Walgreens has a store in the Yampa Valley in Craig. The Steamboat Springs store would have a different design but would have a similar two-story window in the front.

Photo by Brian Smith

Walgreens has a store in the Yampa Valley in Craig. The Steamboat Springs store would have a different design but would have a similar two-story window in the front.

Walgreens project approved by city council

Developer has go-ahead to move forward; public turns out in support of store

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Casey’s Pond zoning gets initial OK

Steamboat Springs City Council unanimously approved Tuesday the first reading of a zoning change for the 5.52-acre site of Casey’s Pond subdivision. Casey’s Pond Senior Living has proposed to build a senior citizens residential complex on the site near Walton Creek Road and U.S. Highway 40. A second reading of the zoning change, to multi-family high density, is scheduled for Feb. 15.

— A big construction job is coming to the corner of U.S. Highway 40 and Pine Grove Road.

The Steamboat Springs City Council gave final approval Tuesday night to a proposed Walgreens store at the intersection, clearing the way for developers to move forward and overturning last week’s vote against the project by the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission. City Council voted, 6-1, in favor of the Walgreens project, with Councilwoman Meg Bentley opposing. Bentley objected to the building’s orientation and cited its potential impact on local businesses, such as Lyon Drug Store downtown.

In supporting the project, other council members cited its potential boost to the local economy and efforts by developers and architects to work through a contentious city planning process.

Like the Planning Commis­sion, city planning staff also had recommended denial of the project. Staff cited variances to city codes largely created by the building’s orientation, which includes a loading area that will face U.S. 40.

City Council’s approval Tues­day is contingent on eight conditions, including additional landscaping to mitigate visual impacts. Steamboat developer Brian Olson said he’ll be able to meet the conditions.

“I think the process led to a better project,” said Tyler Gibbs, director of the city’s Planning and Community Development Department. “I think the applicant certainly brought a lot of quality to the project in response to the code.”

Lyon Drug co-owners Wendy Lyon and Tahnee Miller were the only members of the public Tuesday to speak against the Walgreens proposal, which otherwise drew significant public support in Centennial Hall.

“I would encourage you to send the message that Steam­boat is still open for business,” Ed MacArthur, of Native Exca­vating, said to City Council.

Olson shook numerous hands and got several slaps on the back after the vote, which capped an 18-month planning process and an even longer process for the site itself — a different development team unsuccessfully tried to earn approval for a Walgreens store at the intersection in 2005.

Olson said his contract with Walgreens, which will lease the building, stipulates that it be open and ready for business by Oct. 31. Olson said that date could be pushed back, but he plans to immediately begin the permit process and break ground as soon as possible. Local subcontractors are expected to be used for the project.

Asked whether it’s feasible to open the Walgreens by Halloween, he broke into a smile.

“We’ll see,” Olson said. “We’re excited to get in the ground and get some work going.”

— To reach Mike Lawrence, call 970-871-4233 or e-mail mlawrence@SteamboatToday.com

Comments

exduffer 3 years, 9 months ago

Way to go Brian. Maybe those workers will buy up the Victorian to live in.

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addlip2U 3 years, 9 months ago

Why bother to have a professional city planning staff and the Planning Commission when the layman City Council members do not take into account their recommendation. Could it be that the City Council members do not understand the issue?

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Rob Douglas 3 years, 9 months ago

addlip2u's comment above illuminates what is missing in this article and has been missing in the recent reporting on this development decision: context. What became apparent to even the casual observer of last night's meeting is that the council (with the exception of Meg Bentley who is strangely perturbed that Walgreen's delivery trucks actually have the word Walgreen's on the side) concluded that the City's Development Code is geared towards a downtown/urban setting - not a more suburban setting at the intersection in question. Further, even a cursory glance at the Walgreen's plan shows that this project is more in tune with the code than the buildings on the other three corners. Indeed, owners of several of those other buildings and businesses told the council during public comment that the Walgreen's building will be superior to the ones they own and operate. The council was correct to overturn the Planning Commission and City Planning Department. More to the point, they fulfilled the appellate function they are empowered to carry out under the city government's structure. At the end of the day, what is crystal clear is that the Development Code has no basis in reality when it comes to certain locations and projects. Moreover, the code acts as an irresponsible impediment to economic development in Steamboat. Contrary to what several council members said in their efforts to bend over backwards and praise staff by claiming that the process was good and worked well in this case, the fact of the matter is that the process is badly broken and sends a message to all but the most dogged developer: Go away. Your business is not welcome here. Scott Mylar hit the nail on the head in his closing comments when he said (paraphrasing) that he is tired of the city's code being used as a tool to turn away certain businesses. If this council is serious about economic development, it should stop staring into its collective navel for months on end with meeting after meeting after meeting of "talk" and get busy doing only what it can do - and is elected to do - clean up the development code and cut the crap that folks have to go through to bring jobs to this community. It ain't sexy. It won't get your name on the side of some new public project (Lord knows this city is drowning from the burden of past council's self-glorification projects). But, it is what is called for. Last night was proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

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Rob Douglas 3 years, 9 months ago

My apologies for misspelling Scott Myller's name.

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cindy constantine 3 years, 9 months ago

All residents of SBS should be required to visit the Museum periodically to remind us of our roots as the cultural, recreational, religious, financial, entertainment and SHOPPING center of NW Colorado especially as we approach Winter Carnival Weekend. Council has been in discussions as to how best to jump-start and diversify our economy but in the meantime play upon our strengths. Until we develop more trade-schools to teach people how to do/make/create/fix things lets promote what Americans do best SHOP!! Why have the residents become so "uppity" just because we now have a ski area within our midst? Our neighbors, within a 75 mile radius still would rather come to Steamboat than to Grand Junction or Denver to shop and be entertained and if that includes a Walgreens so be it. Why do we find it so hard to be as accomodating to folks from Walden as compared to folks from Chicago? Good Job Council!!!

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exduffer 3 years, 9 months ago

You got it right Rob. It is time for the council to direct staff to stop planning for new rules, regulations and ordinances and start a comprhensive review of what is on the books now.

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mark bond 3 years, 9 months ago

I am very pleasantly surprised at the outcome! Awesome! I hope it is indicative of future outcomes!

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jeannie berger 3 years, 9 months ago

I have never been in a Walgreens store so I don't know what I am missing. Can someone tell me what they have that is not available elsewhere in town. If you tell me it is 24 hour shopping I would like to remind you that when the City Market opened at the mountain they too were a 24 hour store. I feel like it is making a strip mall out of the US 40 corridor and making us into anytown USA.
Ladies at Lyons Drug, I will continue to shop your store and hope that you don't go the way of Boggs Hardware.

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1999 3 years, 9 months ago

yay...now we're really starting to look like silverthorn.

I think wal mart started out as 24 hr open as well.

there is nothing walgreens offers that we don't already have.

again...it's the builders and RE developers calling the shots.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 9 months ago

Well then, City Council should rewrite those sections of the code that apparently no longer apply as written. It makes no sense to have city staff and planning board applying code that the city council says do not apply.

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1999 3 years, 9 months ago

yes scott....yes.

waste of time and money for everyone

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John Fielding 3 years, 9 months ago

.

I actually read a substantial portion of the CDC this past week, spent about 6 hours at it carefully going over article 20" definitions and use criteria", and article 4, "zone districts and permitted uses" . I have previously read the section on "urban design standards", article 2,"SS area community plan", and much of article 5, "development standards".

I am particularly impressed with two things, the complexity of the code and its pervasiveness.

Complexity may be considered necessary to ensure fairness of governmental action, but one wonders if simplicity could be substituted, and disputes setteled by hearings.

Pervasiveness is more disconcerting, it seems to be the intent of the code to give the City the authority to regulate nearly every aspect of interactions between citizens and businesses. I wonder how we decided that giving that power to the City was an appropriate way to maintain a desirable community

In my opinion it should not be revised, but rather replaced by something entirety different, simple and flexible, carefully limiting the rights of the community over the individual to those circumstances where real danger, damage or distress is certain. .

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cindy constantine 3 years, 9 months ago

The developer was not asking for the Redher building to be torn down so a Walgreens could be built in historic downtown. They were asking for a nice building to built on an ugly corner where other new/remodeled building exist on the other 3 corners. I totally agree with Rob. A "one size fits all" building code does NOT work for all areas within the City limits. Planning did their job, Council did their job. The process DID work and now we need to take a hard look at the code as it relates to different sections of the city.

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1999 3 years, 9 months ago

i don't consider an empty field ugly.

i consider over building ugly.

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John Rogers 3 years, 9 months ago

Ok cheaper Q-tips..and at 3 am ....well thats something ... as for my Rx's.....Lyon's is the place to go .....remember Steamboat is as Steamboat does ....

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1999 3 years, 9 months ago

they'll be open 24 hrs for exactly one month. (or not at all)

out of business within a year.

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Neil O'Keeffe 3 years, 9 months ago

That's right Sheeple lets "do what we do best as Americans and go out and shop" Baahhh!

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rhys jones 3 years, 9 months ago

If we're going to regress and stifle new development, let's go all the way: Tear out the pavement on Highway 40. Return us to our roots: Ruts. That'll slow things down.

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Amanda Grimes 3 years, 9 months ago

Walgreeens?! Why don't the residents of Steamboat get to vote on this? Pretty soon all the locally owned shops will be out of business and this place have no original flare!! Keep Steamboat Local!

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RPG 3 years, 9 months ago

Right on Rob Douglas.

Now I won't have to drive to Craig or Silvethorne to shop at their Walgreens. Walfinate and other Walgreens brand drugs will now be within easy reach for me. Finally a store in Steamboat that will have a wide variety of items. The only stores I shop at in Steamboat are Walmart and Staples, and the Walmart store is way to tiny, even the Craig Walmart doesn't compare to Denver's Walmarts. I have enough T-Shirts and nick-knacks so have no reason to shop downtown. At least now I will have three stores to use in Steamboat. More sales tax money for Steamboat from me and less money for UPS as I won't have to pay them shipping for the things I have to order on line.

