Steamboat Springs City officials upheld decisions in favor of the Powder Room nightclub Tuesday, allowing the base area business to move toward opening and overriding arguments that included a Clock Tower Square homeowner displaying poster-sized photographs of his grandchildren in Centennial Hall.
“My unit is within 15 feet from the doorway of where the proposed Powder Room is going to be,” said New Orleans resident Bob Atkinson, who has owned his Clock Tower condominium for 13 years but acknowledged he uses it primarily in winter months.
Atkinson cited a nightclub’s potential noise impacts on his young grandchildren as he showed Steamboat Springs City Council their photographs.
“We know that when people congregate outside our unit, we’re going to hear it. We’re going to hear it all night long,” he said. “What’s going to prevent people from congregating out there?”
Atkinson’s pleas and lawyer Jill Brabec’s arguments weren’t enough to sway City Council, which voted, 6-0, to uphold previous decisions made by the city’s planning department and the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission. All entities found the Powder Room to be in compliance with city codes and use criteria for the base of Steamboat Ski Area.
“We all live in neighborhoods, we all have neighbors, and we don’t get to decide who our neighbors are … particularly in mixed-use (developments),” Councilman Jon Quinn said.
Councilman Bart Kounovsky removed himself from Tuesday night’s Powder Room vote because of conflicts of interest related to his position with Colorado Group Realty.
Clock Tower Square’s six homeowners had appealed a city staff decision that allowed a change of use for the space the Powder Room will occupy, primarily citing noise and parking concerns. As he did before the Planning Commission, city planner Bob Keenan explained Tuesday how he thought the Powder Room met parking requirements.
Powder Room owner Scott Agnew said he’s worked extensively with his architect and sound staff to reduce noise and reverberations from the Powder Room, which is in the building’s garden level and has no shared ductwork that could carry sound through the building. Residences are two stories above the Powder Room, with commercial space between.
“This isn’t a situation of my ignoring (homeowners) concerns,” Agnew said.
Quinn praised Agnew for his noise mitigation efforts and called the Powder Room “a great step” for the Ski Time Square area. Agnew said the Powder Room could open by Memorial Day.
The dispute might not be over, though. During Tuesday’s hearing, Brabec told City Council that lawsuits “are almost certain to follow” a Powder Room approval.
After that approval occurred, Brabec said homeowners could decide to pursue another appeal, this time in district court.
“No decision has been made, but it’s something we’re considering,” Brabec said.
The Powder Room discussion provided a preview of issues likely to arise April 5, when City Council is scheduled to address potential revisions to the city’s noise regulations. Noise-related conflicts between nighttime businesses and nearby homeowners have drawn a spotlight in downtown Steamboat Springs and at the ski base since summer 2010.
Development in the Clock Tower area might not be over, either.
“We are working on plans right now that would cause redevelopment of all areas around the Clock Tower, and we hope to bring those before you in the next six months,” developer Jim Cook told City Council on Tuesday.
He previously has declined to discuss those plans further.
In other action
Also Tuesday, City Council heard a brief presentation about plans for the 60,000-square-foot, $23 million administrative, dining and classroom building to be built at Colorado Mountain College’s Alpine Campus in Steamboat.
CMC Facilities Director Sam Skramstad said a public open house about expansion plans is planned for March 31.
Architect Ariel Madlambayan of H&L Architecture in Denver said construction documents should be done by March 25 and general contractor Adolfson and Peterson could mobilize April 15. Roadwork could begin May 1 and demolition of Monson Hall is planned for May 15, Madlambayan said. June 1 is the scheduled start of building construction, with completion targeted for July 13, 2012.
The recent dissolution of an intergovernmental agreement between the city and CMC means the new building is not subject to the city’s planning approval process.
City Council also wrapped up its winter-long series of discussions about economic development by approving a set of policy guidelines that could influence 2012 budget decisions in fall. The guidelines focus on supporting existing businesses and economic assets, encouraging business diversity, encouraging new businesses that provide good wages and boosting efforts to increase telecommunications infrastructure.
— To reach Mike Lawrence, call 970-871-4233 or e-mail mlawrence@SteamboatToday.com