Walgreens project approved by city council
Developer has go-ahead to move forward; public turns out in support of store
February 1, 2011
Casey’s Pond zoning gets initial OK
Steamboat Springs City Council unanimously approved Tuesday the first reading of a zoning change for the 5.52-acre site of Casey’s Pond subdivision. Casey’s Pond Senior Living has proposed to build a senior citizens residential complex on the site near Walton Creek Road and U.S. Highway 40. A second reading of the zoning change, to multi-family high density, is scheduled for Feb. 15.
Steamboat Springs — A big construction job is coming to the corner of U.S. Highway 40 and Pine Grove Road.
The Steamboat Springs City Council gave final approval Tuesday night to a proposed Walgreens store at the intersection, clearing the way for developers to move forward and overturning last week's vote against the project by the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission. City Council voted, 6-1, in favor of the Walgreens project, with Councilwoman Meg Bentley opposing. Bentley objected to the building's orientation and cited its potential impact on local businesses, such as Lyon Drug Store downtown.
In supporting the project, other council members cited its potential boost to the local economy and efforts by developers and architects to work through a contentious city planning process.
Like the Planning Commission, city planning staff also had recommended denial of the project. Staff cited variances to city codes largely created by the building's orientation, which includes a loading area that will face U.S. 40.
City Council's approval Tuesday is contingent on eight conditions, including additional landscaping to mitigate visual impacts. Steamboat developer Brian Olson said he'll be able to meet the conditions.
"I think the process led to a better project," said Tyler Gibbs, director of the city's Planning and Community Development Department. "I think the applicant certainly brought a lot of quality to the project in response to the code."
Lyon Drug co-owners Wendy Lyon and Tahnee Miller were the only members of the public Tuesday to speak against the Walgreens proposal, which otherwise drew significant public support in Centennial Hall.
"I would encourage you to send the message that Steamboat is still open for business," Ed MacArthur, of Native Excavating, said to City Council.
Olson shook numerous hands and got several slaps on the back after the vote, which capped an 18-month planning process and an even longer process for the site itself — a different development team unsuccessfully tried to earn approval for a Walgreens store at the intersection in 2005.
Olson said his contract with Walgreens, which will lease the building, stipulates that it be open and ready for business by Oct. 31. Olson said that date could be pushed back, but he plans to immediately begin the permit process and break ground as soon as possible. Local subcontractors are expected to be used for the project.
Asked whether it's feasible to open the Walgreens by Halloween, he broke into a smile.
"We'll see," Olson said. "We're excited to get in the ground and get some work going."
— To reach Mike Lawrence, call 970-871-4233 or e-mail mlawrence@SteamboatToday.com