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jeannie berger 3 years, 9 months ago

We vote when we spend our money at the locally owned stores....

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tcb 3 years, 9 months ago

Vote on this as citizens? Are you kidding? Come on, agrimes, you've got to admit that's an abusrd idea. It's good that the NIMBY(Not In My Back Yard)crowd gets to pout over this decision. We sold our souls to the development devil many years ago, folks. Time to ride the train and be progressive. Welcome to Steamboat, Walgreens!

Healthy business competition is a good thing. It's time that Walmart, City Market, Safeway, and Lyon Drug have someone else added to the mix to keep the pricing reasonable. Business, like life, is about "survival of the fittest". I love how all the complaints now roll in about how ugly and horrible the Walgreens will be in that location. Sure haven't heard any complaining about the awful eyesore that the lot currently is as a snow removal dumpsite for Central Park Plaza. This isn't the Steamboat of old, people, and it's time to get over it. Welcome to 2011.

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John Rogers 3 years, 9 months ago

As for a place that would be an eye sore .....Wallgreens will look good there ....wanna complain about an eye sore .have ya driven past M&M in the past 20 yrs ....or to say nothing about Dream ISLAND ..Leave wallgreens alone .just shop where ya shop and be happy we get to live here~

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Loparch 3 years, 9 months ago

RobDouglas and JohnFielding, you are two voices of reason in a sea of ridiculous banter. I am going to keep my eye on you.

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David Carrick 3 years, 9 months ago

1999 said "out of business within a year"

Hahahahahahahaha...(inhale)...Hahahahahaha...(gasp)...Hahahahaha...THAT'S A GOOD ONE, 1999...You ought to try standup comedy on the side!

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rhys jones 3 years, 9 months ago

I applaud City Council for keeping their heavy hands out of this one. I see nothing wrong with competition, free enterprise, and the entrepreneurial spirit.

Not ALL national chains will drive out local business. Anybody remember Arby's? Even as recent as Village Inn. Yet Winona's, Creekside, The Shack, and Johnny B's thrive on.

I assume Walgreen's has done their research and concluded this is a viable location. Construction alone will bring money into town, before the doors even open. Good luck, Walgreen's, I hope you have found a niche!!

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greenwash 3 years, 9 months ago

I would doubt any of the above mentioned restaraunts are thriving . Anyone notice how many realtors are waiting tables....I have.. Regardless, what does having a Walgreens on the east side of town do for Steamboat Springs ...Absolutely nothing...except of course to help out a struggling developer .When I think of Walgreens I have visions of poor homeless people huddling under the Walgreens canopy in a driving rain storm waiting for a bus or handout drinking a 40 outta a paper sack....

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snowysteamboat 3 years, 9 months ago

Dave (Greenwash)- I don't agree with you very often but that's a good one.

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sledneck 3 years, 9 months ago

John F. hit the nail on the head... pervasive. We absolutely need to "limit the rights of the community over the individual..." The "tyranny of the majority" has gone too far.

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1999 3 years, 9 months ago

sled...but one of the sidebars of democracy is that there is a good chance 'you' won't agree with the majority on many issues.

its the same for everyone.

that is democracy.

I think using the word tyranny is somewhat dramatic when the reality is closer to "the will of the majority"

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1999 3 years, 9 months ago

but I'd like to add that I do not agree with the power given to the city council.

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John Fielding 3 years, 9 months ago

.

"A majority held in restraint by constitutional checks and limitations, and always changing easily with deliberate changes of popular opinions and sentiments, is the only true sovereign of a free people." Abraham Lincoln, first inaugural address

The majority rule, disregarding the limitations properly applied to governmental authority, is clearly what got us to this point. What is not clear is how we will ever undo it.

.

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Stacy DeLuca 3 years, 9 months ago

You guys all make me laugh...over development really? Not to many of you on here remeber that the road going past the new Hospital was a dead end road right past the little red house that was a hippie house and has been about a million different things since. That for those of you that live on the moutain, we used to run cows there and there was a huge elk heard that lived there. Where your wonderful Haymaker golf course is now used to belong to The Warner family from 131 to Hwy 40 all the way across, was one of the bigger ranches in the valley at that time now you have a golf course and a house that looks like a barn or maybe it is a barn?. Everyone said when WalMart moved in to the valley it would run City Market, Safeway, Lyon Drug and all the liqour stores out of busness...hhhmmm there still here. As for the they will be out of busness in a year, you will complain about that too cause you didn't suport them and now there's another vaccant building in Ski Town USA. We are not Aspen and Vail but town council sure wants us to be. The summer sports fee's are based off of what Vail and Aspen charge, $575 to play in a softball legue, get real! It may have gone up...don't know, don't play ball in Steamboat anymore because of it. Don't get me started on Triple Crown...the rest of the towns will take there money, guess we need it more the Ski Town does.

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1999 3 years, 9 months ago

i'd be okay with looking like aspen or vail...it's looking like silverthorn that I protest

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Steve Lewis 3 years, 9 months ago

Freedom to build as we please is a great concept.

Freedom of a community to apply codes to what will be built is also a great concept.

We may continue to argue on balancing these two. But its wrong to say the codes presented Brian with unfair hardship. He purchased the land with complete understanding of the existing codes it would have to meet going forward.

I support council's flexibility when the community stands to profit. I disagree with this approval, but there is merit to the argument of context at this location and what the neighborhood has already become. That's our system and it worked for Brian.

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Steve Lewis 3 years, 9 months ago

We do not need to change the codes in any significant way. All the current owners of buildings met them. If the economy now limits new construction, we shouldn't micromanage a lower bar to grease in new commercial square footage. Its an unhealthy proposition all around.

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sledneck 3 years, 9 months ago

I took a set of plans into the RC building dept last year. It was for the IDENTICAL shop I had built in 2003 or 2004.

This time the plans were rejected. I was told that the structure was inadequate and that I would have to add much to the building to get it approved. I paid the plan review fee, pulled the plans and cancelled the project. If I can't do it for X dollars I am not gonna do it at all. There would have been $80,000 plus spent in the local community. Instead, those dollars were invested in rental property thousands of miles from here. How many others did the same?

What makes this laughable is that the shop that was built in '03-04 saw the biggest snow-load ever just 2 years later. It has fared well and is holding up perfectly. That building, as well as countless others, was built to sufficient standards. I am unaware of any prolific problems with structures in Routt that were built to 2003 standards.

So, to state unequivocally that "we do not need to change local codes" is now incorrect. This firm assertion should have been made before RCBD adopted its newest building codes and, perhaps before the planning codes were excessively tightened too. Yes, I know planning codes are not the same as structural ones but the impacts are the same.

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Steve Lewis 3 years, 9 months ago

Foreclosures are at record levels and still rising, but we need to incentivize more building.

That makes no sense at all.

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pitpoodle 3 years, 9 months ago

Personally, I am disgusted with council's decision. Their decisions are made with compromised regard for the long term community in favor of developers. This is a big step toward looking like every other town in Colorado and it will only serve to harm our tourist economy. Hey, you don't care, council doesn't care. Why should any of us?

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jerry carlton 3 years, 9 months ago

Said it before, I will say it again. Since I became 18 years old I have lived in 10 towns and cities in 5 states. Steamboat and Routt county are the most regulated places I have ever lived.

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sledneck 3 years, 9 months ago

Forclosures are at record levels and still rising but we need to maintain or increase onerous regulation on the businesses that create the jobs that pay the mortgages that keep people out of forclosure?

That makes no sense at all.

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housepoor 3 years, 9 months ago

It will be interesting to see if they actually build it or if the owner now tries to sell it with the added value of the projects approval. Does the approval have anything to do with it being a Walgreens or does it just approve the size and shape of the building and accessparking configuration?

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Steve Lewis 3 years, 9 months ago

Sled, Exactly what part of the proposed structure was flagged? A code change creating such a rejection is pretty strange.

For better or worse, the codes are conservative. You can't point to a standing building and say that is the standard to apply. Electricians will drill elsewhere and need bigger holes, roofs will shed onto lower roofs differently, the batch of lumber will vary in quality, and as you note winter will do something unusual.

The structural code, on its face, is 2x what the perfectly constructed building will require. Build to 1x what the expected snow requires and you'd be crying when the snow gets to 1.1x that. Workmanship on most Routt jobs is excellent. But some actually can get shoddy though. Particularly when its a boom market. Some of the code excess is to offset shoddiness, some is just about the electricians. I oversimplify, but you get the idea.

I would like to reduce structural requirements too. But it is a hard line to draw.

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Steve Lewis 3 years, 9 months ago

Sled, So you believe incentivizing more building will end the foreclosures. Please describe how that works.

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sledneck 3 years, 9 months ago

Whence comes this perennial notion that somehow "we" (meaning some form of government) need to do something? Why do "we" need to orchestrate the affairs of free, intelligent, autonomous men?

If you have a strong desire to control what is built at the Walgreens site then here's a concept: go buy the damn site! I'm sure the developer would entertain an offer from you guys who seem to think you should have a say as to what is done there.

If you have a strong desire to provide "affordable housing" for some people who think they are entitled to live in a world class ski town @ Kansas City prices then go out and collect donations.

If you want open space (which raises the cost of housing) then GO BUY SOME SPACE and then open it up to the public!

If you worked hard and bought ten thousand shares of IBM for your retirement would it be ok if I, owning zero shares, had an equal vote as you at the next shareholder meeting???

Sadly, the term "vested interest" apparently means nothing anymore. Too many have too much say over things in which they have little or no vested interest. This is, at its core, theft. It is a way to excersise control over property and operations in which they have no vested interest.

The next time you incessant busibodies want to talk about "greedy" bankers or insurance, oil or development companies are hurting this nation take a strong look at the greed YOU excercise. The greed for the power to control the lives of your fellow man without putting a dime of YOUR money where your mouth is.

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Steve Lewis 3 years, 9 months ago

Sled, Your list is some fiction of who I am. I will respond, but can you respond to me:

You believe incentivizing more building will end the foreclosures. Please describe how that works.

