Steamboat Springs The Colorado Mountain College board of trustees has given President Stan Jensen the go-ahead to propose the dissolution of an intergovernmental agreement between the city of Steamboat Springs and the college.
The intergovernmental agreement requires the college to go through the city planning and review process for construction projects, such as the new administrative building the college is planning for its Alpine Campus in Steamboat. But because the state already regulates community colleges, it’s unusual for them to also go through city processes.
Jensen said he will submit a letter to the Steamboat Springs City Council requesting the item be placed on the Nov. 2 agenda.
He said the agreement “treats us like a developer,” and the dissolution of the agreement “makes it a lot simpler, clearer about how we can proceed” on major projects. He said the dissolution also could save taxpayer money because of the simplified approval process.
City Manager Jon Roberts said he has no strong arguments for keeping the IGA in place, and the reasons the agreement was important when it was enacted in 1997 mostly are moot.
“Back when the IGA was adopted, the primary issue was fire access and sprinkler issues,” Roberts said. Since that time, the International Fire Code has been updated to include the changes the city wanted to see, and the college will be held to those standards by state law.
The college is planning a new 50,000-square-foot administrative and classroom facility using geoexchange heating and cooling technology at the campus off Bob Adams Drive, and it’s looking at ways to add secondary road access to the site. The college’s preferred option is a new road leading to the 13th Street and Lincoln Avenue intersection. A second option is to expand a spur from Crawford Avenue.
If the IGA is dissolved, the college would have to get only administrative approval for projects. Roberts said the college also would have to meet lower, objective standards to have the city accept the secondary access road and provide maintenance.
City Council members have expressed some concerns about the proposed secondary access. Roberts said those concerns primarily are related to safety issues, and because of that discussion the college began looking at the Crawford Avenue spur instead of access from 13th Street.
Roberts said he spoke to directors in the Fire, Public Works and Planning and Community Development departments and does not see a reason to keep the extra review requirements.
“They’re all of a similar opinion of me that the IGA really now is not as significant a factor as it was in 1997,” he said.