Steve Lewis

Steve Lewis 3 months, 3 weeks ago on In light of the ongoing lawsuit, do you think City Council should reconsider its approval of several controversial variances relating to the proposed apartment complex development planned at 1125 Lincoln Ave.?

Yes, its a stupid proposition. City approval of a permit to develop is a binding contract that cannot be rescinded without cause. The Pilot is crafty, good ethics make you look like a project supporter.

"Do you think the City was wrong to approve the building with all of its variances in the first place?"

That poll would be a resounding YES!


Steve Lewis 4 months ago on Our view: The numbers don't lie

I agree. The city should be commended for the sidewalk and lighting projects throughout the downtown. For my dollar, the smartest project the city has done in many years. The choice to use 75% owner assessments over a TIF was important and fair. Our block on Oak St with lighted sidewalks will be a significant improvement for our customers.

Thank you Steamboat. Well done.


Steve Lewis 4 months, 1 week ago on City hiring PR manager to help with outreach, messaging

Sales tax revenue from tourism is usually estimated to be much higher than 20% I think 40% is the lowest number I've seen for the tourism share. We should all know what that % is.

"Promoting government plans....." yeah, I know that makes sense to a new city manager. Actualizing OUR plan, the Steamboat Springs Area plan, we don't hear much about that except planning department's march toward a single element of that plan: Infill. Infill trumps everything. Standing rules are routinely discarded in the name of Infiill. A conversation about Infill and how it bears negatively on downtown character and parking - where is the staff time for that important conversation?

You don't need public relations staff when you are doing what your constituents want done.


Steve Lewis 4 months, 1 week ago on City hiring PR manager to help with outreach, messaging

Some 25 years ago our engineering firm saw a new business in town entering our market. The youngest of us surprised me with her response, "The competition will make us better." She likened it to her days in ski racing and we immediately accepted her logic - we were going to become better at our jobs.

I agree with Scott. Letting the public see city government in full, errors and all, is more painful but it is the road to the highest end. Marketing by government is simply a means to hide what might be done better. Just do your job and understand that more feedback is a good thing for your end product.

Kathi Meyer, you are doing great work. Thank you!


Steve Lewis 4 months, 1 week ago on City Council narrowly approves PR effort for air service program

Yes2Air, in the campaign to pass the original tax subsidy, published the fiscal and performance history of the air program from its inception many years before. It was a valuable document showing the program's benefits and also the challenges of the trends in that data.

That was the last time the public received a full accounting of the air program.

These promises of transparency keep being made, but are never fulfilled.


Steve Lewis 4 months, 3 weeks ago on City Council discusses potential impact of large housing proposal in west Steamboat Springs

The city could consider another approach to the west area - insist on smaller applications. In my view this proposal's 30 years of growth in one bite is a mistake.

When SB700 came forward in 2007, some city planning commissioners would have preferred a smaller annexation. City staff said they had requested SB700 pair down their application to something smaller and were turned down.

For my part, I thought smaller pieces would allow course changes to meet the realities of our future. That seemed a better approach than swallowing 2200 units and a 40 year growth plan in one bite. We later saw the public had a problem with the size of SB700. That debate seemed about confidence in the significant and distant obligations of water and other infrastructure being contracted for.

Economic confidence at that time was epic. But turned with the recession to become a major factor in the rejection of SB700. Economic confidence today suggests we limit our obligations to a shorter term.

Steamboat Springs once had a clear view of where it was headed. The first area plan gave us that. Today we seem to lack a rudder. Would we know a good annexation proposal if we saw it?


Steve Lewis 5 months ago on City planners reviewing several new development projects

Dimensional standards define the future character of a city. Given these no longer apply in Steamboat, the town's future character is anyone's guess. Fortunately Riverview seems to understand character better than our planners, proposing to voluntarily cap their site's densities near current standards.


Steve Lewis 5 months ago on City planners reviewing several new development projects

“Everybody is recalibrating in response to the changed market,” Gibbs said. More true, everyone is recalibrating after the city approval of the huge building variances at 1125 Lincoln.

As 1125 Lincoln went through last Spring, I complained in writing to the city planning director and city council that the 8 variances being supported by staff indicated our codes were obsolete and should be cured a.s.a.p. That they should fix our codes rather than ignore them. The planning director's email response was that the rewrite was due in 2017 and there was no reason to rush, the one or two like 1225 Lincoln "would inform the revisions". Councilor Jason Lacy echoed this attitude in another email.

There are no rules? This is very disappointing and unprofessional city management.


Steve Lewis 5 months, 1 week ago on Letter to the editor: Wrong project, wrong location

Do these signors realize council couldn't reverse this approval even if it wanted to? The owner has been granted the rights to all those variances at this point, and he isn't likely to let go of such a windfall. The extra density itself was an 80% increase in square feet allowed, making his property far more valuable than it was when he bought it. Each of the other variances also added to his land's value.

Something is probably wrong when city planners and council can significantly increase the value of a downtown property. This becomes a definite wrong when they do so by ignoring rules citizens believe should be followed. Unfortunately there will be more of these for this council to approve. Developers know this is the council and this is the planning department to get their variance windfalls vested. The window will close the day one of these is built. Huge on paper in the planning department is one thing. Huge standing in front of everyone on Lincoln is another.


Steve Lewis 5 months, 1 week ago on Our view: Un-Convention-al

I believe this is good for Steamboat. The shift into timeshares is a significant market change and we should expect other properties to consider that. So this is not entirely about losing large conventions. Either event means changes for the Steamboat economy.

Higher occupancy rates help every business trying to run a year round operation. Converting seasonal employees into full time employees will always be a good thing for a community. And who wants to run a restaurant 9 months out of 12? Housing strains are reduced when our seasonal peaks and lulls are smoothed.

I agree with Scott, this is a step toward the free market. It makes us stronger in the long run. Rather than Scott's comparison to communism, I see one business model beating another business model. But it is accurate to say the new model is a step away from "central planning". Time shares involve many more independent buyers in the Sheraton equation than convention packages did.

Packaging conventions usually means packaging travel as well. Time share users solving more diverse travel needs on their own will foster alternative travel strategies beside an airline program destined for future cost challenges. No one knows more about those challenges than the Sheraton, with their longstanding seat in airline negotiations.

City and County tax revenues may take a hit. The LMD airline guarantee program revenues may take a bigger hit. But this is a step toward a more diverse and year round economy in Steamboat.