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Rob Douglas 3 years, 9 months ago

Steve Lewis writes: "We do not need to change the codes in any significant way. All the current owners of buildings met them." That second sentence is 100% false. The City Planning Department publicly acknowledged on Tuesday evening that this project is the first to have the new code applied to it. The amount of false information being spread on this project is breathtaking, including the picture of the Craig Walgreens on this article which bears no reality to the building that will be constructed.

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bill schurman 3 years, 9 months ago

This comment will be short (more later). Someone suggested surprise that the council passed this when the planning commission voted not to approve it. How could ANYONE be surprised ?? The council (save Meg Bentley) has been bought and paid for by the developers. Don't think so ?? How about the recent choice of Bart Kounovsky (a member of the largest developer's firm run by Jim Cook) to replace Jim E. (who NEVER would have voted to approve the Walgreens store) BIG BOXES here we come. Small locally owned businesses goodbye. All in the name of greed. Who cares ? Not me, I'm out of here. Now I'm sorry that I did not support 700. A developer's dream to ruin that part of the city.

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bill schurman 3 years, 9 months ago

I encourage everyone who supported the developers and Walgreens to purchase EVERYTHING that they need (except food) there. You WILL spend more money. Even though I have patronized Lyon Drug since 1975 (and will continue to do so after I leave), PLEASE STAY OUT OF LYON DRUG. They do not need you nor your kids at their lunch/ice cream counter. The locals will continue to patronize Lyons.

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Rob Douglas 3 years, 9 months ago

It's always somewhat amusing when folks like Bill Schurman blind themselves to facts. Bill says that "The council (save Meg Bentley) has been bought and paid for by the developers. Don't think so ?? How about the recent choice of Bart Kounovsky (a member of the largest developer's firm run by Jim Cook) to replace Jim E..." Uh Bill. Councilwoman Bentley voted for Bart to replace Jim. Is she just a part-time member of your grand conspiracy? see: http://www.steamboattoday.com/news/2010/aug/04/city-council-picks-colorado-group-realty-leader-ba/ in which it states: "All six council members named Kounovsky as one of their top two choices after the interviews with four finalists. Meg Bentley, Scott Myller and Cari Hermacinski, the council president, named Cedar Beauregard as their other choice. Walter Magill, Kenny Reisman and Jon Quinn named Kathi Meyer. Rich Levy, the other finalist, received no votes after the interviews. Beauregard, Meyer and Levy are members of the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission." And for those not blinded by their ideology, it might be worth a gander at pages 15-16 of Walgreen's annual report concerning their community outreach, diversity programs and employee support. All things that we're led to believe are important to our community socialists. see: http://files.shareholder.com/downloads/WAG/1156004555x0x415505/1D8F76D6-DBFF-4936-8168-A67ECF0488DF/WALGREEN_2010_ANNUAL_Lo.pdf

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sledneck 3 years, 9 months ago

Lewi, It was not so much about who YOU are as an attempt to have someone explain (or please ponder) a mindset that runs rampant in todays society and epidemic in Steamboat. That is, entitlement without vested interest. Why do so many feel entitled to decide so much when they have invested so little?

I am not for "incentivizing" more building. Nor for incentivizing less building. I am for the market deciding what it needs and filling the order without so much government red tape. This "incentivising" is just government picking winners and losers and it needs to stop.

Economics is the study of scarce resources which have alternate uses. The market will incentivize what it needs and dis-incentivize what it has too much of. Resources automatically flow to their most needed use. This is what a capitalistic, market economy does... and it does it better than ANY alternative and without the need for some entity at the top.

The "Great and Powerful OZ" does not need to be behind the curtain pulling the levers or coralling "the herd" for people to get it right. "Uncle Scam" only screws it up.

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pitpoodle 3 years, 9 months ago

There is no question that this council has been bought by developers. You may start with SB 700 developers. Your recounting of votes to replace Jim Engelken does not change that. It's always amusing when someone, like you, tries to change the conversation. It didn't work this time, Rob.

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sledneck 3 years, 9 months ago

Bill, Greedy?

You are, at this very moment holding out for top dollar on your home, no?

You want a say in what is built on land in which you have no vested interest, no?

You want an entire town to remain static so you can remain comfortable, no?

You want people to stay out of a local establishment cause their opinion differs from yours, no?

Greedy? Pot calling the kettle...

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cindy constantine 3 years, 9 months ago

Bill-- Just wanted you to know that a house 1 block away from yours sold recently for $350,000--in case you hadn't heard.

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Neil O'Keeffe 3 years, 9 months ago

Can't we just stop all of our bickering and "all go shopping"?

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Steve Lewis 3 years, 9 months ago

Rob, I agree Bill applied what he thought rather than fact, to achieve a very partisan post. Your research makes a good rebuttal. Regardless, his tone alone does his argument more harm than good, in my opinion. You could leave out the "community socialists" and avoid the ideology path yourself.

And it seems you make the same mistake to reach an equally illogical conclusion. If I'm "100% false" that all the current owners of buildings met the (codes). How the heck did so many get their C.O.?

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Rob Douglas 3 years, 9 months ago

Dear pitpoodle: For the record, I respect your right to be an anonymous gutless coward of a worm on this site with a long history of baseless and potentially actionable smears against others in this community. Also, for the record, when you grow a spine and identify yourself so folks know who is behind your smears, I'll be happy to address your meritless criminal allegation against six members of the city council. Have a nice day.

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Steve Lewis 3 years, 9 months ago

Poodle, The poll which ran against Walgreen's is not going to help some on council in November. I don't think Bill is going to make any difference with his post. The tone just obscures the useful arguments Bill might offer in between.

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Steve Lewis 3 years, 9 months ago

Sled, Getting there....
I'll revise a bit for the more general perspective.

We have HUGE differences, but at least on occasion you try to answer my questions and I try to answer yours

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cindy constantine 3 years, 9 months ago

Steve- I wasn't aware of a poll running against Walgreens. Any further details?

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CedarBeauregard 3 years, 9 months ago

I stepped down from the Walgreens debate and I'm not disappointed with the outcome.

However I'm very disappointed with the lack of discussion on the real issue and that's whats wrong with our recent update to the CC and CS zone districts? I think a huge opportunity was missed not debating this. This is the first application not the last using this code.

When we changed the code our intent wasn't to make it harder on the developer. Very much the opposite. Our intent was to increase flexibility, density, multi-use, housing and overall intensity. We were looking at our town in 50 years and hoping to direct development to its higher use without spoiling some of our limited vacant land with sprawling low-density that will be torn down in a few years.. Hence the Urban code vs. the old Suburban code.

One change for example was to allow the developer to subdivide the property into very small lots with zero setbacks. Our hope was that the development would happen one small lot at a time allowing some reserve land in the future. The old code insisted the the whole property was developed at once causing outward "sprawl."

So now that this one application is over can we please talk about where the code went wrong and how we might fix it?

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Rob Douglas 3 years, 9 months ago

Steve, I'd be happy to wager a significant amount that the majority of people reading your two sentences in context, to wit: "We do not need to change the codes in any significant way. All the current owners of buildings met them", would understand you to be saying that the Walgreens project was held to the same code as all other current owners of buildings within the city. As I pointed out and you well know, the Walgreens project is the only project of its kind to be adjudicated under the new code. However, in an abundance of fairness, and since you seem to want to play word games, I'm happy to address your proffered contention that all buildings granted COs met the codes (in place at the time of CO) in a fashion that the Walgreens project did not. Or, in your words, the city government "micromanage[d] a lower bar to grease in new commercial square footage" for Walgreens. Are you sure you want to stand by that? I'll assume you do. Let's see how confident you truly are. I'll wager a month's salary against the total amount you collect in rents from your rental properties (I dare say that's far more than my salary - so we may need to adjust as I don't want to take too much from a greedy capitalist like you) that a significant portion of commercial buildings that receive a CO are granted variances by the city at some phase of the development/remodel process - including by the council in their role as final arbitrator. Now, you won't make that wager because you know that this is true. You also know that there is nothing different about the Walgreens project than any other successful apllicant that comes before the city - other than they were forced to pony up far more money to meet the asinine new code than most successful applicants did under the old code. Indeed, the Walgreens developer (who I don't know from Adam) played by the codified rules just like every other successful applicant and the process was not "greased" - to use your inflammatory word - by anyone. Those rules have been applied by council after council since the beginning of a development code in the city. I suspect that even the Brenner and Bennet councils granted a variance or two in their day. (Indeed, I've heard from more than one prominent source that those council's were well-known for "micromanaging" the development process.) I'm so confidant of that point, I'll double the wager. You game? Speaking of the development process. Are you the same Steve Lewis who while remodeling a commercial rental property in downtown called a city council member and complained that the code process was so burdensome that it was making you consider becoming a Republican? Nah. Couldn't be you. Probably just a coincidence that there are two people with commercial rentals in Steamboat named Steve Lewis. But, just in case, if you want to come over to the dark side, I'd be happy to show you around.

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sledneck 3 years, 9 months ago

A Republican? The Devil you say.

Steve, say it ain't so!

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sledneck 3 years, 9 months ago

Of course, switching from Democrat to Republican these days is akin to switching from Exxon to Chevron... No big swing, really.

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kathy foos 3 years, 9 months ago

Rob Douglas and John Fielding I totally agree with you.Thanks for saying it so well.

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Steve Lewis 3 years, 9 months ago

Sled, I agree with you that capitalism is very, very efficient. My opinion is this efficiency of both a business, and then the market, stems from the ultra clarity of the goal – profit. You see the beauty of that efficiency and hate to see red tape that restrains it.

I erased much of my response to describe “why government red tape” is needed. Simplest answer: to protect us from the collateral damage of profit.

At the extreme end, where we both see a pure and beautiful system others and myself remember rivers that burn, children deformed by pollutants in their well water, or their neighboring opening a pig farm.

At the near end, where you can rightly say regulation like the urban growth boundary is creating problems, I believe the intentional shape that regulation has brought to our community has created more jobs than would have come without the regulation. For instance, those high end homes derive much of their value from the regulation-preserved hay meadows below.

