Edgemont spurs debate | SteamboatToday.com

Edgemont spurs debate

Planning Commission votes against ski base development

Brandon Gee

The Edgemont Development's project site sits idle near Steamboat Ski Area on Thursday afternoon. Planning commissioners voted, 4-3, against Edgemont's base area development application.

— A controversial development plan for the private Edgemont project at Steamboat Ski Area was the topic of a dramatic and contentious Steamboat Springs Planning Commission meeting Thursday night.

Planning commissioners voted, 4-3, against Edgemont’s application. The project, formerly known as Bear Claw III, has a vested approval from 1985, but current developers The Atira Group have vastly altered plans for the development. Commissioners Dana Stopher, Steve Lewis, Rich Levy and Dick Curtis voted against the plans, agreeing with a city staff assessment that the project does not meet the city’s Community Development Code requirements for a revision to a vested approval.

The project approved in 1985 included a massive condominium structure, an amenities building and a spa. The new proposal includes two large condominium buildings with seven smaller duplex buildings. The total square footage of the new proposal is smaller than the original plan.

Although all the commissioners agreed that the new proposal is greatly superior to the old one – in its use of multiple buildings and variations in rooflines to break up the apparent mass of the buildings, for example – some thought Atira should take even further steps toward conforming to current city codes.

“This is not the best possible plan for the site,” Curtis said. “We can do better. Let’s not settle for second best.”

Commissioners Scott Myller, Kathi Meyer and Cari Hermacinski voted in support of the project. Myller questioned why the Planning Commission would not support a project that has greatly improved, when the developers could have moved forward with the 1985 vested approval that is greatly out of step with current codes.

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“I’m not sure who we’re trying to protect,” Myller said.

Stopher drew anger from the crowd at Centennial Hall when she suggested Atira had “schmoozed” residents in the surrounding area. Many of those residents turned out in support of the Edgemont project, along with representatives from Intrawest – owners of the ski area – and Steamboat Resorts.

Stopher quickly apologized for her word choice. Clarifying her remarks, she said Atira had clearly worked out its problems with neighboring residents and other stakeholders and asked why they couldn’t do the same for the Planning Commission.

The meeting turned ugly on one other occasion, when Curtis suggested the commissioners who supported the Edgemont application were doing so for political reasons. Myller and Hermacinski are candidates for Steamboat Springs City Council.

In other action

In contrast to the drawn-out and divisive Edgemont discussions, the Planning Commission enthusiastically recommended approval of a final development plan in the 600 block of Yampa Street. The proposed development, on the Yampa River side of Yampa Avenue at Seventh Street, is a mixed-use development including six residential units, three retail spaces and an internal garage stacking system for six vehicles.

The proposal includes a public plaza, access to the river and public restrooms. The development’s design includes green building techniques, including “green roofs” covered in vegetation.

“It’s a fun building,” Lewis said.

The commissioners voted to table a proposed addition to the Sears Center in the 1800 block of Shield Drive because of a disagreement between the applicant, Outback Investments, and city staff regarding sidewalk improvements to be constructed along with the addition to the building.