- Tuesday, October 19, 2010, 5 p.m.
- Centennial Hall, 124 10th St., Steamboat Springs
Steamboat Springs Tuesday’s Steamboat Springs City Council agenda will include more discussion of the possible purchase of 586 acres on Emerald Mountain as well as an ordinance establishing off-leash dog parks.
The issues have attracted public interest and comments, and at least one City Council member expected a fair amount of discussion.
“I think Emerald Mountain will have a lot of provocative thoughts being shared,” Councilman Kenny Reisman said Sunday afternoon. “It’s certainly kind of stirred a lot of emotions from people throughout the community — understandably; it’s a very special place.”
The proposed deal between the city and land owner Lyman Orton also has drawn comments from people who are concerned about the idea of spending city money on the land at a time of budget cuts and layoffs.
Tuesday’s council agenda includes a second reading of the ordinance to approve the contract. The council gave initial support Oct. 5 for the purchase of the 586 acres on the north side of Emerald Mountain. But the council requested changes to the proposed contract on that date. The council wants to remove the city’s obligation to contribute as much as $150,000 annually for the next five years to help implement recreational and community-oriented visions for the land.
That money would match funds raised by the Howelsen Emerald Mountain Park group.
“We’re not looking to be morally obligated in the future for that,” Councilman Walter Magill said Sunday.
Neither City Manager Jon Roberts nor city attorney Tony Lettunich could be reached Sunday to provide updates about where the contract stands with Orton.
The City Council revision would remove Section 25c from the purchase contract.
That section states that upon closing on the land purchase, the city will have entered into a contract with the Howelsen Emerald Mountain Park group “requiring the city to match each calendar year for a period of five years … on a dollar for dollar basis, the charitable donations obtained by HEMP for the purposes described” as much as $150,000 in a single year. The city match wouldn’t exceed $750,000, according to the contract.
Orton wrote in an Oct. 10 letter to the Steamboat Pilot & Today that removing the provision “sends a negative signal to the community and significantly reduces the incentive for the community to give.”
The city hopes to get a $600,000 Great Outdoors Colorado grant to help buy the property and would spend $700,000 from its capital projects fund plus $16,000 in closing costs to buy the land. On Oct. 5, the city authorized $5,000 for an environmental impact study required by GOCo, but that will be done only if Orton agrees to the requested contract revision.
Reisman said the council also would talk about who will maintain the acreage if the city buys it.
“That will be a core part of the discussion,” he said. “There’s a desire to have HEMP maintain it, but we’re still looking into seeing what the obligations of the city are.”
Dog park plans
The council is scheduled to consider the first reading of an ordinance that would allow off-leash areas at Rita Valentine and Spring Creek parks. The Parks and Recreation Commission hopes to get community feedback about the plan at the meeting.
The off-leash area would include all of Rita Valentine Park and Spring Creek Park and would replace an off-leash certification program that allowed owners to have dogs off-leash after passing a voice- and sight-control evidence tag program.
Reisman said the council would aim to make sure there’s a plan in place to hold the community and the city accountable.
“I think there’s accountability from dog owners, and I think there’s accountability from the city that code enforcement is actually engaged … that if we put a plan in place that it is enforceable,” he said.
Also on Tuesday’s agenda:
■ First reading of an ordinance approving an amendment to the commercial lease agreement between the city and New West Inns, which operates the Iron Horse Inn
■ First reading of an ordinance amending the municipal code related to harassment to include initiation of communication by computer