I agree that government is clumsy. Always will be. There is a wave of resentment of government clumsiness, but from my perspective government is just trying to be the referee between the interests of business and interests of the commons.

The pendulum will swing.

As for moi, if it helps keep me out of stereotype, I can agree that unions have gone way too far. Perhaps you’ll agree in their beginning, they were necessary to create a fair workplace.

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Steve Lewis 3 years, 9 months ago

Rob, You spent a lot of text explaining your version what I am saying. Cracks me up that you build your own (and patently stupid by the way) interpretation and then dare me to stand by it.

I'll be back tomorrow about the balance of your post, but its very simple to debunk your first interpretation of what I said:

“All” the current owners met the codes. Without question, “All” current owners correlates with hundreds of such owners who have built over 30-40 years. Right? The only possible codes I could be referring to would be the one each encountered as they built. It’s not the only possible interpretation. Just the only one that makes any sense.

Your second interpretation insists my comment is about Walgreen's? Here is the whole post Rob: "We do not need to change the codes in any significant way. All the current owners of buildings met them. If the economy now limits new construction, we shouldn't micromanage a lower bar to grease in new commercial square footage. Its an unhealthy proposition all around."

That's about Walgreen's? Huh.

Sleep well, Rob

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Rob Douglas 3 years, 9 months ago

Keep playing your word games Steve. It's exactly what I'd expect from someone like you. I'll pay attention to what you have to say when you become a productive member of this community who works to create jobs instead of always looking to tear down and take from those who actually do. Try risking some of your own money on a project in this town that creates jobs for others instead of spending hour upon hour upon hour on this idiotic web site bad mouthing the people in this community who bust their asses to make it better and create jobs for their neighbors. Here's a thought. Why don't you and the rest of the Community Socialists put your money where your big mouths are and buy the Iron Horse Inn and operate it as a private venture. No. That would never happen. That's too much like real work for your ilk. You'd rather spend your time huddled in living rooms plotting how to steal from the labor of others. The second item that would make me pay attention is when just one of the community parasites actually walks their talk. Let me know when just one of your cabal has deed restricted their own home or voluntarily applied to yourselves any of the crap that you are such great champions of for everyone else. Till then, have fun using this blog to bad mouth everyone in this town who gets up early and goes to bed late working hard to make this a place where there are jobs for honest hard working people. Those folks - the true heroes of this valley - don't have time for your crap and, frankly, I don't either until you do either of the two items above.

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cindy constantine 3 years, 9 months ago

Cedar-- Thanks for your thoughtful post. And thanks to all planning members for their hard work and hours devoted to this community. Does planning ever have a gathering which is not agenda driven, similar to what Council has been doing to gather ideas from the community? I have to admit that the one planning meeting I went to about a year ago was an exercise in frustration for me personally based on the "vision" that was being discussed.

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bill schurman 3 years, 9 months ago

Good bye folks. Enjoy Developers North ( f.n.a. Steamboat Springs). Hope you enjoy the part-time Tejans and traffic. Remember to shop at Walgreens and the other Big Boxes that you'll bring in so as to run the local businesses out of business. Funny, how few of you are "locals". 5, 10,15.20,25,30 years doesn't make it. See 'ya

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 9 months ago

Did everyone see the sort of community benefit that Walgreens introduced earlier this week? $3.00 six packs of beer, nasty cheap beer and so poor alcoholics can still afford to get really drunk. Going after the same market as fortified wine, those customers, often alcoholics, that want alcohol as cheaply as possible.

Rob, What is wrong with you? You cannot participate in an online discussion without impugning the intentions of those that disagree with you? It is almost funny to read your comments about "community socialists" and then complain about someone else playing word games.

I think it is accurate to say that Walgreens was granted variances that have not been given to anyone else. In particular, I think no other recent building has been allowed to have loading docks facing hwy 40. Look at the SB Pilot building which has the loading docks facing the street that accesses the building instead of behind or to the side where it would be facing hwy 40.

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Neil O'Keeffe 3 years, 9 months ago

Hey Rob, you are a real piece of work! Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. You must be after Glen Becks job, at least you didn't play the Nazi card (yet). Keep up the good work BOW!

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cindy constantine 3 years, 9 months ago

Personally, Scott--I think it is a real disconnect to have Staples facing Pine Grove Road, then have Walgreens facing Hwy 40. The "view" of the loading dock will be somewhat mitigated by the landscaping plan. Having the two buildings face each other gives that intersection of Pine Grove more of a commercial center feel incorporating the strip center behind Staples into the mix. I think you will be pleasantly suprised at the outcome even though it may take a few years for the landscaping to mature. Now if we could build a hardware store at the end of that section of Pine Grove Road where the landscaper is located, I could do all my "provisioning" at ONE intersection without have to drive Lincoln Ave to get to Ace.

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cindy constantine 3 years, 9 months ago

And really, Rob, you ruin the whole tone of your original post with continuing attacks.

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sledneck 3 years, 9 months ago

Lewi That was better than I thought I'd ever get from you. Thanks

Unions were needed... agreed. But not anymore. Today they are hurting our country.

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pitpoodle 3 years, 9 months ago

Oh Rob, Rob, Rob, I realize you want to try to protect the integrity of your friends on council. But really attacking me and others in this thread still does not switch the conversation. This council has a track record and that record is to promote growth at any and all costs whether or not the citizens want it. Take another look at the SB 700 council votes that bent over backwards to ensure Las Vegas developers would make a profit at SBS resident's expense. Fortunately, the voters shut them down but council still doesn't get it and hopefully at the next election, they will have a better understanding. I built a building in SBS within the past few years and had to jump through many hoops and was allowed no variances. Because I am not a big developer there were no loop holes for me from the city. I truly believe Walgreens, a big box store, is a shortsighted decision and bad for our community and bad for our SBS brand. Because I feel strongly about what damage it and the flood of big boxes that will inevitably follow does not make me a socialist any more than your protection of council makes you a fool.

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Jon Quinn 3 years, 9 months ago

It is simply so sad that one of the values we hold so dear is the friendly community spirit of Steamboat and yet the comments that so often pollute this blog are nothing but venom and lies. I expect better of my friends and neighbors.

I hate to break it to you all, but there is no conspiracy and there are no back room deals between government and the development community. Your City Council is made up of 7 citizens who care enough about this community that they are willing to sacrifice valuable time and endure the barbs and arrows that come with the territory. The 7 of us come prepared, we hear both sides of each issue, and then do our best to make a decision which balances the interests of all parties while always being mindful of protecting our unique community character. We each approach these issues with different views and each bring a different perspective. We often disagree, but we are respectful of one another and we always leave those meetings as friends. That is the way it should be.

Thanks to those who came before us and the sacrifices they made we all have the freedom to speak our minds. But this forum has unfortunately become a showcase for the WORST that Steamboat Springs has to offer. It's a shame that some feel that this forum nothing more than a space for them to vent their anger. And I have to wonder when I look through these posts if you all feel, as I do, that this forum reflects very poorly on our community.

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cindy constantine 3 years, 9 months ago

Pretty surprising the paper has not deleted some of the postings--including a short one by me.

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Steve Lewis 3 years, 9 months ago

Thanks Jon. You are right. Completely.

I regret my post and apologize to Rob. We can't sincerely talk about ideas and simultaneously question the intellect or character of others at the table.

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pitpoodle 3 years, 9 months ago

Jon, please explain just how our unique community character is protected by allowing big box stores. Just how did you decide the interests of Mr. Olsen were more important than protecting our tourist economy? One wonders whether the interests of all parties were taken into consideration or whether growth is your mantra regardless of the outcome.

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Steve Lewis 3 years, 9 months ago

Cedar, "One change for example was to allow the developer to subdivide the property into very small lots with zero setbacks. Our hope was that the development would happen one small lot at a time allowing some reserve land in the future. The old code insisted the the whole property was developed at once causing outward "sprawl"."

I understood you until that last sentence. Agree with the rest. But that last sounds like annexation policy to me. What do you mean there?

I don't suppose there is a single PC or CC packet that summed these changes? And maybe a Pilot article?

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cindy constantine 3 years, 9 months ago

Pit- I need to understand those that talk about "our community character" when our historic buildings downtown are filled with T-shirt shops, expensive woman's clothing, Steamboat souvenirs and other "chatzky" that we don't need? Why are we ruining the experience for the tourists if we have a Walmart and a Walgreens? Tourists like SBS because we are a "real" town and real towns include chain stores. A communities character is determined by the character of the people. While I was adamantly against annexing a proposed suburb at the beginning of a recession which has ended up being the best vote these citizens have ever made, real people live in Steamboat and real people need places to buy the necessities . I, like others, have been down in the dumps about the current state of our local economy. What a breath of fresh air that a strong national chain had the faith in our long term prospects to "put their money where their mouth is". What am I missing in this picture????????????

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pitpoodle 3 years, 9 months ago

One more thing. I would like to know whether Mr. Olson participated in any way in making code changes. We know that SB 700 set an example (maybe for all) by being involved in making code changes to suit their development model. Thanks to voters, it didn't work like Mr. Mulcahy thought it would but this approach wouldn't surprise me. Explain, Jon.

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pitpoodle 3 years, 9 months ago

Cindy, here's what happens. There are limited amounts of tourist dollars. We are a destination resort community and our economy is based on that. We can talk all we want about job diversification or bringing in new businesses but in the end it is tourism that pays the bills. When we advertise champagne powder that is not enough to convince potential guests that it worth the drive or plane ride or expense to vacation here or to consider a second home here.

What SB has been able to offer is something that is not usually found in other resort towns across the country -- we are a small, mountain, ranching community with great western hospitality and happen to have a ski area too. Steamboat Springs also looks the part which gives us a brand that we cannot replace once it is gone. Without our small town-ranching community look, quaint (not chain) restaurants and locally owned stores (not Walgreen but Lyons) draws people back, time and again. Once our look is changed, which big box will do, we risk losing our solid tourist base - they will look elsewhere for what we had and decided to (one store at a time) destroy. We are the fresh air to tourists who come here and they come back for it. Potential for losing the tourist base for yet another drug store, when it offers little in the way of good jobs or even an increase in sales tax, is not a way to improve the state of our economy in the long term. In my opinion, this was a shortsighted move to improve the situation of another developer not to improve SBS situation. This is a simplistic explanation and I probably have not done this philosophy justice. I apologize for that.

