Steamboat Planning Commission tables changes to public notice

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— The Steamboat Springs Planning Commission on Thursday chose to postpone considering amendments to the rules governing public notice until a proposed website is ready to review.

In response to criticism about property owners not getting adequate notice of nearby projects, Planning Department staff proposed changes to the process for public notice.

A work session was held in September, and staff received feedback from the public and Planning Commission members on the proposed changes.

On Thursday, Planning Department staff presented updated changes that took into account that feedback.

The revised proposal retained the notification of every property owner in a multifamily building and new Web pages that will provide a map and a list of current projects in the city.

In contrast to the original proposal, public notice in the newspaper will be retained for project types where it was previously required.

Another proposed change is to remove notice for complete applications and instead only post or mail notifications when a public hearing is scheduled for a project.

Notice would be required to be sent two weeks before the hearing.

“Our concern with notice of complete application is the proposal may change or evolve between notice and the hearing due to staff input,” Planning Department Director Tyler Gibbs said Thursday.

Planning Commission members voted in favor of tabling the proposed amendments until after they've had a chance to evaluate the proposed new website.

“I would like to move forward with this list of requirements based on a robust website,” Planning Commission member Rich Levy said about the requirements for mailed notice.

Planning Commission members said they’d like to reconsider the information required to be included in letters mailed to nearby property owners once the commission has evaluated the website.

Planning Department staff said that it might be two more months before the website is up and running.

Planning Commission member Brian Hanlen said that the website has to work properly, and it would need to be revisited until it does.

The requirements for notice published in a newspaper would be reconsidered in the future after residents have had a change to adjust to finding information online and the website performance has been evaluated.

In response to questions about how quickly to phase out newspaper notices, Planning Commission member Troy Brookshire said that the purpose of government in this instance is to notify as many people as possible as much as possible.

In terms of the general public’s confidence in the website, Gibbs said, it’s going to take some time before the conversation about reducing other types of notice can begin.

The Planning Commission will again consider the changes at its second meeting in January.

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206, email mschrantz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @MLSchrantz

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