Steamboat Springs Representatives of the Sheraton Steamboat Resort and the city of Steamboat Springs confirmed Wednesday that they have an agreement in principle to resolve an easement issue that will allow work on the new pedestrian promenade at the base of Steamboat Ski Area to move forward on schedule.
“We’ve been working in good faith to get it done. We are not going to do anything to delay construction,” Sheraton General Manager John Curnow said. “We’ve been one of the biggest proponents of the promenade from the beginning. This discussion involves two small easements the hotel has held for a very long time.”
City engineer Janet Hruby is the city’s liaison with the Urban Renewal Area Advisory Committee, which is working on the details of the promenade and other public improvements at the ski base. Hruby said she and city staff attorney Dan Foote walked the site with Curnow on Monday and mutually arrived at the tentative solution.
“Yes, we have an agreement in principle,” Hruby said. “It’s the same agreement every operation (rimming the promenade) has signed.”
Former longtime Sheraton Manager Chuck Porter said the issues surrounding the easements were multilayered.
“It was a complex issue that needed to be discussed, and that’s what finally happened once everyone gathered on site. Everyone’s concerns were met.”
Curnow said the complexities stemmed from the fact that the two easements pertinent to the promenade are interrelated to separate long-standing easements the Sheraton shares with other base area properties.
Hruby confirmed the Sheraton first mentioned easements related to the issue 18 months ago.
At a URAAC meeting May 5, Hruby told the committee members that the Sheraton was reluctant to take responsibility for any future construction damages to the snowmelted promenade that is planned to run across about 80 feet of the Sheraton’s easement in front of the hotel’s eastern elevation at the edge of the ski trails. She expressed concern that if the impasse over the easement weren’t ironed out by the end of May, it could affect an already tight construction timetable.
The hotel’s concern was that heavy equipment that might be used on a future exterior remodel of the hotel might exceed the limits the trail, surfaced in pavers, is designed to withstand, she said.
Curnow, a member of URAAC, was traveling and was represented by a staff member at the meeting.
The public $20 million multiyear improvements to the ski base are being built with the proceeds of bonds backed by incremental growth in property taxes within the urban renewal boundary.
“We’ve designed the promenade to withstand a certain amount of construction” traffic, Hruby said. The expectation is that if private developers “don’t operate consistently with the design limitations,” those damages are their responsibility.
“Beyond the language of the easements, it would be our responsibility,” Curnow said.
He added that the Sheraton previously had signed on to an operations and management agreement, which is a separate issue from the recent negotiations about the Sheraton’s easements.
Hruby agreed, saying the purpose of the operations and management agreement is limited to the ongoing upkeep of shared amenities among the base improvements such as the grand staircase that traverses the grade from the north side of the Sheraton property to Torian Plum Plaza.
URAAC is scheduled to meet again June 2.
— To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com