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cindy constantine 3 years, 9 months ago

Sorry, Pit, but I disagree. And, unfortunately a lot of winter tourists have already stopped coming which you have probably noticed. I will repeat again that we still have an obligation to our residents and "neighbors" that live in a WIDE circle around this community that we also recognize their needs as the regional shopping/entertainment center for all of NW Colorado. While we can hopefully expect those Chicago skiers to come maybe once every 5 years, we have "neighbors" that come to town every month--sometimes more often to "provision" and to be entertained. THAT also is representative of our character that we do not exist for the whim of the tourists. The ski industry is dying whether we want to admit it or not, but I hope NW Colorado will slowly continue to grow and Steamboat will be recognized by our "neighbors" as being friendly and helpful to ALL who cross our city line. I believe that Walgreens will survive and will bring in additional tax dollars that have been going to Denver, Silverthorne and Grand Junction.

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snowysteamboat 3 years, 9 months ago

Hey Cedar-

Do you wanna know where the code went wrong?

The developer didn't follow it.

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George Hresko 3 years, 9 months ago

There seems to be a significant level of disatisfaction flowing from the Walgreen's case. On the one hand, several posters have indicated that the codes are the problem and need to be changed significantly. Others have said that the codes do not need to be changed materially, and that the process worked as it was designed. Four that I recall (Rob Douglas, John Fielding, Scott Wedel and Cindy Constantine) called for large changes. Rob Douglas called the codes the 'context' for community development. My personal take differs: The codes to me are simply a tool, one subject to change as needs dictate, perhaps with technological developments. I see the codes as a tool between what would be the real 'context' and the developer, builder, etc.; a set of rules, guides etc. to translate the 'context' into physical reality. For me the 'context' is something more permanent and less subject to change; maybe similar to the difference between a decision to become an engineer or lawyer, and completing this semester's courses. With that in mind, and with Cindy's mention of a visioning meeting in a question to Cedar--I wonder what the Planning Commission has as a 'context' for developing the codes-a 'context' which I would think should be a given outcome of the visioning meeting Cindy mentioned? Is it a publicly available document? Was it developed from already existant citizen efforts, or was it prepared from 0,0? Or were the codes developed lacking such an agreed upon 'context'? Cedar can you provide some insight? (To be Continued)

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George Hresko 3 years, 9 months ago

Then, Steve Lewis earlier posted that 'the system worked' and that 'we do not need to change the codes in any significant way'. I wonder if those significantly involved in the process believe that the system worked? If the Planning Commission voted 4-2 against approval, if the City Planners did not agree with approval, then what are they to think when approval is granted? Is the Commissioner role redundant, unnecessary? Should they resign or ask for new guidance from CC? It seems that an alternate to Steve's explanation might be that the boxes were simply ticked along the way, but the intent of the process was not complied with. Before an effort to change the codes is mounted, maybe time should be taken to define 'the problem'? (To be continued)

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pitpoodle 3 years, 9 months ago

Cindy, guess we'll have to agree to disagree. Personally, I don't want to live in the middle of a regional shopping/entertainment center for all of NW Colorado. I live here because of every and any other reason. For Walgreens, I think people outside of SB will go to Craig.

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mtroach 3 years, 9 months ago

Pitpoodle, reading your post I wonder if you need to get your eyes checked. Big boxes are all around and putting one on that corner is a great place for it to go, next to the others, WalMart, Safeway,Staples, even SkiHaus can be considered in that group. Next you say Walgreens "offers little in the way of good jobs", well the Pharmacist and Manager of that new store probbally disagree with your discription of their jobs. I count those as two good jobs and the 10 or so part time positions will in fact bring additional revenue to the city as Walgreen's corporate money comes to town to pay their salarys. You say that tourists will be turned off by this big box and not return, nonsence. Tourists I've delt with love it when you can refer them to a business they are familar withand they still patronize local businesse, and more and more it was the attitudes of the workers here that made visitors like steamboat, not what buildings we worked out of.

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CedarBeauregard 3 years, 9 months ago

Here is a link to an article in the paper about the CC CS zone changes

http://www.steamboattoday.com/news/2010/mar/11/city-discusses-possible-us-40-zone-changes/

Agenda

http://steamboatsprings.net/sites/default/files/2010/06/15/06_15_2010_agenda.pdf

http://steamboatsprings.net/sites/default/files/2010/06/15/06_15_2010_flp.pdf

And Minutes here..

http://steamboatsprings.net/sites/default/files/2010/06/15/06_15_2010_ccmn.pdf

"City Council President Pro-Tem Quinn moved and Council Member Magill seconded to approve the second reading of an ordinance amending Chapter 26 of the Steamboat Springs Revised Municipal Code, Article V, Section 26-132, and Dimensional Standards format, the Community Commercial (CC) and Commercial Services (CS) Zone District Dimensional Standards and Parking Standards. The motion carried 5/2. Council Member Bentley and Council Member Engelken opposed. Discussion during the motion: Council Member Engelken stated that these are not “minor tweaks”, rather major policy changes that he does not support. This will create a much denser environment and change the look and feel of the community."

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CedarBeauregard 3 years, 9 months ago

"Scott Mylar hit the nail on the head in his closing comments when he said (paraphrasing) that he is tired of the city's code being used as a tool to turn away certain businesses."

Really Scott Myllers..

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cindy constantine 3 years, 9 months ago

I haven't laughed so hard since the SB700 bantering!!!!!!!!1111111111

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CedarBeauregard 3 years, 9 months ago

Cindy I don't know what you find sooo funny but it worries me!

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 9 months ago

George, My fundamental argument is not that the codes need to be changed, but the larger principle that it is immoral to have a city council granting so many variances to the code because the code should be what is acceptable and variances should be reserved for when the code is poorly written for the particular lot and requested use.

I think it is immoral because it creates the situation where just about every project is going to need variances which adds wasteful costs and delays to the project, and it puts a premium on being on favorable terms with the City Council. Would a developer that was an active opponent of SB 700 and had publicly criticized decisions of the City Council feel as confident requesting variances as another developer that had stayed quiet? If Cindy Constantine owned that lot and had proposed that identical development then does anyone think no city council would remember any of her comments and ask her to conform to the existing code?

A Walgreens on a flat commercial lot at an intersection with a traffic lot should have no need for variances.

Since the City Council decided to approve Walgreens then I think they have to obligation to rewrite or remove the sections of code that they have already decided no longer should apply to applicants.

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cindy constantine 3 years, 9 months ago

Cedar- Scott M. statement at Council was "spot on". The fact that you pulled your post from Rob's first and second post appeared to poke fun and that is what had me laughing.

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Steve Lewis 3 years, 9 months ago

George, Scott, In my opinion as a former commissioner, Planning Commission is obligated to follow the CDC and Area Plans. City Council has more latitude to consider budget impacts, economic impacts, etc. Its not written anywhere that I know of, but I believe and history suggests they also have more latitude to please their constituents. Or displease, as the case may be.

Mt time on PC saw some discussions (which were very relevant) curtailed specifically because we were getting into economy, budget, etc. Generally I refer to discussions that involved an applicant. Discussions on legislation, Plans and Codes did allow us to weigh economic considerations, though without any representation from finance department staff.

PC's constituency is the code and the plans. Kathy Connell was very explicit at my interview that I had to leave my agenda at the door if I sat on PC. I voted for most of Jim Cook's projects and on the street I'd get complaints from some folks who said I failed to represent their interest.

I have a different take on variances than Scott presents. When the same variance occurs over and over again, and is approved over and over again, yes, Scott is right. But Walgreen's needing variance "a" is no reason to re-work "a" into our code. Most variances are unique to their project and reflect some challenge of the site or the business model. Some are cutting edge architecture. I would reject the notion that they are "bad". I would support the notion that too many variances probably mean the project is a poor fit for Steamboat.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 9 months ago

Steve, I observe that planning commissioners are supposed to act like judges - looking at the facts and applying the CDC fairly.

Variances are thus part of the system in which the applicant is saying the rules do not make sense in this particular situation. A variance is comparable to an convicted person applying to the governor for clemency.

The code for single family residential housing is straightforward enough so that requests for variances is rare and tends to due to special circumstances.

But when a commercial applicant feels justified in asking for 11 variances for the most generic of circumstances (store on a flat lot at an intersection with a stop light) and the variances are granted by the City Council then, by definition, the City Council stated that much of the current code should not be applied. Well, if they do not think it should be applied then they should change it.

We would not want a system of justice where a person could be convicted of 11 crimes and expect to get clemency from the governor.

Relying upon variances is very corrosive and corrupting because that places playing the political game as the only part of the application that really matters. Does anyone think the City Council would grant Cindy Constantine 11 variances if she applied for a project? Equally important, would Cindy expect the City Council to reject 11 variances and thus feel compelled to adjust her proposal? So now we have two systems of planning, significantly different ones depending upon the person's relationship with the City Council. That is simply wrong.

Thus, I argue that when the City Council approves variances that it had the moral obligation to change the CDC so that subsequent similar applications do not require variances.

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Fred Duckels 3 years, 9 months ago

Once again Rob has gored the socialist ox. Once again we have the left scurrying to muddy the water and invalidate the message. Maybe Steve can get Brett to discontinue Rob's blogging privileges. The protectors of civility are aghast. Our socialist friends have worked long and hard to control the valley and they expect a return on their investment. Lately we seem to be exposing them, coupled with their incompetence, we hopefully can lessen their grip. Most of the socialists moved here because it was a nice place with a handshake demeanor that could be manipulated. I suspect that most came from areas where graft corruption, dependency and cronyism flourished. These areas have a more civil discourse because most are net recipients. The lack of civility is necessary if we are to address problems of this nature. When the health care bill was being rammed through, the tea party was portrayed as violent racists. Here in town the socialists have the predominate numbers and they are going to be all for civility. I don't intend to acquiesce and follow. The west has been a last bastion of freedom and we don't need to relinquish it without a fight.

