Sweetwood owner withdraws request | SteamboatToday.com

Sweetwood owner withdraws request

After delays, ranch owner Ryan Wood cancels application

— Routt County planner Jake Rosenberg confirmed Thursday that Sweetwood Ranch owner Ryan Wood has withdrawn his application for a special-use permit that would allow him to operate a bed and breakfast on his ranch about five miles from Steamboat Springs on the lower Elk River.

The Routt County Board of Commissioners voted to table Wood's application April 26, noting that his plans to host special events on expanded facilities at the ranch did not fit within the definition of a guest ranch in county regulations.

Rosenberg said Wood emailed his withdrawal to the county Monday but did not include any comments or explanation. Wood did not respond to phone messages Thursday.

Rosenberg said he expected the commissioners to place the withdrawal of Wood's application on their consent agenda to formally acknowledge it.

Wood's plans had been the subject of three public hearings since the first of the year, each lasting three hours or more. Their length was partly because of extensive public comment in favor of and opposed to his plans.

Although Wood has withdrawn Sweetwood from the public process, the commissioners soon may revisit county regulations and decide whether new provisions could be adopted to broaden the range of permissible recreation and educational activities on rural properties in the county.

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In an email to the newspaper this week that was not written specifically as a response to Wood's withdrawal, Board of Commissioners Chairwoman Diane Mitsch Bush said that on Monday, she and her fellow commissioners directed planning staff to begin a full review of existing special-use permits operating in the county to make the county process more efficient and to explore whether there are new regulations they could consider adopting to allow for new enterprises tapping into farm-to-table and local food trends.

"Since April 26, our staff has been researching what several California counties such as Napa and Sonoma, Yakima County, Wash., and Mesa County require for onsite tastings, tours and dinners," Mitsch Bush wrote. "It is important to learn what other jurisdictions are doing in a proactive way."

Wood had explained to the commissioners his desire to host dinners and gatherings featuring the natural beef raised at Sweetwood by comparing them to winemakers' dinners hosted at vineyards in wine country.

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