Developers want no 700 vote | SteamboatToday.com

Developers want no 700 vote

Annexation planners say application will meet public needs

Kristi Mohrbacher

— Supporters of Steamboat 700 said Friday that plans for their proposed 700-acre annexation will make a public vote unnecessary.

“We think this will be a quality application consistent with what the community wants so we won’t have enough opposition to support a need for an election,” Bob Weiss, a land-use attorney representing Steamboat 700, said of final plans for the development, which proposes about 2,000 homes and commercial space on a site west of Steamboat Springs.

A public annexation vote occurred May 20 in Minturn, where residents resoundingly approved the annexation of a 5,300-acre, resort-style project on Battle Mountain. More than 300 voters approved Florida developer Bobby Ginn’s private ski and golf resort with just 34 opposing it, according to the Rocky Mountain News.

New trends and policies in annexation were the topics of discussion Friday during an attorney’s workshop at the Colorado Municipal League’s annual conference at the Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel. Jerry Dahl, a consultant attorney hired by the city of Steamboat Springs during Steamboat 700 negotiations, led the workshop.

Whether the Steamboat 700 annexation should come to a public vote has been a contentious issue for months. Steamboat 700 Project Manager Danny Mulcahy said earlier this year that a referendum petition, needed before such a vote, would add at least a year to the process and cost additional money.

If the city approves the annexation’s plan through an ordinance, opposing parties would have 60 days to challenge the ordinance with a referendum petition.

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For a referendum petition to happen, the opposing side has 30 days after its challenge to collect the required number of signatures. City Attorney Tony Lettunich and Weiss were not sure Friday how many signatures would be required. If enough signatures were collected, the decision to annex would go to vote – a process that played out in Minturn.

Lettunich said in Minturn’s annexation vote, a small group of voters decided on a project that will approach $200 million in total related expenses.

“These numbers for the millions of dollars was astonishing,” Lettunich said.

Steamboat 700 LLC purchased 540 acres just west of Steamboat Springs for $24.6 million in March 2007. The developers have 160 adjoining acres under contract.

Steamboat 700 plans to have its pre-annexation agreement finalized and approved by the city in the next 30 to 60 days, Lettunich said.