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Steve Lewis 3 years, 9 months ago

Scott, Your analogy is confusing to me, in its equating variance with guilt or crime, and getting out of jail with a development permit. Opposites, yet sympathy wins each example. And I just argued a variance is not a crime! But I'll try.

I think your argument results in more pardons, so the judge can more easily justify pardoning the guy with more crimes. I think.

Remember we are talking 11 variances for one project. I would have said no. Council said yes. You see this one applicant as a reason to shift the rules. I don't.

And you argue its so that Cindy gets a fair trial because she is less favored. I guess I would say we shouldn't shift the rules to offset a judge's unfair bias.

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cindy constantine 3 years, 9 months ago

And I would argue that there is a huge difference (especially in a bad economy) between a spec building the size of Walgreens and a FULLY leased building to a credit worthy tenant. I will give credit to Council that this had nothing to do with favor and everything to do with jobs and the "perception" to the outside world that we have not closed our doors to meaningful development. That is why I posted earlier that Planning did their job and Council did their job.

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cindy constantine 3 years, 9 months ago

And Fred, Blatant, outright rude name calling is constructive in your book-----NOT

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Steve Lewis 3 years, 9 months ago

There is another topic here.

From above: “the code acts as an irresponsible impediment to economic development in Steamboat. …the fact of the matter is that the process is badly broken and sends a message to all but the most dogged developer: Go away. Your business is not welcome here.”

I disagree. The code, in reaction to our plans, is a serious and responsible attempt to define the “shape” of Steamboat. It should not be revised to achieve a faster building of that shape. When Ed MacAuther suggests the City "get out of our way" as means of improving our economy, it appears he holds the short term economy as more important than the Steamboat we had planned on.

Its one thing to adjust code as upgrades to density and character. These are the intrinsic realm of code as a fruition of area plan. Its another to adjust code as inducement for more construction. That would be the fruition of another agenda. The code should consistent, once a community experiences reasonable success in demand. We cannot and should not adjust our values like an interest rate.

And outside the short term injection of consrtuction jobs, Ed's view makes no economic sense to me. We have built too many condos. Ed wants us to get out of his way so he can build more. In a time of rising and probably record Routt foreclosures, our highest priority should be inserting more square footage into that equation? This strategy, at best, will prolong the time we’ll spend in the flat of rock bottom valuations.

Thanks Cedar for the links. I'll do some reading of them over the weekend.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 9 months ago

Steve, My analogy to clemency was not about guilt or innocent, but about laws and the process for things that do not follow the law.

Variances are for buildings that do not conform to the law as embodied by the development code.

So if we are not going to change the code to encourage development during tough times, but the City Council is going to grant variances because it is tough times then does that make any sense to you?

The code should reflect what is going to be approved. If loading docks can be facing the highway if there is landscaping then that should be in the code. If certain codes are not going to apply during tough times then the codes should be rewritten to not apply during tough times. If 11 codes do not apply to retail to be occupied by national chains with a contract that calls for immediate construction then that should be in the code.

Variances should be an admission that the code is poorly written for this particular application. If the situation is truly unique then it would add needless complications to the code to try to handle every special case. In a generic situation like retail on a flat lot at an intersection then the City Council's granting of variances is an implicit statement that these parts of the code are wrong and do not currently apply. Thus, they should follow up this approval by changing the code to remove what they have already said no longer applies.

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Steve Lewis 3 years, 9 months ago

Scott, Scott Myller's statement, he felt the code was too strict, seems to be your choice I guess. When a council leans toward approving variance x, we should move the code to allow x. What do you suggest when the public leans the opposite way?

Poll: Would a Walgreens store provide an overall benefit to Steamboat Springs? 59% No. 40% Yes. http://www.steamboattoday.com/polls/2011/jan/would-walgreens-store-provide-overall-benefit-stea/#c88770

Also, the Paul Strong council wouldn't approve this in my opinion, as they installed the big box ordinance. Certainly the Brenner council would not. The Cari Hermacinski council will. The pendulum will swing. A bit messy for penciling those pro-formas years in advance, if the code bounces with the pendulum.

And maybe this has already occurred. I wonder what the new setbacks are in my neighborhood.

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John Fielding 3 years, 9 months ago

.

Here is a very different suggestion. Lets keep the code as a guideline, but switch the burden of proof that a problem would be created to the regulators. Here is how it would work.

You want to build something, open a business, or do any one of the many things that are regulated by the CDC, so you make your plans as you think will best suit the need. Planning reviews them and notes the degree to which they conform to or vary from the code. If no obvious danger, disturbance, or damage will result from the nonconformances, they may ask you to consider some changes to follow the code more closely but would not have the authority to prevent you proceeding. If the serious issues appear likely, or your proposal is so far from conformance that it seems unreasonable, your application goes to the commission for a hearing, where they must prove that your proposal is unreasonable to deny it. An appeal to the council remains a final recourse.

If there were many proposals being referred to the commission, it would be an indication of where in the code changes should be considered.

"The Lair of the Wolf is his refuge, and where he has made him his home, Not even the Head Wolf may enter, not even the Council may come. The Lair of the Wolf is his refuge, but where he has digged it too plain, The Council shall send him a message, and so he shall change it again"

Rudyard Kipling The Law of the Jungle (From The Jungle Book)

..

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Steve Lewis 3 years, 9 months ago

Cedar's link - the Pilot story puts the code changes occurring in the CC and CS commercial districts along Hwy 40 south and west of downtown. 2 stories required in the south highway district, CC.

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Steve Lewis 3 years, 9 months ago

John, You describe a subjective and staff intensive route that developers greatly dislike. Certainty that allows a pro-forma is far better when deciding to buy a parcel.

You also must think the people who bought and built earlier will be pleased with surprises next door. They won't.

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John Fielding 3 years, 9 months ago

.

Displeasing the neighbors to an unreasonable degree would be grounds for rejection. The present laws often are used to allow a use despite neighborhood objections.

.

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Fred Duckels 3 years, 9 months ago

Cindy, I don't recall, calling anyone names. My point is that civility can be used as a political tool. Mubarak of Egypt is all for civility in an effort to maintain the status quo. Those in power are big on civility so matters don't get out of hand. Sometimes it is necessary for a little fur to fly.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 9 months ago

Steve, I suggest that it is bad public policy to have a CDC so contentious that whether or not a particular development is approved depends upon the City Council of the moment.

It is also bad public policy to consider this building a Walgreens because it is a building that happens to be currently occupied by Walgreens and there is no guarantee that Walgreens will be there for the life of the building. So the question of whether or not the public supports a Walgreens at that location is completely irrelevant. The question should be whether the public supports the 11 variances for the proposed building at that location.

The Staples building was not built for Staples, but I think for a furniture store. The design of the building is what should matter, not the business located in the building.

So yes, since the City Council approved the 11 variances then that should cause at least those parts of the CDC to be up for discussion to be rewritten. If the public wants to stand up and maintain the design requirements of the CDC then that would just demonstrate that the City Council should not have approved the 11 variances. If the public wants to sacrifice design requirements to create more retail space then the codes should reflect that.

The one part of the CDC that I think has no part of the process is the extremely speculative economic impact aspect. If the newly founded Google had 10 years ago asked for commercial space then the economic impact would have been office space for a few guys. It is long past time to leave questions of economic impacts and economic benefits to the investors that are investing their money and leave government to community accepted design considerations.

John, Pleasing or displeasing neighbors should not be an important part of the process. That allows entrenched neighbors to control everything and prevents a person from using their property as it could be used everywhere else in town except for that location. Neighbor's opinions have a place when considering variances, but variances should not be needed for normal development on a typical parcel.

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Steve Lewis 3 years, 9 months ago

Scott, I think the developers wanted that "economic development" there, as it was often an argument they were comfortable with.

The code recognizes your argument that this store could be anything... well anything BIG. The code looks at a big footprint as the issue, both in look and likely chain tenant. So the conversation about chains maybe will be wrong on occasion, but generally a big store will be for a chain. So I think the poll is relevant, though the name could be fill in the blank. Enjoy the game.

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sparkle 3 years, 9 months ago

Wow..i just got a chance to look at these comments. When did writing "anonymously" become such a bad thing? Fortunately, we all may be heard and register as "anonymous" or not. Many good works are performed anonymously, i.e. acts of kindness, monetary donations, poems, volunteer work, etc. What makes it so "gutless?" Is it necessary to have the ability to pinpoint someone as commenter in public or in the phone book or online? I thought that content was more important than the individual who may have composed it.

Your anger and vitriol are reactions to your fears. We all love Steamboat Springs and Routt County, Colorado, and want only the best for it. Naturally, there are a lot of different opinions, as we are a diverse and free community. Please stop with the name calling, even though I totally support your right to your opinions.

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John Fielding 3 years, 9 months ago

.

Scott I think that displeasing the neighbors is at the heart of the subject, it is why these codes were created in the first place. The CDC makes law of a conception of an ideal community, allows "the neighbors" to control what may be done in a given area.

My point is that if you are unreasonable, say want to operate a slaughterhouse in the garage of your townhouse, keeping the cattle and sheep waiting in your back yard, you should be prohibited from doing so. However if you only want to open a restaurant on the north side of Oak Street instead of the south side, or paint your garage door white even if it can be seen from Hwy 40, or keep more than 5 chickens without proving that you need them, then the CDC should not be used to disallow it unless it can be shown that it is unreasonable.

Steve The process would hardly be more staff intensive than it is now. Planning already does the full review, and the commission has hearings for everything that is of significant scope or that requests variances.The concept of reason is not entirely subjective, and is widely used in legal procedures, the reasonable doubt, a reasonable person. There is no reason it cannot be made the basis for development decisions as well.

.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 9 months ago

John, It makes sense to have community standards so that operating a slaughterhouse in a residential neighborhood is simply not allowed.

