Steamboat Springs A plan to build a new mobile home park in west Steamboat was stopped Tuesday night by the Steamboat Springs City Council.
After hearing from community members who strongly supported and opposed the project, the council voted, 4-2, to deny the Williams Family Partnership's appeal to rezone land near Copper Ridge Circle to allow the park.
The partnership, which owns the West Acres Mobile Home Park, was planning to develop a smaller park on the 5.5-acre property and was optimistic the park could include about 27 lots and offer rents at an estimated average of $530.
In denying the request, four council members said the proposed site for the park, which is not zoned to allow mobile homes, would not be a suitable location.
“On this piece of property, I can't see the comparability of it,” Councilman Kevin Kaminski said. “I support the project, but I can't support it going into this particular area.”
Partnership spokesman Charley Williams was hoping the council would overturn the unanimous decision of the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission to not rezone the land nor amend the city's Future Land-Use Map to allow the park at the space.
In a lengthy presentation to the council, Williams stressed the project's potential to provide affordable housing in the community.
But the city's Future Land-Use Map calls for the property to be used for industrial purposes.
In denying the move before the appeal was heard by council, Planning Commission members cited a number of concerns they had about residential uses on the property. The concerns included wetlands on the property, its proximity to industrial parks, the absence of a transit line, and its topography, among other things.
Councilwoman Cari Hermacinski said despite those concerns, she supported the project and said it offered a “private-sector solution” to adding more affordable housing in the city.
In their report, the city's planning staff did not offer a recommendation on changing the Future Land-Use Map to allow the park and instead recommended the council and city staff have a larger conversation about where mobile home parks should be allowed in the future.
“There is no clear direction in the code or the (Steamboat Springs Area Community Plan) that provide guidance for how to process a new mobile home park or where that use should be located,” planning staff wrote in a memo to the council. “Therefore, staff did not provide a recommendation to Planning Commission about the project, deciding that a discussion on mobile home parks should be a broader policy discussion.”
The council said Tuesday that it was open to having that conversation.
Councilwoman Sonja Macys joined Hermacinski in not voting to deny the appeal. Macys pointed out the plan wasn't voted on by all members of the Planning Commission and wanted the group to talk about the proposal further.
Williams said Wednesday that he would continue to look for another site, but he wasn't hopeful another mobile home park will be built in the city in the wake of the council's decision.
"I've been looking for 15 years for a property, and there probably won't be another mobile home park in Steamboat now unless land prices go down to almost nothing," he said.
He added he felt Hermacinski was the only council member who understood the value of adding another mobile home park to Steamboat.
According to data provided by Williams, there are six mobile home parks in the city, most of which are fully occupied. The largest is West Acres, with 92 units, and the smallest is White Haven, with about 25 units.
To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com