Steamboat Springs City Council could decide relocation of fire and police stations

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Past Event

Steamboat Springs City Council meeting

  • Tuesday, October 16, 2012, 5 p.m.
  • Centennial Hall, 124 10th St., Steamboat Springs
  • All ages / Free

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— The future of Steamboat Springs' police and firefighting presence on Yampa Street could be decided at Tuesday's Steamboat Springs City Council meeting.

Following weeks of discussions centered around their desire to move emergency services out of 840 Yampa St., city officials will ask the council Tuesday to approve the sale of the facility to Big Agnes for $2.1 million.

At the same time, city officials will look to the council to weigh in again on the final two proposals for relocating the fire and police stations out of that building.

The options include razing the Iron Horse Inn and replacing it with a police station, or constructing a combined fire and police station next to the Stock Bridge Transit Center west of downtown.

The city originally pitched the demolition of the Iron Horse as its top choice, but the proposal was met with mixed reviews from the council.

Several council members said earlier this month they wanted more time to consider the proposal.

City officials still think the Iron Horse is a viable option, and they will present a more detailed version of the plan Tuesday night.

A PowerPoint presentation detailing the pros and cons of both relocation proposals, along with their costs, was released Monday by Deputy City Manager Deb Hinsvark.

In it, the city estimates that the aging motel will require $2.9 million worth of maintenance to continue to operate for the next 20 years.

The presentation also outlines the option to build a combined public safety campus west of downtown. Officials wrote that the Stock Bridge option would reduce initial relocation costs by $1.6 million as well as put police closer to the Routt County Sheriff's Office, the jail and the Routt County Justice Center.

Other agenda highlights:

Bed and breakfast

City Council will consider approving a conditional use permit for a proposed bed and breakfast at 2415 Val d' Isere Circle. The city's Planning Commission last week voted unanimously to approve the application to open the bed and breakfast, and there was no public comment.

In a memo to the council, city planner Jason Peasley said the bed and breakfast would be run out of a large home that is in a neighborhood characterized by a mix of single-family and duplex structures on relatively large lots.

He added there are several vacation rental homes in an adjacent neighborhood.

Fire restrictions

Steamboat's city manager soon could gain the ability to enact and recind fire restrictions.

Steamboat Fire Rescue Chief Mel Stewart and Public Safety Director Joel Rae are proposing to give the city manager the ability to dictate fire restrictions in the future without an emergency ordinance from the council.

"By allowing the City Manager this authority, the City can respond in a more timely manner to address changing conditions,” Stewart wrote in a memo to council. “This will allow the City of Steamboat Springs to more closely follow the direction of other agencies and authorities in our region.”

Currenty, fire restrictions must be imposed and dropped with the approval of the council. They require first and second readings before they can go into effect.

Data Partners

Yampa Valley Data Partners will brief the board on the results of a two-year Governor's Energy Office grant and then outline its plans for next year.

Comments

Scott Wedel 2 years, 1 month ago

So they are going to consider selling the current police and fire facility with only having vague plans on what to do next?

And this remarkable haste is needed to approve the sale a poorly marketed property well below appraised value?

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Steve Lewis 2 years, 1 month ago

There has been 1 hearing on this in September. The plans announced in that packet took everyone outside of City Hall by surprise. The presented budget at that hearing was so rushed they forgot the fire department.

What is the compelling reason why this is being done so quickly?

You would expect to at least understand some compelling rationale. You would expect a $10 million capital outlay by the City to have Council consensus. Even community consensus. But from the prior hearing it seems this will be a split decision on Council. It also appears unpopular with the community.

I've never seen anything like this.

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Harry Thompson 2 years, 1 month ago

City council and the city continue down the path. Someone comes up with an idea, such as redeveloping Yampa street and they will bend facts and logic to get what they want. They will dump a building at below market value, inflate costs on deferred maintenance. If they have so much money, why is there so little maintenance being done on city owned buildings and facilities.

There are numerous locations and plans including moving the fire station and remodeling the police dept. into the expanded space. Try thinking outside the box and look at other locations, contact owners of good locations and see if they might sell. Here is a novel idea keep the police dept. where the majority of the action occurs. Keep it easy for the citizens to walk in and meet with an officer. Keep the police involved with the public.

We elect the council to be good stewards of our tax dollars, to make prudent, logical plans to move the city in the right direction. This certainly is not happening and to think Kevin Kaminski can not understand why the citizens are frustrated and don't get involved.

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 1 month ago

Copied as is from the packet. So the top two priorities are to remove fire and police station from Yampa St. And another top priority is to do it in a way that avoids voter approvals. And the one specific proposed action is to sell the current building (poorly marketed at well below appraised cost) and consider different options of where to build new police and fire stations. Could it be any clearer that this really about removing police and fire from Yampa and giving that building to Big Agnes?

