Steve Lewis

Steve Lewis 4 days, 7 hours ago on New committee will tackle housing issues in Routt County

Clearly the advocates for housing are the business community, not the tenants of affordable housing. Eventually we will hear a community advocacy of the issue as well, basically fighting the hollowing effects of wealth and gentrification. Its not a new conversation. Not new terrain.

We do know now that affordable housing regulation or subsidy for the barely needy will struggle, because it is too close to free market competition. Subsidy and regulation for the very needy is actually more likely to deliver demonstrable benefit. The free market was useless against unaffordable housing during previous booms, but delivered during the busts for those who saved. Of course its an imperfect solution, adding workforce housing is useless to business during a bust. During the bust one could argue housing subsidies may increase unemployment and depress wages further.

Good luck to the committee. You would be wise to ask these business voices for their long term support, even through the next bust. In 2009 the housing policies of 2007 couldn't be torn down or reversed fast enough. Largely at the behest of the business community. Expect some of them to later say they were fleeced.

Others have made an important point. We've built an economic roller coaster. This town is built for boom and bust. Speculative construction was our dominant industry and will soon be again. The codes are changed and not even close to the constraint they used to be. We are also built for seasonal highs and shoulder season lows. We'll tax ourselves to fly in more skiers.

Perhaps we could accept lesser highs in exchange for healthier lows?

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Steve Lewis 1 week, 1 day ago on City, county threatened with Bantle lawsuit

The settlement should be paid, and now. If not, it should be on the meeting agendas of the city and the county so the public can speak its mind.

Kristin was tried for the matter of her drug use statements and found not guilty. Very disappointed after that jury verdict to hear our D.A. continue to malign Kristin's character. Trying to imagine who locally has exhibited more courage and ethic than she has. And this at the same time as she was being attacked and maligned by County and City officials.

Pay the settlement and let's move on.

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Steve Lewis 2 weeks, 1 day ago on Allen Hischke: Clear snow off roofs

The design snow load in Steamboat Springs is 75 psf. Up to 90 psf at ski base. Generally anything built since 1980 has more review and should be good up to that. The rub is there are smaller issues to consider such as: ice damns and hanging ice can affect the roof's ability to perform and structures will see some settlement short of failure (think imperfect stud lengths or less than square wood joints) that causes cracking in wall finishes.

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Steve Lewis 3 weeks ago on Proposed 58-unit rental complex downtown asks for exceptions to building code

"If they wouldn't be willing to make this the new standard for downtown building sizes then there is no way they should approve this project."

Completely agree. The city, the planners, and the community should be on the same page.

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Steve Lewis 3 weeks ago on Proposed 58-unit rental complex downtown asks for exceptions to building code

Happened to see council packet of Jan 5 with project approved that night for corner of Yampa and 6th St. It came with 5 variances. And unanimous approval. The logic seems to be a new rule of thumb - parking requirements equal hardship.

In the 3 years I sat on planning commission, 90% of public feedback I got outside of actual hearings and on the street dealt with 2 projects: Alpenglow and Howelson Place, both on Lincoln. 100% of that feedback was some unhappy version of, "how could I have voted yes for those huge buildings?"

Beg to differ with the argument that 4x the allowed sq ft amounts is the only way one can afford to build. The 6th and Yampa project just approved also has underground parking and does so with maybe 1.2x the allowed sq ft.

I appreciate this project is being previewed to the community in advance. Thank you Pilot. More pictures are worth a thousand words, of course. The Pilot should show us submittal renderings, particularly the 38 ft tall wall on Lincoln. Also the size of a building 4x the code FAR (floor area ratio) as it appears next to adjacent buildings.

Maybe this new size is what infill is all about, but it is also something no one has seen before. The city should be sure that people have ample and easy opportunity to see and discuss this infill size and its affect on the downtown character, before it is approved.

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Steve Lewis 3 weeks, 2 days ago on Former cops respond to new investigation summary

Credit is due to those who caused this report to actually happen. Never will understand that 4-3 council vote to deny this report, but I'm still grateful to the 3, Kathi, Jason, and Scott Ford, for their ethic displayed that night. Trust found a toehold there.

My mind keeps returning to Kristin's experience. The courage and personal cost required of her to see this through is something I won't soon forget. It was Kristin's duty to protect me. I can't get over the fact that my City couldn't, or wouldn't, protect her when she needed help. This is my home - I will continue to feel like I let her down.

