Permit application could help extend Steamboat’s Yampa Core Trail to south
November 29, 2017
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A relatively innocuous development permit application making its way through the Routt County planning process could prove to be the key to someday extending the Yampa River Core Trail south beyond the city of Steamboat Springs all the way to Legacy Ranch at the corner of U.S. Highway 40 and Colorado Highway 131.
Absentee property owner Butch Dougherty, through his local representative, Jim Stegmaier of Yampa Valley Engineering, is seeking a permit that would formalize a variety of commercial uses already taking place, as well as new enterprises, on his property off Dougherty Road. The property straddles the Yampa River immediately west of the Steamboat Christian Center, which is inside the city limits.
In order to obtain his permit, Dougherty would be required to dedicate 25 percent of his property to open space. County Planning Director Chad Phillips pointed out to the Board of Commissioners during a public meting in September that they could require that open space be in the form of an easement that would accommodate a future trail extension.
City Parks, Open Space and Trails Manager Craig Robinson confirmed this week the city’s interest in extending the river trial through Dougherty's property, although there are no immediate plans to tackle the project.
“The Steamboat Springs Area Plan anticipates the trail extension heading that way and getting through to Legacy,” Robinson said, "and the Dougherty property would be an ideal connection. We've indicated we'd like to have an easement through there."
The alternative, he said, would be much more expensive. Near the point where the trail currently hits a deadend at Dougherty's property line, the city could build a bridge across the Yampa to reach city open space, then, build a second bridge to cross back over the river to Legacy Ranch.
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Stegmaier said his client is generally open to the idea of providing the required open space in the form of a trail easement but added they have yet to calculate what percentage of the property that would represent.
The Board of County Commissioners discussed the application in public session in early September, but Assistant Planning Director Kristy Winser said the applicant has since sought and been granted an extension to complete its permit application, which is in the form of a "planned unit development."
Stegmaier said his goal is to submit the revised permit application before the end of the year.