Proposed Steamboat residential subdivision requests variances along with plat |

Proposed Steamboat residential subdivision requests variances along with plat

Michael Schrantz

The Steamboat Springs Planning Commission on Thursday considered a preliminary plat and zoning changes for a proposed 93-lot Sunlight Subdivision near the Steamboat Springs Cemetery.

— The Sunlight Subdivision has been in the works since 2006. It has been through six submittals to city of Steamboat Springs staff, multiple road plan revisions and the idea weathered the recession.

On Thursday, Tom Fox and his partners stood before the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission seeking a preliminary plat and the zoning changes necessary to make the 93-lot subdivision work.

"When I came here, I bought my first lot for $16,000 and another was $24,000," Fox said.

Sunlight has been designed by BDNM LLC partnership as lots for working families where attainable homes can be built.

"We're all blue-collar workers here," Fox said about the group. "There's a shortage (of attainable housing). There's a real shortage”

The proposed subdivision would be located near the Steamboat Springs Cemetery and initially be accessed by Indian Trail with a new road being constructed for later phases.

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Zoning changes requested along with the plat would provide for additional density than what is currently designated. The core of the subdivision takes advantage of higher-density RN-4 zoning recently developed by city staff with some duplex and single-family lots designated as RN-3 filing out the later phases. The RN-4 zoning is the smallest single-family home zoning available in the city, and this would be the first development to utilize it.

The preliminary plat application requests two significant variances from current city code: a skyline waiver for certain lots and an extended vesting period beyond what's allowed in city code.

Steamboat's skyline code states that new developments be designed so they not protrude into the skyline from public vantage points, which are Elk River Road and U.S. Highway 40 in this instance. The plat seeks relief from that restriction for 11 lots.

Fox said during Thursday's meeting that it would be a matter of feet above the skyline to allow for development on certain lots. During the meeting, it was discussed that elevation limits would be set for maximum roof heights.

Fox’s group is requesting 10 years of vesting with an additional five years by administrative approval. City staff is recommending five years with an additional five years by administrative approval.

On Thursday, city staff confirmed that as part of its recommendation, any changes to community housing requirements in the meantime would go into effect with an administrative extension of vesting.

Fox said that 10 years is being requested so that his group can plan for what is a complicated project being started while the market for land has not fully returned. He also said he plans to request community housing plan relief for the project from the Steamboat Springs City Council.

"We believe vesting is part of projects failing sometimes," Fox said during the meeting. "We really can’t afford to have the rules change five years from now."

The preliminary plat was approved by the Planning Commission, 4-2, with a condition that the vesting be for six years with an additional four years by administrative approval, which all would be exempt from future community housing rules.

"We're not your big developers," Fox said. "We have two retired school teachers. This is not all about profit. … We don't want to raise the price. We want to make this work."

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206 or email

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