That is not the same as letting the neighbors have major input because then a slaughterhouse could end up in a residential neighborhood if they are all part owners or it is proposed by a neighbor so intimidating or politically connected that no one dare speak against it.

I would say the key is that a CDC should have sufficiently broad popular support that it only outlaws only what the community recognizes as unreasonable. That it would outlaw painting a garage white only if it was well accepted that a white garage door is unreasonable. A CDC gets into trouble when only those interested in the topic create the codes only for the general community to dislike the picky controlling nature of the codes.

The codes are supposed to be written to describe what is reasonable and what is unreasonable. They are written to some level of detail so that what is allowed in a neighborhood is not dependent upon whether Steve Lewis or Fred Duckels is a neighbor. (No insult to either, just examples of people with differences of opinion).

BTW, a restaurant on north side vs south side of Oak is hardly an arbitrary distinction because of all the service deliveries and such from behind the restaurant. One would have commercial neighbors and served by a alley shared by other commercial users and the other would have residential neighbors served by a previously residential alley.

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sledneck 3 years, 9 months ago

It's a lonnnnnnnnng way from a walgreens on the corner of Hwy 40 to a slaughterhouse in a townhome... Long, long way.

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pitpoodle 3 years, 9 months ago

It's not such a long way, Sled. Depends on whether the slaughterhouse builder is a friend of the council or whether the builder was active in making changes to the code just prior to the slaughterhouse building choice location. It is common knowledge that SB 700 developers worked for changes in the code prior to their proposal to council, as well as concessions to provide water to their project in advance of approval. Fortunately, the voters had a choice. Did Mr. Olson do the same? Did his 11 variances receive special consideration?

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Steve Lewis 3 years, 9 months ago

Pitpoodle, It should come as no surprise that developers attend code update conversations. So do citizens representing the area plans and community goals. You go to far in speculating Brian Olson might have gotten his approval in some dark way, or via special consideration.

Developers have a little more motivation of course, so they tend to be more consistent and energetic. For instance, I was a member of the affordable housing working group in 2006, and Jane Blackburn represented BARC as a professional pro-developer voice. She was great, and I enjoyed what she brought to the table. I guess you could say I represented the pro-area plan voice.

It's as simple as this: Did council represent you or not. Take your complaint to them, not Brian Olson.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 9 months ago

Pitpoodle, No need for conspiracies, this City Council did not use any tricks to approve Walgreens, they openly granted 11 variances. They got the special consideration of promising to bring in a national retail chain this year.

The longer term trends suggest that Walgreens is feeling the competitive pressure of Walmart and so they need things like drive through. The longer term prognosis of independent pharmacies is grim because they lack the scale to get pricing comparable to the big corporations and computer information systems are starting to be better than pharmacists at recognizing drug interaction problems. Independent pharmacists could be in the same situation as independent travel agents were 10 years ago before they were largely crushed by online alternatives. So, if you like the Lyons pharmacy then people here need to use it.

Sledneck, The point about slaughterhouse is that it is something that would presumably obviously not be allowed in a residential neighborhood. and so virtually any code would not allow it. Thus, it serves as an example of why there are codes as compared to those that think there shouldn't be codes or to allow what the neighbors accept.

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pitpoodle 3 years, 9 months ago

I understand that any and everyone can attend meetings to voice their opinion about code changes. What I object to is allowing the code to be changed to accommodate a particular developer and a particular development. Conspiracy has nothing to do with this. My concern is that no one is watching the store when it happens and here we are discussing the ramifications after the fact. Scott, you do not really know how the code can change with pressure from developers. Do not count on what you think is obvious.

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mtroach 3 years, 9 months ago

I understand this debate ranges far off the specifics of this Walgreens but in this specicif case;How much impact will the 11 variances really make? It was my impression that most of the variances were due to the buildings loading dock would be visible from US40, and those visual impacts were to be addressed with landscapeing. Anyone know exactly what council allowed that that was outside the code that is unreasonable to you?

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 9 months ago

mtroach, Yes, but then if it is entirely reasonable to grant those variances then that is exactly why the City Council should rewrite those codes so that the next developer doesn't have to ask for variances for the same sort of situation. The next developer with similar issues is also going to have to deal with planning staff and a planning board that are supposed to follow the current codes and so will also require variances which cost the developer time and money.

If the variances were entirely reasonable then the City Council needs to correct that part of the code so that future loading dock issues can be solved by landscaping or whatever.

The City needs to get out of the business of micromanaging development requests with an apparently unreasonable code that forces reasonable developments to get variances. It costs time and money for both the developer and the city.

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Steve Lewis 3 years, 9 months ago

mtroach, The code gets changed on an ongoing basis. My planning commission updated the Base Area plan, the WSSAP, and approved some Hwy 40 corridor changes between 05 and 08. I'm not sure if our Hwy 40 product got council approval.The rest did. (Scott M. and Cari H. were on planning commission for most of these, before they graduated to council in 07.) Since I left PC, the Base Area Plan and the Hwy corridor codes have been updated again.

Can't tell you which council installed the constraints Walgreen's missed. Probably several councils. Plus, I haven't read the packet of exactly what they are.

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mtroach 3 years, 9 months ago

Maybe we should look at what was decided and see if you are ok with the development and what the coulcil approved. That would be a good story for the Today, explaining all that was allowed and how the public feels about the variances. My bet is that most of the pubilc would never know how the bulding is outside the code, or care about the variances unless it made the building unsafe. Hopefully that is why my elected officials made the decision they did over the reccomendations of others.

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Steve Lewis 3 years, 9 months ago

Scott, Your logic seems to ask for a perfect code, and expect that every flat site triggers the same list of 11 variances.

Surely you appreciate that constraints, such as siting and architecture, are never the same on two projects. It is just not possible to be 100% consistent on "variance "x", and also be reasonable. Landscaping may cure it in some cases and not all all on another project. If variance x is allowed on a side setback because of site shape issues, that is no reason to grant all subsequent applicants the same variance.

Nor is it a good reason to go change the code. THAT would be micro-managing on a much larger scale. Re-writing the code in reaction to the next 11 variances would have subsequent developers retooling plans on a regular basis.

If treating the applicant consistently is the actual goal, perhaps council should have said "no". That would have been consistent with both staff and planning commission.

Meanwhile I contend the goal is balancing applications with what we want being built, and the process worked just fine. With 11 variances, probably a record number, Brian Olson should expect the process to be challenging, rather than a breeze.

Agreeing or disagreeing, I usually understand your logic more than here.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 9 months ago

Steve, I do not expect a perfect code, but I would expect the code to be improved after issuing so many variances. I fully accept that there is a need for variances due to site specific issues, but this overall was as generic as possible.

It is hardly obvious that all 11 variances were due to site specific issues. Certainly things that were once hard and fast rules such as no loading docks facing hwy 40 can now be mitigated by landscaping.

At the very least, after approving 11 variances then the City Council has the obligation to review the code and decide what rules truly had site specific issues, whether those issues are likely to be common enough to be handled via modifying the code and which rules no long apply If they conclude that all were site specific issues that do not indicate any change in policy then so be it.

But it certainly appears to me that they have signaled a change in policy and it would be far better public policy if those changes were in the codes, not a system where planning staff and planning commission are trying to follow codes while developers feel that part of the process is just an annoyance on the path to variances being approved by the City Council.

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sledneck 3 years, 9 months ago

NO, no no, no matter what you guys say: Its a loonnnnggg way from a walgreens on hwy 40 to a slaughter house in a townhome. It does not " depend on who is friends" with whom. Only lunatics equate a new Walgreens on Hwy 40 with slaughterhouses in townhomes... period!

The need for some codes is understandable. I'm as anti code as it gets and I acknowledge that, but, The reason for most of the other codes is that you freakin people are freakin whacko; and you can't get along with your neighbors and so you want the state to bully your fellow man on your behalf.

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John Fielding 3 years, 9 months ago

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Forget the slaughterhouse example, it was only the most unreasonable thing I could think of at that moment. Lets take one that is more similar to the Walgreens case, visibility from Hwy 40.If your garage door faces 40, it may not be white or any other color with a high reflective character, a value is specified. Perhaps if you offered to mitigate with landscaping you could get a variance to allow you to chose from other than the "recommended pallet". But your choice of plantings is restricted to those identified as similar to the native vegetation of the area, you may not express your personal preference in horticulture. It is supposed to look like that part of your property was left undisturbed since the pioneers arrived.

It's all right there in the Code. I was at the meeting when Council discussed it, spoke up against it, to no avail. But I am just a member of the public, of no particular standing except perhaps as being identified with non-conforming behaviors. (A polite way of saying whacko, over the edge, disestablishmentarian troublemaker.) Go ahead and attend the meetings, see what difference you can make, more than me I hope.

One thing is sure, people ought to be a little more tolerant of their neighbors. For the most part they actually are, the Code seems to have been designed by and for the benefit of those who wish to impose their personal standards and restrict their neighbors activities. Lets give them the benefit of attributing it to good motives, to protect our "brand", to keep the City pretty. But the effect is stifling to both businesses and personal liberty. You might day it is the will of the majority, a debatable position at best, but even if it is that does not justify unreasonable imposition on the very large minority who, if they made themselves heard, would have opposed such restrictions.

It seems to come down to resistance to change, not necessarily a bad thing, but like shoveling against the tide. Change will come, our efforts to control it only make it take different forms. The desire to prevent sprawl takes the form of code amendments that will increase density. But increased density is antithetical to a small town atmosphere.

The best we can hope for is that the changes will come slowly enough that we can get used to them gradually. But if you stay in one place for a few decades, unless it is really far up in the boondocks, you will see a lot of it. We must expect it and try to be tolerant if we are to remain the friendly, welcoming community we have had a reputation for for a century now, ever since the railroad arrived. The hundredth winter carnival is just around the corner, our first and most enduring attempt to attract tourists, and yes, new residents and businesses too.

.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 9 months ago

My perspective in this debate is to not take a position on what are the codes, but to argue that the codes should be the same rules for all.

It seems to me that a developer is playing with a different set of rules when willing to go through planning willing to ask for 11 variances from the City Council. The City Council when granting those variances for a generic building on a generic lot is confirming the developer did not have to play by the current rules.