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Steve Lewis 3 weeks, 2 days ago on Benjamin Cole: Take care of us 1st

Benjamin, you describe the reach of your humanity eloquently, "I absolutely, and to my core, despise my family member who has done so many wrong things to my parents, their son, etc., but if they truly needed me in a time of such severe desperation to where they reached out to me, of all people, I would be there, as fast as humanly possible."

Well put. That is kind. Many extend the same kind of humanity beyond family and friends - to help strangers. That is a good thing too.

There is a now famous true story about a wounded and lost Special Forces soldier in Afghanistan who was given aid by a native family there. They did so knowingly exposing their family to great risk of Taliban reprisal, but they were also bound to honor long standing cultural mandates of responsibility to others in need.

Perhaps we have that same mandate, it depends on who you ask.

Kindness is powerful. Hard sometimes to understand it, but it does represent the best in us when we can manage it.

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Steve Lewis 3 weeks, 5 days ago on Our View: The times, they are a changing

Scott, yes it is odd that Stagecoach lots have to be grouped together into a larger parcel to be buildable. We once thought Catamount would become almost another Steamboat with the Catamount ski area proposal. They projected a population of 5,000? at Catamount. I believe the County allowed the subdividing out there with an eye to Catamount and other ski area expansions occurring at the time. They expected Stagecoach's developers would expand their existing ski slopes into another success, and the sewer/etc infrastructure would be built on Stagecoach property taxes. So back then, the county was in the density business, and maybe with good reason.

What to do today? Its hard to imagine county funds are there for Stagecoach infrastructure, so partnering with private development seems one answer, much as we tried to partner with SB700. Lesson would be to go smaller pieces, but at some point upgrading the road North to Hwy 40 will be a very big cost.

If the answer to the infrastructure is partnering, the county could wait for someone to come to them with all the answers, or the county could take this dated master plan as an opportunity to lay out what works for the county and for its constituents. The answers on other questions like county rentals could be formed with county resident's input - if they show up.

Truly sad to see the last area plan update go so poorly attended. In the 90's the first area plan public input meetings were always crowded. Perhaps part of the attraction was the choices we were making. Back then the City was asking "how much do you want to grow" and gave 3 choices from "a lot" to "a little". This last update was very different, saying we are going grow X amount and only asked, "where do you want the condos?" I took the time to attend and didn't really care where they put the condos. I also thought the update got minimal press and staffing.

I expect the rental and Stagecoach question would bring many people to the table for this county master plan. Hope they do update it. Seems wise to move forward in coherent fashion following a renewed vision.

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Steve Lewis 3 weeks, 6 days ago on Our View: The times, they are a changing

One can understand the Planning Commission's reluctance to update the County Master Plan. The 2014 effort to update the Area Plan, a combined effort of County and City, was not a success. It was largely ignored by constituents of both the city and the county. The result - there is no 12014 Area Plan update.

Interesting to read the County has been moving to bind development to the criteria of the County Master Plan. The City, on the other hand, has been revising City Codes to release development from the criteria of the Area Plan, which is the City's master plan.

Thus the County has codified both an implied and a lawful need to keep it's Master Plan more current. And the City has codified less reliance on the Area Plan, and less need to keep it current.

Which is better government?

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Steve Lewis 1 month ago on Legal debate over planning document complicates annexation of subdivision near Old Town

Thank you Council for choosing diligence. A good step toward rebuilding trust.

Agree with the above comments. Keep in mind these detachments from the Area Plan the City has adopted or allowed :

1) In the past 4 years, the Community Development Code (CDC) has been significantly revised toward flexible criteria for development. One such CDC revision was across the whole and specific in intent - replacing "project shall adhere to the Area Plan in this regard" with "project should consider Area Plan in this regard."

2) The 2014 effort to update the Area Plan was so poorly attended, the City has formally acknowledged the update was not statistically meaningful. The Pilot, the City, and the County showed far less interest than they gave the 2004 update and the original 1994 plan (formally adopted in 1995). ("It also has been updated since it was first adopted in 2004." is not correct.)

Given this history, the Area Plan carries uncertain, if not abandoned, criteria. Community members are right to ask this parcel's criteria and zoning be in place before the annexation. There has to be public involvement and that requires specific details. Its the same reason we spent a year vetting parameters for SB700.

Along the same thought, earlier that night Tony Connell asked staff to establish the parking spaces needed to serve a built-out downtown. That foresight is wise.

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