Project renews urban boundary discussion in Steamboat
West View Center would necessitate zoning change and include commercial activity
March 31, 2010
Steamboat Springs — The Routt County Board of Commissioners is expected to give a preliminary review April 13 to West View Center, a proposal to build a commercial building, gas pumps and seven townhomes on the south side of U.S. Highway 40 between the Heritage Park soccer fields and Steamboat Golf Club.
The site is significant because it is in the southwest corner of the urban growth boundary west of the Steamboat Springs city limits. It's also immediately opposite the proposed highway entrance to the contemplated 360 Village residential development, which would require annexation and has been put on hold.
Records on file with the county assessor show that Steamboat developers Brian and Lisa Olson purchased the property from local Realtor David Lacey in May 2007 and subsequently transferred ownership to Golf House, LLC.
The proposal seeks to rezone the land from ag/forestry to medium-density residential and would require approval of a special use permit for the commercial activity, Routt County Planner Rebecca Bessey said. It also would require subdividing the property into two parcels. At this stage, it is in the pre-application process, intended for public officials to give feedback to the developers and identify issues that need to be resolved. No vote will be taken at the April 13 hearing.
Bessey said the proposal also raises policy questions related to two community plans that encourage annexation of proposed developments within the urban growth boundary.
"The proposed commercial and multiple-family residential project can be described as an urban-type development," Bessey wrote in a report to the commissioners. "Policies in the West of Steamboat Springs Area Plan and Steamboat Springs Community Area Plan suggest that developments such as West View Center would require annexation to the city."
Bessey added that the WSSAP discourages new commercial development along U.S. 40, favoring clusters of compact development set back from the road in order to preserve a scenic corridor along the highway. The conceptual plan for West View Center shows automobile-oriented commercial uses set close to the highway, she said.
Steamboat Springs City Planner Jason Peasley said his department has reviewed Bessey's report regarding the guidelines in the community plans.
"She highlights the issues quite well," Peasley said. "The community plan says you need to develop at urban density and you need to be annexed, assuming annexation criteria can be met."
Peasley acknowledged that the community plan is a non-binding agreement. However, he said to disregard it could represent a sea change in regional growth management policy.
"It's a global issue," he said.
Olson and his consultant, Matthew Wagar, of Moon Hill Design, were unavailable for comment Tuesday afternoon.
Bessey said she also has concerns about West View's pairing in close proximity of an automobile-based commercial activity with a residential neighborhood that shares an access drive.
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