Steve Lewis

Steve Lewis 1 month, 1 week ago on Our View: Density key to vibrancy

The Pilot editorial fails to mention two other variances - the project requires a variance to exceed maximum lot size and another variance to exceed maximum lot width.

The planning department also got it wrong. FAR (floor area ratio= gross square feet / lot area) is a critical and meaningful number on large buildings. Max FAR in our code is 2.0. The FAR of 2.67 given for this project was wrong but accepted by city planners. Planning commission approved the project, including this 2.67 FAR. The FAR is actually 3.6. That means the project must go back before planning commission.

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Steve Lewis 1 month, 1 week ago on Planning Commission approves 60-unit apartment building downtown

It is a fundamental misunderstanding of resort town boom-bust cycles to believe that regulation causes the housing problem. In the theoretical world of elastic markets where costs, margins, and price are closely aligned, yes regulatory costs will be a significant factor. Not so in an inelastic market where demand does not go down as prices rise. Boom and bust real estate cycles in resort towns are the inelastic case. Far more housing units are sold in the booms, for prices having little to do with cost-to-build. Their price is defined by folks from Houston or Chicago with incomes to bid prices still higher.

Of course these cycles are the fundamental challenge to providing affordable housing. Landowners and developers naturally wait for boom cycle demand to bring new product. Few are interested in the lower profit margins and lower demand outside the boom markets.

As an aside, if regulation is not the problem, regulation is not likely to be the answer. I used to believe otherwise, also a fundamental misunderstanding.

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Steve Lewis 1 month, 1 week ago on Planning Commission approves 60-unit apartment building downtown

The 1.5 parking spaces per unit (under 2,000 sqft) does apply here. There are deductions allowed that bring it to 76 spaces required.

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Steve Lewis 1 month, 2 weeks ago on Planning Commission approves 60-unit apartment building downtown

When government rules at the city level are not what they seem or pretend to be, yes there is a problem of authority. Local rules should make better sense.

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Steve Lewis 1 month, 2 weeks ago on Planning Commission approves 60-unit apartment building downtown

I agree I may have picked the wrong hour. It was a guess as I spoke with city staff. More useful would be the June 21 shading at 6, 7, and 8. Perhaps there is no issue and these would show as much. Still, when you are building outside the accepted limits of lot size, Use, building mass, and height, you should make the effort to answer people's questions.

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Steve Lewis 1 month, 2 weeks ago on Planning Commission approves 60-unit apartment building downtown

The link to planning packet changed. And apparently is still changing. The one I just opened will not refresh, instead I get page not found?

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Steve Lewis 1 month, 2 weeks ago on Planning Commission approves 60-unit apartment building downtown

The link to planning packet changed. And apparently is still changing. Huh. The link I just opened will not reopen, instead I get page not found?

It is an interesting packet. I've asked the City to show the building shadows fully, rather than partially. Not sure why showing half of the building shadow would have any value. Very disappointed the planning commission accepted this.

I also asked for the shading at 8pm on June 21. Staff said this is shade timing not required. The 4pm is required. Geez, sunset is 5 hours later. Why bother with 4pm on June 21? If they honor my request, they will see that during the weeks before and after the June 21 Solstice date, most of Lincoln Avenue will find its summer sunset is eclipsed by this building.

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Steve Lewis 1 month, 2 weeks ago on Planning Commission approves 60-unit apartment building downtown

http://docs.steamboatsprings.net/sirepub/cache/2/t4pk3pklxz3fb40mew3luocv/19344103142016045302263.PDF

There are 8 variances, from these code standards:

Maximum lot size

Maximum lot width

Commercial uses required on the pedestrian level of commercial district

Building height. 39' allowed. 51' requested

15' extra setback for heights above 28'. Zero setback requested

Rear setback. 10' required. Zero setback requested.

Off street loading space required. Request no off street loading space.

Floor Area ratio (floor area to lot area) 2.0 max required. 3.6 Requested. Or 2.69. Depends on if you are reading the applicant's letter (link below) or the staff packet (link above).

http://maps.steamboatsprings.net/planning/currentprojects/Docs/PP-15-06_Project_Description.pdf

The bulk of the variances are attributed to the hardships of meeting parking requirements and downtown has a shallow water table. From staff packet:

"The CDC’s standards for the CO zone district does not seem to adequately address the competing interests it creates between its development standards for height, FAR, and setback and its requirements to fully park the vibrant mixed use buildings it envisions. In this particular case the applicant is meeting the parking requirements, and is doing so within the building, which is pushing the income generating portions to higher levels within the building and into required setbacks."

"the subject site contains a high water table which negatively impacts the applicant’s ability to provide the required parking underground. Due to the water table issues, the applicant is not able to utilize the entire lot area with their lowest level nor is the able to push this level further into the ground. This drives the income generating levels of the project upward. If the applicant was able provide the two lowest levels underground then the project, as proposed, would come in under the maximum allowable FAR. This is a significant environmental factor that is contributing to the above ground size of the building and the need to request relief to the FAR maximums."

Finally, the article is incorrect. This will go before City Council April 5.

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