Photo by Scott Franz
Samantha and Eric Rabesa are requesting the Steamboat Springs City Council remove a deed restriction that stops them from selling the house in the Fairview neighborhood, seen above from Colorado Mountain College’s Alpine Campus, apart from its back lot.
Updated June 4, 2012 at 10:58 p.m.
- Tuesday, June 5, 2012, 5 p.m.
- Centennial Hall, 124 10th St., Steamboat Springs
Steamboat Springs On their vacant plot of land that hugs Emerald Mountain, Samantha Rabesa and her husband, Eric, want to someday build their “forever” home.
“We love its location to downtown and the small-town feel of the neighborhood,” Samantha Rabesa said Monday about the half-acre parcel they own in the Fairview Addition west of Bud Werner Memorial Library.
But the couple must overcome a few legal hurdles and weather the objections of several neighbors before they can build the home the way they want to.
The Rabesas have lived in Fairview for six years and rent out property they own off Manitou Avenue. The vacant lot they want to build on is currently a “back lot” behind their rental home.
The deed to the property will allow the couple to build a home on the land, but a separate restriction prevents them from selling the rental home separately from the back lot.
“Our long-term plan is to sell the house we currently live in and sell the rental and then use the proceeds to build the new house,” Samantha Rabesa said. “But this has become a very contentious issue in the neighborhood.”
Steamboat Springs City Council members will weigh in on the issue tonight when they vote whether to allow the Rabesas to alter their deed and sell the lots separately. In letters submitted to the council, several neighbors urged the council to deny the request.
“The deed restriction should protect the open feel to Fairview and not allow select people to profit from a situation that others, including ourselves, were not able to participate in,” neighbors Scott and Luisa Harkins wrote in their letter to the council.
Others argued that the back lots, which currently are not connected to public roads, should never be developed. Neighbors also noted there is no guarantee the Rabesas won’t eventually change their plans and open the plot of land to other developers.
Samantha Rabesa said they have no plan to allow that to happen, and they will present several letters of support from other neighbors at Tuesday’s council meeting.
“We don’t want this to be divisive,” she said. “There are friends of ours on both sides” of the argument.
Although city staff has not taken a position on the proposal, city attorney Dan Foote said in a memo to the council that “the Steamboat Springs Area Community Plan supports infill development on vacant parcels if it is in scale with existing development in the area.”
He said if the council decides to remove the Rabesas’ deed restriction, the couple then will have to submit a development application to the city’s planning department for review.
Tonight won’t be the first time the Fairview neighborhood has sought clarity from the council. In 1998, council modified a deed restriction in a case that was similar but not identical to the proposal submitted by the Rabesas. And in 2006, the City Council voted narrowly to permit development on Fairview back lots like the one the Rabesas own. But council prohibited the lot owners from selling them separately from the lot they were attached to. Much like the proposal the council will hear Tuesday, the 2006 vote divided Fairview community members.
To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com