County reviews permit because of live music complaint


If you go

What: Hearing on Routt County Roadhouse permit regarding live music

When: 10:40 a.m. Tuesday

Where: Commissioners Hearing Room, Routt County Courthouse 522 Lincoln Ave.

The days when the Hahn’s Peak Roadhouse in North Routt hosted live music could be over as owners Darren and Carroll Zamzow meet with the Routt County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday to discuss the future of their permit.

The matter arose after neighbors complained about noise from live performances at the Roadhouse, which is just east of Steamboat Lake State Park. The Zamzows purchased the former Steamboat Lake Outfitters (SLO) and reopened it in December 2011.

County Planner Jake Rosenberg wrote in a memo to the commissioners that subsequent to the complaint, he researched the original permit for SLO and confirmed that live music was not among the list of allowed activities.

“The frequency, intensity and impacts of a music venue are beyond the restaurant identified on the (permit),” Rosenberg wrote.

Rosenberg added that he notified the Zamzows on Aug. 30 that any future hosting of live music would constitute a violation of the permit. He said that Darren Zamzow wrote in an email dated Sept. 11 that all music would stop by Sept. 23.

However, Rosenberg reported and Zamzow confirmed that the Roadhouse hosted live music on another occasion after the Sept. 23 date.

Zamzow said Monday that when he wrote the email promising not to host live acts after the deadline, he consulted his list of upcoming bands but overlooked a commitment he had made five months earlier to host a large private party that planned to supply its own live music. He said he decided to go forward with that reservation.

“They rented the whole Inn at Hahn’s Peak and the whole Roadhouse property,” Zamzow said Monday. “They showed up with music. They were out by the campfire until 4 a.m. playing.”

The Roadhouse has typically hosted open mic nights on Fridays and bands on Saturdays. With one exception, it hasn’t collected a cover charge, he said.

In addition to the restaurant, the Roadhouse has a store, gas pumps, guest cabins and offers recreational tours including snowmobile and horse-drawn sleigh rides.

Bob and Doris Newton are the couple that complained about the noise. Their home is just over four-tenths of a mile to the east of the Roadhouse.

The Newtons had come to the county with issues about snowmobile traffic on an easement that runs north of the Roadhouse (then SLO) in 2003 and 2005. Bob Newton said that relations with SLO had been smooth for the past few years before the operation sold. County Planning Director Chad Phillips said the permit for the Hahn’s Peak Roadhouse is a seldom-used format in Routt County, called a Planned Unit Development, or PUD, that is typically reserved for complex operations that undertake many activities and forms of business.

The county favors PUDs over granting new commercial districts in the county because of the predictability they afford, Phillips said. For example, if the convenience store at the Roadhouse had been established within a commercial district, the county would have no way to prevent the arrival of a nationally branded C-store in the event that the operation changed hands.

“I warned the Zamzows when they came in to transfer the permits that this was as complex a (permit) as we have in the county and that any activity they don’t see listed in their permit isn’t allowed,” Phillips said.

The options Rosenberg recommends the county commissioners consider include giving the Roadhouse proprietors direction with regard to the violation, requesting compliance, and/or amending the PUD to modify or restrict uses. Phillips said the commissioners have the authority to revoke the Zamzows permit, but he thinks that is unlikely.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email

Hahn's Peak noise complaint

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 6 months ago

I think it is so difficult and unfriendly to deal with nuisance code violations via zoning or use permits.

If the place was too loud too late then cite them for a nuisance code violation.

But having the PUD permit worry about live music then means worrying about someone playing an acoustic guitar singing campfire songs and generally becomes an endless list of conditions that basically restate the nuisance code concern of too loud too late.

I know it is popular to blame lawyers for what is wrong, but 50 lawyers do less harm than a single government planning official. Planners are so bad because they have so much power controlling rules so complex that they can justify whatever decision they choose to make. Same thing can be viewed as completely improper or from a slightly different perspective as something to be encouraged.


Brian Smith 4 years, 6 months ago

It's a shame that this is even a problem. Hahn's Peak Roadhouse gives me at least more reason to visit North Routt by having live music. Great reason to go, stay the night and spend some $$$. Hard to believe that a home 1/4 mile away can hear the music if all the doors/windows are shut (either roadhouse and or house). I would think something should be able to be worked out for 2 nights of music and giving people in North Routt something to do on a Friday/Saturday night.


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