated, and a dedicated right turn lane for 11th merits consideration, along with the elimination of the bump-out at that location. If all these improvements are made the cost will likely be near a couple of million, further reducing the disparity between the financial costs, and making the degradation of the neighborhood worse. The city council made an indistinctly worded statement about the college sharing costs for some improvements to the existing ways, but it seems that a real assessment has not been made. When it is, the 13th st proposal will come to be viewed as much more practical and economical than it is now.

It behooves the city and college to look at the options again before a final commitment is made.

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cmc13 3 years, 11 months ago

Yesterday Wendy DuBord called me and gave me the low down on the Iron Horse. She was very cordial and aware of all the on goings of Inn. Now just need to see if the Audit is correct.

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