One more look | SteamboatToday.com

One more look

Council revisits options for Lincoln Avenue reconfiguration

Brandon Gee

— Less than a month after they informally agreed to stick with the status quo, Steamboat Springs City Council members once again will consider a major reconfiguration of U.S. Highway 40 through downtown.

The Colorado Department of Transportation will overhaul Lincoln Avenue, as it is known through downtown Steamboat, with a concrete repaving project beginning in fall 2009, providing the city with an opportunity to save cash by making their own changes at the same time. At a May 13 meeting, council members shied away from any drastic changes to the configuration of Steamboat’s main thoroughfare, fearing they might trigger the enforcement of current highway standards that would require the city to widen Lincoln Avenue’s narrow travel, turning and parking lanes.

At a subsequent meeting, Councilwoman Cari Hermacinski said the council may have wasted an opportunity and suggested that it reopen the discussion.

“It just gives the council another chance to look at some other designs,” Hermacinski said Monday.

Public Works Director Philo Shelton has prepared five Lincoln Avenue options for City Council. The options range from leaving the street mostly the same to making major changes such as removing on-street parking from one or both lanes, making side streets one way, widening lanes and adding bike lanes.

“CDOT needs to have an answer by the end of the month,” Hermacinski said. “This is basically the last chance for the City Council to pick one of the five or stick with what we have now.”

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The Education Fund Board will discuss with council its request to hold a vote on renewing Steamboat’s half-cent sales tax for education. The proposal would extend the tax, which doesn’t expire until the end of 2009, for 10 years.

The tax has passed handily in the past, but there looks to be a fair amount of debate about whether the tax should be shared with Hayden and South Routt schools, which are statutorily prohibited from passing a sales tax of their own.

“The big question is can the funds be used in Hayden and Oak Creek,” Hermacinski said.

Council also will receive an affordable housing update from Community Housing Coordinator Nancy Engelken on Tuesday. Hermacinski said Engelken’s report and council discussion will help shape the contents of a July 8 meeting during which council may consider major changes to the city’s affordable housing laws.

“There’s some flaws in that ordinance, and I want to change it,” said Hermacinski, who stressed that no official action would be taken on the matter Tuesday. “If we don’t get four City Council members saying, ‘Yeah, let’s consider repealing commercial linkage,’ we’re not going to discuss it July 8. The actual debate will occur July 8.”

Council also will convene as the Steamboat Springs Redevelopment Authority today to discuss public improvement projects at the base of the Steamboat Ski Area. Among the topics for discussion on that agenda is a boundary extension of the city’s urban renewal authority at the base area. Within its base area boundaries, the URA receives property and sales taxes above a base amount to repay the bonds it issues to finance projects, such as the new Ski Time Square roundabout and a planned public promenade at the base of the ski area.

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

If you go

What: Steamboat Springs City Council meeting

When: 4 p.m. today

Where: Centennial Hall, 124 10th St.

Call: City offices at 879-2060 for more information

Agenda

4 p.m. City Council convenes as the Steamboat Springs Redevelopment Authority to discuss public improvement projects at the base of Steamboat Ski Area

5 p.m. Discussion regarding the Steamboat Springs School District’s sales tax

5:30 p.m. Discussion of options for the redevelopment of Lincoln Avenue

7 p.m. Affordable housing update