Friday, November 9, 2007


Steamboat Springs — The Steamboat Springs City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve an innovative new building for 655 Yampa St. Despite his “yes” vote, Councilman Towny Anderson expressed some concerns about the project. Councilman Towny Anderson said the fact that the proposal meets all of the city standards makes him think it’s time to revisit the standards being applied to new buildings along the river.
“What I’m questioning is our design guidelines for Yampa Street,” Anderson said. “This is going to be a massive structure in a place where I don’t believe it’s what we intended. This is one of those cases of unintended consequences.”

Senior City Planner Jonathan Spence said individual planning commissioners felt the project more than met the guidelines. “They felt it was an exemplary project,” Spence said.
The building, known as 655 Yampa, would replace a white house on the river side of the street with a three-story building containing street-level commercial spaces and a half dozen residential condominiums upstairs. The site is at the intersection of Seventh and Yampa streets.

The plan is notable for its features, including an automated automobile elevator to stack residents’ cars and a covered pedestrian concourse from the streetscape to a courtyard on the river. The concourse would pass beneath one of the dwelling units.
The plans of developers Howard Ulep and Dennis Frank, of Annapolis, Md., and designer Steven Eggleston, of SCE Studio, gained the approval of the city’s Historic Preservation Advisory Commission and were recommended by a 7-0 vote of the Planning Commission.
The same development team is constructing a restaurant/pub about two blocks east, where the Boat House office building formerly stood. Councilwoman Karen Post said she would not consider holding up 655 Yampa, but she understood the questions Anderson was raising.

“Do we want three stories all along the river?” Post asked her colleagues.
Council President Susan Dellinger said the positive recommendation from Historic Preservation, the 7-0 vote from Planning Commission and the recommendation of approval from planning staff were sufficient for her to endorse the project.
Councilman Steve Ivancie said he believes it’s appropriate to be vigilant in protecting the qualities of the river frontage along Yampa Street. However, he said it was too late in the process to “second-guess” the 655 Yampa developers.
“It will create vibrancy in downtown,” Ivancie said.