City, county to meet Tuesday | SteamboatToday.com

City, county to meet Tuesday

Susan Cunningham

At the city and county joint meeting Tuesday, the issue that has sparked the most controversy between the two governments is not on the agenda: the location of the new Routt County justice center.

That does not mean the issue will not be discussed, city and county officials said.

“I would hope that it would come up,” councilman Loui Antonucci said. The only times the discussion is likely would be during talks about the Steamboat Springs Area Community Plan or in public comment, he said.

Antonucci said he would like to hear more about the thought process the county commissioners used to make the decision that the justice center should go west.

“The truth is that they’ve thought about this and probably beat this to death over the course of the last couple years,” he said. “Maybe they have something that they can teach us.”

For the past few months, conversations between county and city letters about the location of the $15 million court-ordered justice center have heated up, as the City Council has urged the county to reconsider the downtown site for the proposed 52,000-square-foot building.

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County commissioners have maintained that they will build at a west-of-downtown site adjacent to the Routt County Jail and have said it would be too costly and time consuming to reconsider the downtown site.

Plans for the justice center were scheduled to be heard before the City Council at the joint meeting, but after the City Planning Commission voted to deny the project and the City Council voted to write a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers saying the downtown site was a “practicable alternative,” county commissioners decided to overrule the city’s decision and not continue with the city planning process.

Routt County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said she feels the issues already have been brought out for consideration.

“I think it’s all been said, so I think the county is feeling like we know what issues are out there,” Stahoviak said. “If the city asks to meet with us to further discuss the site, I don’t know what our response will be.”

City Council President Paul Strong said he did not plan to bring up the issue.

“We’ve expressed our opinion, they can take it or not,” Strong said. For the city to continue to stress its opinion probably would be counterproductive and could hurt the relationship between the city and county, he said.

Also scheduled for discussion are updates on the Tax Policy Board, the Yampa Valley Housing Authority, wildland fire preparation, the Yampa Valley Airport Commission and remaining items of the Steamboat Springs Area Community Plan, which could be approved in a week.

“I think all of the updates are important,” Stahoviak said.

“(They) are good, positive things that we’re working on, and it will be nice for the city and county to talk about something positive for a change,” she said.

The city and county will meet jointly at the City Council meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesday in the Citizens’ Meeting Room at Centennial Hall in downtown Steamboat Springs.

— To reach Susan Bacon, call 871-4203

or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com