Council to critique proposal | SteamboatToday.com

Council to critique proposal

Less commercial space at Ski Time Square a concern

Brandon Gee

Steamboat Springs — Steamboat Springs City Council members will tell developers today what they think of a proposed redevelopment that would replace Ski Time Square and Thunderhead Lodge with more than 1 million square feet of new development. The current properties total 234,449 square feet. — Steamboat Springs City Council members will tell developers today what they think of a proposed redevelopment that would replace Ski Time Square and Thunderhead Lodge with more than 1 million square feet of new development. The current properties total 234,449 square feet.

— Steamboat Springs City Council members will tell developers today what they think of a proposed redevelopment that would replace Ski Time Square and Thunderhead Lodge with more than 1 million square feet of new development. The current properties total 234,449 square feet.

The Atira Group, acting in partnership with Cafritz Interests of Washington, D.C., presented its pre-application for the transformation of the properties at a previous City Council meeting, and they return tonight to get feedback from City Council.

Mark Matthews, a vice president of development with Atira, said the pre-application process would allow him to gauge what the “hot-button issues” are before moving on to the more formal stages of the planning process.

There were plenty of hot-button issues when the proposal was put before the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission, not the least of which had to do with the project’s size. Councilman Scott Myller was a planning commissioner before his election to City Council last month and was still on the Planning Commission when the Ski Time Square pre-application was discussed. Myller said Monday that he is concerned that Atira proposes to reduce commercial space from 58,131 square feet to 46,578 square feetwhile increasing the total square footage by hundreds of thousands.

“It seems like if you increase the population base, you should increase commercial, as well,” Myller said.

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Matthews said he plans to have an economic study done before finalizing the commercial component, but he suggested that the existing retail has fallen on hard times and that a reduction in commercial space might be appropriate.

“We want the right amount,” Matthews said. “We don’t want too much. Retail up there hasn’t been the best endeavor.”

While he doesn’t necessarily have a problem with the proposed size of Atira’s project, Myller questioned whether others would have an appetite for a 1 million-square-foot project that is as tall as 10 stories in some spots. City Manager Alan Lanning said the quality of the development, not its size, would determine its success with city officials.

“I don’t think about the numbers so much as the quality of the development,” said Lanning, who noted that the city envisions dense base area development. “That’s what the base area is intended to be – very dense.”

Myller said he hopes developers will take more time with the massive redevelopment. He noted at the Planning Commission meeting that the public spaces between the buildings need as much attention as the buildings themselves.

“We’re used to designing buildings, but in this case it’s almost as if they need to design the room,” Myller said Monday. “Right now it seems like they’re in a huge hurry to see how much net sellable space they can put up.”

Other items

Also today, City Council will decide whether to convene Wednesday as the Steamboat Springs Liquor License Authority to consider staying the revocation of Kevin Nerney’s liquor license.

The previous City Council voted, 3-2, to revoke Nerney’s liquor license after two days of quasi-judicial hearings. The hearings were in response to allegations that Nerney made unlawful sexual contact earlier this year with a patron at his bar. Nerney was found innocent of the charges in criminal court, but the council, acting as the Liquor License Authority, moved forward with the hearings.

Employing a different standard of guilt, the previous City Council voted unanimously that Nerney was guilty of the charge. A majority of the council then voted to strip Nerney of his license. He and his attorney are appealing the decision in District Court and have asked the current City Council to stay Nerney’s punishment in the meantime.

Councilwoman Cari Hermacinski has urged her fellow council members to steer clear of the matter.

“The case clearly seems headed for District Court, so I don’t know why we would reopen that can of worms,” Hermacinski said recently.

If council meets as the liquor authority Wednesday, City Council President Loui Antonucci said the meeting would have a narrow focus.

“The City Council has made it clear they do not want to retry or rehear this case because the previous City Council did that,” Antonucci said last week.

City Council also will consider tonight the second reading of an ordinance that would repeal a temporary moratorium on demolitions to structures deemed historic.

The moratorium was put in place by the previous City Council in September to serve as a “timeout” while a citizens review committee revisits the city’s historic preservation policies, but the current council decided the moratorium was unnecessary for the Historic Structures Policy Review Committee to do its work effectively.

At a meeting last week, that committee unanimously came to the same decision. The repeal unanimously passed a first reading with City Council. Councilwoman Meg Bentley was absent.

– To reach Brandon Gee, call 871-4210

or e-mail bgee@steamboatpilot.com

Agenda

4:30 p.m. Historic Preservation Advisory Commission interviews

5 p.m. City Council, staff and community reports; a motion to reconsider holding a Liquor License Authority meeting Wednesday to consider staying the revocation of Kevin Nerney’s liquor license; second reading of an ordinance repealing a moratorium on accepting applications for permits resulting in the demolition of any “eligible historic structure;”

7 p.m. Public comment; Planning Commission referrals; pre-application review of a redevelopment proposal for Ski Time Square and Thunderhead Lodge