Steve Lewis

Steve Lewis 3 months ago on Steven Hofman: Fair and square in Colorado

Steven Hofman/For Steamboat Today

For Steamboat Today? The bulk of the letter is a Republican explaining state process to Republicans. But some of the letter attacks a political candidate. I am surprised the Pilot could sponsor such a letter.

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Steve Lewis 3 months, 1 week ago on Chuck McConnell: Purposeful job destruction

I understand Scott's post. A long term contract to sell at price x is a suitable reference for establishing commodity pricing. Carl makes the point about nighttime energy need, but that doesn't appear to be an argument for avoiding renewables - he seems mainly to be acknowledging the role fossil fuels still play.

I use as much gasoline as the next guy, but consider it far more expensive than the price at the pump. Many years ago George Tolles hosted a fascinating discussion of global affairs each year. Irony, this is actually where I met Carl :) I believe George's career at one time was with the State Department. George once us showed a map of US military bases in the Middle East that closely mirrored the network of pipelines bringing oil out of the region. The cost of a barrel of oil largely ignores the expense of securing it.

Osama Bin Laden was clear in stating his fight with the US stemmed from the presence of US troops in what his people consider holy land. The cost of a barrel of oil largely ignores the enemies it brings us and the added cost of homeland security.

Oil is far more subsidized than renewables. Coal has a different set of significant negatives.

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Steve Lewis 3 months, 1 week ago on Chuck McConnell: Purposeful job destruction

The blog conversation above is interesting, but narrow. Carbon's environmental, security, and geopolitical costs are hard to quantify but certainly very large. Many climate costs are unknowable until after the fact - the Syrian uprising was precipitated by the worst local drought in their history.

Chuck takes an equally narrow view of carbon, attributing all US coal action to two people, Obama and Hillary. The science comes from politicians? What I enjoy about Chuck's writing is knowing every high school student understands what he left out.

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Steve Lewis 3 months, 1 week ago on Chuck McConnell: Purposeful job destruction

Carl, your reference was dated November 2012. Global politics have turned in more recent years to agreements increasingly supportive of CO2 reductions. China is engaged in that trend. Global energy has also changed significantly since 2012 with lower oil prices than anyone could foresee. This latter event may extend several years as Iran returns to the market.

Do you have more recent information?

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Steve Lewis 3 months, 2 weeks ago on Our View: Density key to vibrancy

I need to clarify my comments above, which refer to the Howelsen Place building on the corner of Lincoln Avenue and 7th St. The Howelsen Place development includes a second building on the corner of 7th St and Yampa. These two buildings are separated by an alley, but readers may believe my math was for both Howelsen buildings. It is not and I should have made this more clear. I'm comparing a single building on Lincoln Ave to a proposed single building on Lincoln Ave.

The Lincoln Ave HP building has a FAR of 2.0, gross sq ft of 42,124, on a 21,053 sq ft parcel. But the Yampa Ave HP building has a FAR of 2.25, gross sq ft of 41,915 on an 18,599 sq ft parcel. So I cannot say "Howelsen Place stayed within the FAR if 2.0"

These errors were pointed out to me by the developer's team.

We'll have a continuing discussion of the mass comparison with the Howelsen Place building on Lincoln Ave. In my view the mass seen from Lincoln Ave matters the most in downtown character. My "80% larger" is too much. I had thought the "underground" math was offset because Howelsen Place minimized story heights, but the sections I reviewed today show Howelsen Place has similar scale in story heights. Upper level setbacks make a difference in the effect of building mass and Howelsen does this well. It also looks like 1125 Lincoln has pulled back some of the upper level exterior on Lincoln in this latest submittal. The submittal shows a FAR of 3.44 and 86,050 gross sq ft.

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Steve Lewis 3 months, 4 weeks 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 4 months 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 4 months 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 4 months, 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 4 months, 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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