Steve Lewis

Steve Lewis 2 months ago on Planning Commission approves 60-unit apartment building downtown

Michael, here is the link to all meeting packets. Click the one for March 10. The packet shows staff analysis and parking deductions explained. As I recall one deduction is because they are near a bus stop.

http://docs.steamboatsprings.net/sirepub/meetresults.aspx

They are going back to planning commission April 14, I believe, and if again successful then on to City Council April 29.

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Steve Lewis 2 months, 1 week ago on Our View: Density key to vibrancy

As I recall, Scott W is right. Howelson Place stayed within the FAR of 2.0. I believe it was right at 2.0 on a 21,000 sq ft lot so that gave it a gross sq ft of about 42,000 sq ft. They likely had the benefit of their gross sq ft not including the lower parking level because it met the code definition of "underground level."

The project at 12th and Lincoln thought they had the same underground exemption for their parking garage, but actually missed the definition of "underground level" by a substantial margin. Sinking the whole building 5-7 feet would regain underground exemptions and get them back to the FAR of 2.67.

Howelson Place may be our largest building downtown, so it seems useful to compare it with this proposed project at 12 and Lincoln.

A) 12th and Lincoln has a lot area of about 24,500 sq ft. They are proposing a building area 3.6 times that, about 88,200 sq ft. 100% more, or twice the mass of Howelson Place.

B) If the lower parking level of 12th and Lincoln could be sunk 5-7 feet and thereby removed from the calculation, as i believe Howelson Place could do, the 12th and Lincoln FAR of 2.67 x 24,500 means they still have 65,400 sq ft above grade compared to Howelson's 42,000 sq ft. That's 55% more mass than Howelson Place.

C) Actual grades and a split level at 12th and Lincoln put us somewhere between A) and B) but closer to A). In terms of visible mass. I'd say 12th and Lincoln will be 80% larger than Howelson Place.

A fair observation - this "new outlook in city government" will come as a BIG surprise to its constituents.

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Steve Lewis 2 months, 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 2 months, 2 weeks 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 2 months, 2 weeks 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 2 months, 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 2 months, 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 2 months, 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 2 months, 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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