RiverView development in downtown Steamboat Springs gets initial OK
May 18, 2017
Steamboat Springs — Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to show Councilwoman Heather Sloop was not at Tuesday’s meeting and did not vote on the RiverView proposal.
A large development project that is poised to add a new riverside path, a public plaza and a mix of residential and commercial development to the east entrance of downtown has cleared an important hurdle with the Steamboat Springs City Council.
The council voted, 5-1, Tuesday night in favor of plans to rezone the 4.7 acres the RiverView project will encompass between Lincoln Avenue and the Yampa River from Third to Fifth streets.
Councilwoman Heather Sloop was absent from Tuesday’s meeting.
Council's approval of the rezoning came after it received several letters and comments of support for the development from business leaders, former elected officials and other residents.
If council approves the proposal on second reading June 6, Green Courte Partners will be able to pitch the five different parcels for development, including a parcel that has been talked about as a potential site for a boutique hotel.
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No specific buildings have been proposed yet.
Councilwoman Kathi Meyer was the lone “no” vote on the zoning proposal.
Though she believes the project is a "good quality project" overall, she said she fears the city is about to allow too much density at the site.
"My concerns (about the project) strictly are about the height and the mass," she said.
She said under the plan, proposed buildings could be as tall as 60 feet.
Meyer added that the rezoning of the property will allow up to an additional 60,000 square feet of development over what the current zoning allows.
"That's an awful lot of extra building," Meyer said.
Other council members said downtown is the place where taller, denser development should occur.
"With this project, we're looking at a list of 16 community benefits, and a lot of these are not inconsequential," councilman Jason Lacy said.
Lacy pointed to new public infrastructure, which include sidewalks, a plaza and a soft surface trail along the Yampa, as some of those benefits.
The approval comes with a list of other investments as well, including 25 new public parking spaces, an enhanced bicycle and pedestrian crossing located at Fifth and Yampa streets and a .25 percent transfer fee on the sale of residential properties that will be dedicated to restoring and preserving riparian habitat in the Yampa River.
Late last month, city planning commission members praised the developers and city planning staff for their collaboration on the application.
"This has been 16 months in the process, but what's come out the other end is a good project Steamboat can be proud of," Planning Commission chair Charlie MacArthur said. "I don't hold any illusions this parcel will solve low-income or worker housing, but it does create housing supply, and supply is something this community needs." New "supply in any area helps alleviate pressure off the entire market."
The commission approved the proposal, 6-1.