So now the City Council should revisit the rules so that others can play by the same rules. Whatever logic they used to justify the variances for that building at that site would seem to apply for many other lots and so the code should be what is going to be enforced.

It is bad public policy to have a City Council willing to give variances from the CDC, but not to clearly state what are the new rules.

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Steve Lewis 3 years, 9 months ago

Scott, Your 8:11pm yesterday post, particularly the 3rd paragraph, makes good sense to me.

My reaction to this vote is tempered with some sympathy for Brian Olson. First this site was for a Walgreen's. He bailed on that with the bad 1st PC review and walked away before PC ever voted, as I recall. Next he had the post office lined up. They bailed on him. So he comes back with Walgreen's. I would still have said "no", but I can't get too riled up about this. I may get riled when that big masonry wall facing Hwy 40 goes up.

Some things just aren't a slam dunk yes or no. On a rare occasion PC overrules city staff, and on a rare occasion CC overrules PC. A few of my neighbors are pissed. I just would have said no.

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snowysteamboat 3 years, 9 months ago

Olson did not own the property when the first walgreen's proposal came through

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greenwash 3 years, 9 months ago

So who do we blame for the ugly Staples building and next doors Mid Valley Center both terribly out of place and not a timber on them ? Orange/Pink Central Park Plaza ? Or maybe that is why the codes get revised? To prevent more of the same mistakes from happening over and over? Regardless and on a postitive note , I would bet the Walgreens will look much better regardless of what side the service entrance is on.

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George Hresko 3 years, 9 months ago

Scott & Steve-

Thank you for your responses to my questions and your comments. I am slowly reading the materials Cedar referenced--I am still not certain how the codes tie to a larger / longer time frame context.

Meanwhile, as I think about your comments on the process vis a vis Walgreens--I am a system and process person by training and experience--it occurs to me the differences between your two positions are simply a question of the design of the process / system. Scott believes that the process needs an explicit feedback loop and Steve believes it does not need one. Scott's view of the feedback loop is that it goes directly to revising the codes. I tend to agree that a feedback loop is missing, but that it needs to start with the CC. Maybe when the CC does not agree with the Planning Commission-particularly where there are 11 variances requested--the CC should be required to prepare a 'brief' (they are acting in a quasi-judicial capacity) explaining their decision--such as we have come to expect from our courts. I would suggest then if there are a series of such 'briefs' they would provide information to feedback to both the 'context' and the codes themselves. For your consideration.

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Steve Lewis 3 years, 9 months ago

George, Scott, The "explicit feedback loop" seems a very good summing of Scott's point. And clarifies my thinking on the matter. What I disagree with is a presumption that the council is right and the code, being wrong, should be changed. The code is written so we are building toward our plans. Staff and planning commission contribute to the codes, and the community to the plans. Code is a mandate. A council vote is not.

Consider the brief they would write on just one variance, made obvious from my post above: "2 stories required in the south highway district, CC". This is apparently the latest addition to the code. It was ignored in its first test. With the exception of Bart K., and according to Cedar's post above, the same 5 councilors who approved the code change also chose to except its application on this site.

What do you do with that? Changing the code is the wrong answer. They just wrote that in!

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George Hresko 3 years, 9 months ago

Steve & Scott- Obviously I needed to explain more. First, as far as the feedback loop, I was only suggesting that one is needed, not trying to describe in detail how it should function. Second, Steve, you and I agree that the code should not be easy to change, requiring something similar to a 'constitutional ammendment'-at least the same rigor that went into creating the overall concept and the codes in the first place. Third, by suggesting a brief be prepared by CC, I was, perhaps optimistically, thinking that requiring CC to put their decision in writing vis a vis each variance, would make completely clear the rationale for the decision. While the brief(s) would feedback to the code and the context, I did not see that it wouild be a one for one feedback, but rather something perhaps on the order of building an inventory of briefs and explanations that would be available when the codes and the context are reviewed. Clearly, regular review of both, the code more frequently than the context, is part of the process. The code review process would provide the opportunity to evaluate the CC briefs and either change the code accordingly, or, if it seemed appropriate, reinforce the current requirements. The CC would need to develop and pass an ordinance or similar, I think, setting up the structure of the brief process. I hope this helps.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 9 months ago

George, I would hesitate at the notion of making it hard to change the CDC because then corrections would tend to be harder to make.

I think we would be much better off if CC agreed to make policy changes to the CDC only after being confident there is deep public support so that a subsequent CC decision would not come along and give a variance than substantially ignores that policy.

As Steve Lewis noted, how do the same city council members that voted for second floor residential requirements then give a variance for that?

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pitpoodle 3 years, 9 months ago

I agree with Scott when he says: "I think we would be much better off if CC agreed to make policy changes to the CDC only after being confident there is deep public support." This, instead of making policy changes so their favorite developer of the month will get what he wants regardless of the code or after they agree to make changes in the code to suit their current pet developer.

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cindy constantine 3 years, 9 months ago

You guys are way off base. Do you honestly think CC would have approved a spec building with 11 variances?? This is all about Walgreens and jobs. And I for one am not a fan of South Lincoln looking like historic downtown with two story buildings with apartments over small offices. Would you want to live across the street from McDonalds where the speed limit is 45 miles an hour? What a disconnect. Up-zoning to me is more about residential lots within town having more flexibility as to # of units. The last thing we need are more small offices.

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Steve Lewis 3 years, 9 months ago

Cindy, You are probably right that this one was about jobs. With Safeway and City Market pharmacies as Walgreen's neighbors, this isn't about leakage. We are talking about the 10 months of construction jobs for the building itself. It was equally a vote to encourage developers to come to Steamboat. Yes they are welcome here and we are willing to bend over backwards to accommodate.

You might reconsider your opinion of 2-story buildings as a requirement. i.e.- What do you think of sprawl? Building a denser, more pedestrian environment is an obvious future in my opinion. The sooner we head there the more appropriately our infrastructure dollars will be spent.

Given council's understanding of this (in approving the new 2-story code), their vote for Walgreen's was a vote for the past, and against the future.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 9 months ago

Cindy, Steve, Maybe the second floor residential is a silly idea or maybe it is a great idea, but the place to fix it is in the CDC, not with variances. There is little worse than having a plan, saying it is not worth following when faced with specific issues, and then saying that is still the plan.

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pitpoodle 3 years, 9 months ago

There is something worse than having a plan and saying it is not worth following, not when faced with specific issues (which could be OK), but when faced with a favored developer who can't be told no, and then saying that is still the plan.

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Steve Lewis 3 years, 9 months ago

Poodle, Until you have something to back you up, I don't agree there is a favored developer in the Walgreen's vote. I would agree there is a favored industry - construction.

Council's accepting 11 variances to insert this chunk of new commercial square footage into a market reeling with foreclosures and empty storefronts...

I just don't understand that.

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cindy constantine 3 years, 9 months ago

Steve, Having US 40 to Salt Lake City as our main arterial is not conducive to a pedestrian friendly town. Let's be real about what we have here.

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cindy constantine 3 years, 9 months ago

Not to mention the 100's, literally, 100's of folks that commute from North, South and West Routt plus surrounding counties to work, go to school, see the doc, ski, shop, etc EVERY day. This is not the island of Steamboat so please consider the needs of others that do not live inside the city limits.

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CedarBeauregard 3 years, 9 months ago

Thank you... This has become a good discussion..

Cindy pedestrian friendly doesn't mean you have to make things less auto friendly. Janet Hruby of Public works will be submitting a complete streets ordinance to the City this spring.. Its a very exciting concept. Here are the basic principles.

http://www.completestreets.org/complete-streets-fundamentals/

Eventually everyone gets out of there car..

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 9 months ago

Cedar, Is this a joke?

The one thing that is not needed is 20+ page ordinance of rules regarding streets, sidewalks and so on. A whole another pile of gobbledygok for a developer to waste time having to talk to city staff to find out what it actually means in terms of road width and so on.

Take all those marketing slogans and goals and convert it into one page of specific requirements.

BTW, gobbledgok is intentionally misspelled because proper spelling has this site's profanity checker complaining about "go*k".

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Steve Lewis 3 years, 9 months ago

From the PC packet Cedar linked:

"What is a complete street? A complete street is a street designed and operated to enable safe and efficient travel for motorists, transit users, pedestrians, and bicyclists of all ages and abilities."

The basics. This concept is better for commerce and community building than many people realize. If you disagree, try walking any 4 blocks down Yampa St. or Oak St. in our downtown commercial core.

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mtroach 3 years, 9 months ago

Come on steve, if you are going to walk somewhere try from Central Park Plaza to Ski Haus or the Walgreens site.

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pitpoodle 3 years, 9 months ago

Lewi, my comments were not directed at the Walgreens vote. I should have clarified.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 9 months ago

Steve, And when was Yampa or Oak Streets laid out? A hundred years ago when vehicles were narrower so the streets were plenty wide. And the City with the money for any other number of projects, has never considered it worthwhile to put in a paved sidewalk on either edge of the street's right of way. The issue was not a lack of understanding that sidewalks are nice for pedestrians.

The big problem I have with the proposed initiative is not that I want narrow unsafe unpleasant streets, but that a 20 page ordinance talking about nice streets is yet another case of passing something vague that wastes the time of everyone involved of trying to figure out what it actually means.

If in this climate that means a minimum of 40 foot wide streets with 6' sidewalks and so on then write that as the ordinance, but do not pass 20 pages of ideals and policy goals only for others to figure out what it means.

Since this proposed ordinance is not specific, there is no particular reason for anyone to oppose it. Only later when it is applied in a way that surprises the public will its real impact be considered. The time to learn the actual impacts is when it is considered, not some time later when it is interpreted by staff and applied to proposed projects.

It would appear to suggest that West End Village should have sidewalks and bike lanes, but making the streets that much wider would have changed the nature of the neighborhood and made it more expensive.

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steamboatsassie 3 years, 5 months ago

Hire our local contractors and let's make this issue really work for Steamboat!

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