Steamboat Springs 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