By Mike Lawrence (Contact) - Steambaot Pilot & TODAY
Friday, February 22, 2008
Steamboat Springs — The Steamboat 700 development team Thursday suggested implementing a metropolitan district in the site that could be annexed into Steamboat Springs, but received little support from city planners.
Land use attorney Bob Weiss told the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission that such a district would allow the Steamboat 700 community to conduct its own reviews of some architectural standards in some new development. Steamboat 700 could one day include 2,000 homes and more than 275,000 square feet of commercial space between Steamboat Springs Airport and Silver Spur. Weiss’ comments came during a continuation of the project’s pre-application review in Centennial Hall.
“We don’t want to be here in front of you having to debate about roof pitches, landscaping, windows, those kinds of things,” Weiss told the commission. “We would like to try and do that ourselves.”
Weiss said a Steamboat 700 metro district committee could work within architectural guidelines set by the city and “take the burden off city staff.”
But planning commissioners said that is a burden they would like to keep.
“I’m not comfortable having Planning Commission give up its responsibilities for reviewing development within the city,” Commissioner Rich Levy said. “And I’ve heard no compelling reason why we should.”
The Planning Commission instead supported examining how city zoning could be used to streamline reviews of Steamboat 700 development projects and guide compliance with the West of Steamboat Springs Area Plan.
In July 2006, the Steamboat Springs City Council strongly rejected a metro district proposal from developers of the Wildhorse Meadows project on Mount Werner Road. The focus of that metro district was raising property taxes for future Wildhorse homeowners to pay for infrastructure in the development.
“My answer was absolutely no,” then-City Council President Ken Brenner said. “I think it’s not only a bad policy, it’s also a bad precedent to allow a special district like that to be formed inside the city limits. … I think it would be completely irresponsible of city government to do that.”
No formal action was taken Thursday. Pre-application reviews allow developers and city officials to discuss ideas and assess proposals before the formal application process.
Peter Patten, a land use consultant working for Steamboat 700, said the project’s annexation proposal will use data from a community housing demand analysis, a fiscal impact analysis, an area-wide traffic study, a regional transit study and a water and sewer adequacy analysis.
“These are the big five (studies) that are being enacted right now,” he said.
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