Thursday, July 10, 2008

Urban Development Hearing in Steamboat Springs

Urban development expands
Amended growth boundary could bring affordable housing
By Brandon Gee (Contact)- Reporter
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Steamboat Springs Planning Commission meeting
When: Thursday, July 10, 2008, 6 p.m.
Where: Centennial Hall, 124 10th St., Steamboat Springs

Full event details
A joint city and Routt County review of five projects that would redefine Steamboat Springs’ perimeter — in some cases drastically — kicks off today when the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission holds hearings on applications to bring a combined 929.5 acres within the Urban Growth Boundary.

“The Urban Growth Boundary is a transition line established by the Steamboat Springs Area Community Plan that clearly identifies which lands will be developed at urban densities and which lands will be kept in rural use,” a report prepared by Steamboat planning staff states.

Areas within the UGB are eligible for annexation into city limits. Those outside of it are not. For three projects in particular, annexation is vital to developers’ plans to increase Steamboat’s housing stock by about 3,000 homes combined in coming years.

One-hundred eighty-five acres of the proposed 700-acre Steamboat 700 project lie outside the UGB, as do 240 acres of the proposed 350-acre 360 Village development. The entire 464-acre Emerald Mountain parcel that owner Lyman Orton hopes to develop lies outside the UGB.

During a Routt County pre-application review of Steamboat 700 in February, County Com­missioner Nancy Stahoviak said approval of a UGB amendment likely would hinge on concessions from the developer.

“There has to be positive and measurable public benefit to the community,” Stahoviak said in February. “If you’re going to go there, we need more.”

The community’s most pressing need as identified by city and county officials, and thus the most attractive public benefit developers could offer, is affordable housing. All three of the large projects propose a major affordable-housing component.

At the Steamboat 700 county review meeting in February, Project Manager Danny Mul­cahy said leaving the boundary as is would reduce his ability to subsidize the affordable housing he intends to build by reducing the number of market-rate units he can build. Stahoviak disagreed. She said the lower density allowed outside the urban growth boundary would still allow Mulcahy to subsidize affordable housing with larger, high-end parcels.

The two smaller applications among the five are for a half-acre lot owned by Butch Dougherty and for 40 acres owned by Alex Koftinow, who proposes 26 dwelling units along the Yampa River. The city’s planning staff is recommending denial of all five applications.

—To reach Brandon Gee, call 871-4210 or e-mail