Progress and setbacks after Steamboat Springs City Council gives homeowners an ultimatum
January 26, 2017
Steamboat Springs — Archie Lowe doesn't mince his words when he describes the snowplowing situation on Buena Vista Court.
"It's a hodgepodge of crap right now," Lowe said Thursday. "I'm telling you it is a disaster."
Lowe, who owns property on the private cul-de-sac off of Tamarack Drive, described how his tenants on the street have sometimes been blocked into their own driveways by cars that park in the street.
Some property owners have also complained there is no organized plan for snow removal on the street, which is not maintained by the city.
The road conditions on Buena Vista recently got so bad that a local trash company stopped servicing a home because a trash truck equipped with chains on its tires twice got stuck in the snow and ice.
A tenant received a letter from the company last week saying the trash services would be discontinued for the rest of the winter.
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Buena Vista's parking and snow-removal woes are being blamed on several property owners on the street who are illegally leasing out secondary units in violation of city codes.
Fire Chief Mel Stewart said he was shocked by the conditions on the cul-de-sac.
He expressed concern to the city’s elected officials that there are times ambulances and fire trucks could not make it to the homes during an emergency because of unplowed snow.
As some duplexes have become four-plexes, parking has spilled out into the small cul-de-sac, creating issues for neighbors.
The owners of the illegal units are seeking approval of the units, but the City Council won't consider approving them until the property owners on the street can first show they have a plan to address the parking and snow-removal issues.
The homeowners have until March 7 to show progress, or the council has indicated it is ready to reject the proposals.
A rejection would likely force several tenants to leave the illegal secondary units.
Lowe is holding out hope that the pressure the council has placed on the owners of the illegal units is enough for neighbors to come together and agree to make changes he says they've been unwilling to make in the past.
"If it doesn't happen, I hope they make them tear their (illegal) units all out," Lowe said.
Lowe himself has not gotten in on the bootlegging of secondary units on the cul-de-sac.
Still, he said he's working to help the entire cul-de-sac with the issues they have created.
Lowe said Thursday he's been working with an attorney to draft a road maintenance agreement that would give the property owners on the cul-de-sac more control and ownership of the parking situation.
He said the agreement would address such things as where the snow storage areas are and how the road would be plowed.
It would also aim to make it easier to have cars towed if they are parked where they aren't supposed to be.
"We need something desperately here," he said.
Lowe said he's already seen one property owner starting to address the parking and snow issues.
"I'd say there's been some progress made," he said.