Steamboat Springs The owners of the Hahn’s Peak Roadhouse won a chance Tuesday to demonstrate they can host live music without disturbing their neighbors.
The Routt County Board of Commissioners agreed to bring Darren and Carroll Zamzow back Oct. 23 to provide their thoughts on measures they would take to better manage the noise impacts in the short term of the live music events they host while working toward a more permanent solution.
Their multifaceted business — including a store, restaurant and all-terrain vehicle rides — operates under a seldom-used county permit called a planned unit development, or PUD.
“In my opinion, PUDs in general are a way to give some flexibility so that developments or businesses can do something a little different or unusual under the zoning regulations,” Commissioner Diane Mitsch Bush said.
Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak initially took a hard line, insisting that the Zamzows would have to go through a full public hearing process in order to amend their permit and resume hosting live bands and open mic nights.
“I reviewed the PUD,” Stahoviak said. “It is very specific and lists a commercial structure, groceries, a restaurant with a kitchen and food service area, a liquor store and retail with gifts, sporting goods and sundries. The allowance of music is not covered under this PUD. There needs to be a process to amend this PUD.”
All of the commissioners agreed that the question before them was not whether live music at the Roadhouse was a good or a bad idea but what the Zamzows’ permit would allow.
Commission Chairman Doug Monger said he felt there was a way to allow the Zamzows to continue offering music during the busy holiday season ahead while working toward modifying their permit sometime in 2013.
I think we can “move forward with some predictability in the short term and the make some changes in the long term,” Monger told the Zamzows.
He asked them to return with a list of measures they would take with regard to managing the number of events they host and the time frames they would live by in the interim. Routt County Planning Department staff would study their proposed plan and make a report in time for the public to be notified in advance of next week’s meeting.
Stahoviak said she would go along with that plan but insisted that the temporary rules be drafted as a resolution and be attached to the existing PUD.
“I’m not opposed to a temporary proposal that would provide solutions for the community,” before the permit is amended, Stahoviak said.
The Hahn’s Peak Roadhouse is situated near Steamboat Lake State Park about 25 miles northeast of Steamboat Springs. In addition to the restaurant/bar, the Zamzows rent guest cabins and provide the only gasoline pumps in North Routt.
Darren Zamzow told the commissioners that other businesses have come and gone in North Routt because it is so tough to make it there. Since suspending live music Sept. 23, with the exception of a private party, his receipts Friday and Saturday nights are off about 40 percent, he said, and his bartenders’ tips are down about 60 percent.
“We dug deep with this business to make it work,” Zamzow said. “It takes everything we do to make it work. The numbers are so tight.”
More than 20 people attended the informal meeting and several spoke in favor of the Roadhouse.
Kris Lindahl, who has worked for the Zamzows, said the Roadhouse has become a community institution in North Routt within a short time.
“They are a huge asset to our community,” Lindahl said. “They donated all the food for our charter school barbecue. That’s community. It’s the best thing that’s happened up there in years. Just because a few people are complaining, you can’t stop a business.”
Bob Newton has lived about four-tenths of a mile away from the Roadhouse (previously Steamboat Lake Outfitters) for many years. He said noise from the live music has disturbed his guests and forced them to close their windows on mild summer nights. He reminded the commissioners that the Roadhouse operates in a residential neighborhood and that all businesses must live by rules.
“What impact does (loud music) have on people who live in Willow Creek and Columbine (more than five miles away)? I don’t know,” Newton said. “We do know how it affects the neighbors. There’s got to be more consideration of the impacts on nearby residences. If there is further consideration to changing this, we would hope it would be done in a proper hearing.”
To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com