Steamboat Planning Commission debates ‘promise’ to community
May 22, 2014
Steamboat Springs — On Thursday evening, the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission heard items for two projects, both of which were approved, though with varying degrees of support.
The first two items on the agenda were for part of the remaining undeveloped area of Wildhorse Meadows. A preliminary plat was to split the parcel into two lots: one for a office building with a restaurant on the ground floor and the other for future development.
The tenant for the office building is investment management firm Deer Park Road Corp.
A final development plan was next for the four-story building that is planned for the area across from Trailhead Lodge and the Wildhorse Meadows gondola.
Deer Park Road Corp. CEO Michael Craig-Scheckman said the plans for the building came out of the company's growth and desire to have an office near Steamboat Ski Area.
"Our business is money management, but one of the things that we do in managing money is we have investors from all over the world, and we sell Steamboat," he said. "We wanted to build a building where we could showcase the best of Steamboat, the best of Colorado."
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Member of the Planning Commission raised questions about the parking provided and the pitch of the building roofs, but both conformed to city's community development code.
The preliminary plat and final development plan each passed unanimously.
The next agenda items proved more divisive, as Planning Commission members Rich Levy and Kathi Meyer opposed the zoning change and development plan for part of the Majestic Valley subdivision in the southern end of Steamboat.
Majestic Valley went through the city's previous planned unit development process in 2005.
In the old PUD process, variances or mixed uses that might not otherwise fit in a single zone district were allowed in return for concessions from the developer.
"It was purely horse trading," Levy said about the process.
Majestic Valley's old PUD allowed for duplexes to be built while also designating a 1.85-acre lot as a "commercial expansion parcel."
Through the zoning change and development plan, the project's developer, Chuck Dunagin, is seeking to develop duplexes on the lot previously designated for commercial use.
Levy and Meyer said the original PUD likely would not have been approved without the expectation that the commercial building would be constructed to fulfill the mixed-use vision of the area.
"Everything was based on that commercial," Levy said. "There was nothing special about those duplexes."
Without the commercial building, Levy said, the project has not completed what was laid out in the PUD.
Other members of the commission noted that the alternative was to try to force the developer to build a commercial building that might not be economically viable.
"I just feel like a promise is being broken to the community," Levy said.
"This has been a bit of a community bait and switch," Meyer said. "And next time, if someone brings in a multi-use, we better have a better answer for what to do if it stalls halfway through the project."