Steamboat 700 talks advance | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat 700 talks advance

Development plans to be presented next week

Brandon Gee

Steamboat Springs Transit bus driver Gary Campbell, reflected in a mirror on his bus, makes a stop along Lincoln Avenue in Steamboat Springs on Tuesday afternoon. The city plans to discuss the shortage of seasonal bus drivers at the Oct. 23 City Council meeting.

— The first glimpse of plans for the proposed Steamboat 700 development could come in the form of a “presubmittal package” delivered to city officials next week.

The presubmittal package will allow the developers to bounce tentative plans and concepts off city personnel. The feedback likely would be incorporated into more formal plans submitted to the city at a later date.

Steamboat 700 is a proposed 700-acre development west of Steamboat Springs that could include more than 2,000 homes and a commercial center.

The presubmittal package could allow for broader community dialogue in the earliest stages of the development’s life, Planning Director Tom Leeson told the Steamboat Springs City Council on Tuesday.

Steamboat 700 is bound to occupy a lot of the city’s time in coming years, and that likelihood was on display during Tuesday’s council meeting, when council members were given a presentation about annexation by City Attorney Tony Lettunich. The presentation was intended as a refresher on the subject as the city prepares for anticipated annexation of areas west of the city, notably Steamboat 700. Many believe annexation and the growth of west Steamboat will be the most significant issue to face the city in coming years.

“This is the most significant legislative act we’ve considered in a decade, maybe longer,” Councilman Ken Brenner said.

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The actual annexation of the development looks like it will be a relatively painless process. The property would meet the eligibility requirements of state law and it has the approval of county officials, who have no interest in governing urbanized areas.

A city-required “preannexation agreement,” however, will involve an intensive negotiation process between the city and developers. Leeson said the presubmittal package will provide the basis for that agreement.

“The preannexation agreement is everything,” Leeson said.

Lettunich also gave a presentation on special districts, which could be established to help fund infrastructure improvements in the Steamboat 700 development. Lettunich focused mainly on Title 32 districts, which can be established to provide services such as fire protection, parks and recreation, street improvement and water. Benefits of such districts are that they provide a means to fund improvements, and they limit the costs of new development to those who will benefit. However, Lettunich said there are concerns that such districts, which are governed by a separate board of directors, balkanize communities.

“You lose a little control with these districts,” Lettunich said.

Concerns were also raised regarding Routt County’s planned adoption of 1041 Regulations next week. If enacted, they would give the county a much stronger voice in projects brought to the county by other entities.

“The new 1041 Regulations do allow the county to take a look at any expansion of our water and sewer facilities,” Lettunich said.

Council unanimously passed a resolution that will ask the Routt County Board of Commissioners to exempt projects that are part of master plans the county has approved, such as the West of Steamboat Springs Area

Plan. It was the only action taken on a subject the city plans to address for many months to come.

“This is just the initial foray into a long-term discussion,” City Council President Susan Dellinger said.

In other action

– Council passed a resolution accepting the water and sewer infrastructure for Cook Chevrolet and the Loggers Lane Commercial Center

– Council approved the first reading of an ordinance approving a lease agreement with Sensis for space to be occupied by air traffic control equipment at Steamboat Springs Airport

– Council approved the first reading of an ordinance amending the revised municipal code to impose penalties on people who damage underground utilities in public places

– Council approved the second reading of an ordinance rezoning property in the Steamboat Barn Village from residential neighborhood to commercial neighborhood