Officials to stress need for west Steamboat fire station | SteamboatToday.com

Officials to stress need for west Steamboat fire station

Development-related issues take precedence at to tonight's City Council meeting

Brandon Gee

— Steamboat Springs Rural Fire Protection District officials will tell the Steamboat Springs City Council today that the need for a west-side fire station is urgent and must be met “sooner rather than later.”

The presentation by fire district officials is just one of several items on a massive City Council agenda that relates to population increases – particularly west of city limits – and two proposed developments seeking annexation.

The Steamboat Spring Rural Fire Protection District extends from almost Stagecoach in the southeast to north of Mad Creek and west of Milner. The Mountain Fire Station on Pine Grove Road provides the primary fire and ambulance services to the city and district. The district’s presentation to council states that although response times are adequate to the mountain area and the south portion of the district, they are inadequate to areas west of downtown Steamboat.

City Manager Jon Roberts said discussions about building a west-side fire station are part of the city’s negations with Steamboat 700, a project seeking annexation that proposes about 2,000 homes just west of city limits.

Although the district’s presentation notes that a station in Steamboat 700 would provide better response times within the development and in the northern portion of the district, it is not an ideal site for increasing response times to areas farther west such as Steamboat II, Heritage Park, Marabou and Milner.

“I don’t know that it has to be in 700,” said Councilman Jon Quinn, adding that it might make more sense to build a fire station on U.S. Highway 40 rather than farther north in the interior of Steamboat 700. “It sounded to me based on that presentation that 700 wasn’t the best spot, but I’ll leave that up to the experts. : I do think they ought to be participating in paying their share to build it.”

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Steamboat 700 also would participate in the cost of augmenting the city’s water rights under a plan developed by Public Works Director Philo Shelton and Fritz Holleman, the city’s water attorney. The $960,000 plan would require Steamboat 700 to pay for all legal and engineering work to bring 966 acre feet of water into the city system from undeveloped water rights the city has in Stagecoach Reservoir, Fish Creek and the Elk River.

Roberts said Steamboat 700 officials have been receptive to the plan after initial concerns that they would have to bring senior raw water rights to the table as a condition of annexation.

“They were given the proposal, and they have not yet officially responded back,” Roberts said, “but they did say it seemed like a reasonable approach.”

Quinn agreed.

“I think that makes a large amount of sense. In terms of big picture, we are pretty flush with water rights,” he said. “I didn’t want the applicant : to feel like we were pulling a fast one on them.”

An ordinance adopting the water dedication policy is up for a preliminary reading tonight. The policy would require the developers of land outside the municipal water utility service area to bring water rights – or money to help develop the city’s existing water rights, through means such as infrastructure – to the table as a condition of approval.

Also tonight, council will review a final development plan application for the Thunderhead redevelopment project at the base of Steamboat Ski Area. See that story on Page 1.

Council also will consider the first reading of an ordinance approving the purchase of 14.5 acres from Union Pacific Railroad. The two parcels of land being considered for purchase are along the railroad tracks near the Yampa River in downtown and west Steamboat. They would be designated open space, Roberts said. The $200,000 purchase would be aided by a $122,000 grant from Great Outdoors Colorado.

During council members’ reports at the end of the meeting, Councilwoman Cari Hermacinski plans to ask if there is support to schedule a discussion about putting Steamboat 700 to a citywide vote at a future meeting.

– To reach Brandon Gee, call 871-4210 or e-mail bgee@steamboatpilot.com

If you go

What: Steamboat Springs City Council meeting

When: 5 p.m. today

Where: Centennial Hall, 124 10th St.

Call: City offices at 879-2060 for more information; call 871-7070 to listen live to meetings of the Steamboat Springs City Council

Agenda

5 p.m. Joint meeting with the Steamboat Springs Rural Fire Protection District

5:30 p.m. Steamboat 700 and 360 Village annexations updates

6 p.m. West Steamboat build-out discussion

7 p.m. Public comment

7:30 p.m. Thunderhead final development plan application; motion to approve the 2009 contract between the city and the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association for marketing services; first reading of an ordinance creating a water dedication policy; first reading of an ordinance approving the purchase of property from Union Pacific Railroad Co.; second readings of ordinances approving supplemental budget appropriations; City Council and staff reports