I. REQUEST OR ISSUE: The action being discussed covers these issues: • A desire to encourage Yampa St. redevelopment. • The opportunity to incent a local recreational manufacturer to keep his headquarters in Steamboat – and to provide room to grow his current number of employees (80) by at least 14 within the next year. • A need to build both fire and police headquarters specifically designed for those purposes. • A plan to mitigate the costs of the Iron Horse and to remove it from the City’s assets. • Accomplishing the above without asking voters to increase taxes.

II. RECOMMENDED ACTION: Staff recommends the sale of the Yampa Street property to Big Agnes/Honeystinger and the construction of the fire and police headquarters at either of the two sites being described in this presentation.

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 1 month ago

" Since the current fire/police station sits in the perfect center of Yampa St. and creates a commercial dead zone,"

Such an important claim made with no supporting evidence. Nor is it even mentioned that Stockbridge parking lot is part of long term transit plans as overflow parking for downtown. Nor is there any analysis on why both fire and police need exactly the same sized 8,400 sq ft facilities. Big trend is rest of world is reduced office space due to ability to work anywhere. The big trend in policing is for their vehicle to be their office so officers can complete "office work" while on patrol instead of sitting in an office.

Biggest joke is when report cities county assessed value for Iron Horse as indicating current cash value of less than $1M since the process by which county assesses a property value does not mean the result reflects actual cash value. Specifically, if you disagree with county's assessed value for a property then professional appraisals are not relevant information.

"At about the same time, the City became aware of the growing need of Big Agnes/Honeystinger to find new headquarter space. They had grown in just five years from a staff of 5 to 80 and were looking to hire another 14 employees in the next 18 months. Staff were scattered among several office complexes in the downtown area. Discussion with the CEO led the City to believe that their operations would be perfectly situated in our new Yampa St. environment and their retail activity on the ground floor in the former fire station would be unique and compelling."

Yep, goes to show once again the driving priority is to give the building to Big Agnes.

• In keeping with the economic development atmosphere of thet transaction,we will place “clawback” provisions in the sales contract.

• For 7 years would not be able to sell the parkinglot parcels unless the City agreed to the sale. • For 7 years would need to be at aminimum 50% occupied by BAP,Big Agnes and/o Honeystinger

So this is not really about police and fire, but about giving the building to Big Agnes to assist that company.

So the biggest priority is really about providing proper police and fire buildings, but an economic development plan promoting Big Agnes that will hopefully spill over onto Yampa St.

This city government just refuses to learn that good intentions does not make for good real estate transactions. This becomes a disaster for the City if Big Agnes gets bought out in a year or two. Would be easy enough for new owner to legally meet the clawback requirements even as the building becomes a mostly empty shell waiting until the 7 year waiting period expires before selling the building for a tidy profit.

If this City Council goes forward with this then it will be soon remembered as a fiasco comparable to building a fancy terminal at the local airport served by no airlines and the Iron Horse.

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Steve Lewis 2 years, 1 month ago

How do you write this agenda item title as "Discussion"? That has always been City Hall parlance for intermediate consideration. I have NEVER seen it used for an item asking for final direction.

This proposal does not mitigate the cost of the Iron Horse. The cost becomes larger burden by demolishing an offsetting value - the existing buildings.

It is frustrating to watch a council this eager to pull the trigger on $7-10 million in city infrastructure commitments they have barely sketched. Surely they understand the impact on future City budgets?

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Steve Lewis 2 years, 1 month ago

Realty offices are dead zones on the same street, but they are not even mentioned as part of the problem.

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John Weibel 2 years, 1 month ago

And we wonder why so many are disenfranchised with government today. It does not matter what level, but when playing with others money, many times very poor decisions are made and sometimes crooked ones.

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 1 month ago

The claim that the current police and fire offices are inadequate and need to be replaced is not proven by anything in the staff report. But if new stations are needed then there are other solutions than proposed by city staff.

My out of the box idea would be to encourage Big Agnes to buy the Iron Horse as a new corporate HQ. Presumably the could convert the newer building into acceptable offices and have plenty of room to grow. And how cool would it be for em0loyees to be able to kayak to downtown for lunch or such?

If there really is a need for a new police station then look to make a new station where ever and keep the fire station centrally located in downtown. Staff report does show that moving fire station much west gets too far from too much of the service area. Keeping the existing building as a fire station is much cheaper than building a new one.

Without police sharing the building then the parking lot is not needed and the city can sell the parking lots to become a development. Thus, removing most of the claimed dead zone.

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Harry Thompson 2 years, 1 month ago

Every time the city has entered into the realm of the private sector. With the idea that they somehow know what is better for the private sector than the private sector does, the taxpayers have been handed the bill.

The city in their infinite wisdom want to cherry pick which business should be handed a special deal at the expense of the taxpayers. If anyone of the council or staff owned the police/fire station they would not be willing to sell at a lower than fair market value.

If the city had a vacant building and they had an opportunity to sell it to an upstart company I think it would be a prudent sound decision. To load the city with more debt at this time is total insanity. The fact that they are choosing the most expensive route, shows the city total contempt for the taxpayers of this community.

If they continue down this path, it is time to look at installing a new council and department heads. Our economy is way to fragile to keep making mistakes.

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