County denies 700 request
Commissioners turn down growth boundary expansion for development
By Zach Fridell (Contact)
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Steamboat Springs — The Routt County Board of Commissioners denied an expansion of the urban growth boundary for the proposed Steamboat 700 development Tuesday night.
In a joint session with the Steamboat Springs City Council at Centennial Hall, the commissioners voted 3-0 against the proposed expansion, which would have given the proposed development a major step toward annexation into city limits.
City Council members supported the action 4-2, but under the rules of the joint meeting, both bodies needed to approve the expansion to make it law. The Steamboat 700 development was seeking to expand the urban growth boundary by 158 acres west of Steamboat Springs, to encompass the entire 700 acres of the development that could include 2,000 homes, commercial space and community amenities.
Explaining his decision at the end of the five-hour meeting, Councilman Steve Ivancie, who along with Councilwoman Meg Bentley voted against the expansion, said he was unconvinced of the need to expand the boundary now.
“Until we substantially build out what’s in the urban growth boundary, what do we really need?” he said. “(The boundary line) is there for a reason, it’s a transition line.”
After the vote was held, Steamboat 700 land use consultant Peter Patten laughed when he was asked what the next step for his group will be.
“I don’t have an answer,” he said.
The group still can develop the 515 acres currently inside the urban growth boundary and may ask the city for annexation.
Several of the lawmakers commented on the hard work and money developers had put into the plan and asked for the issue to be raised again after the initial phases of construction are complete.
“There is no question the developers have put forward a lot of effort and expense,” said Councilman Jon Quinn, who voted for the expansion. “This is a package and we have to ask ourselves if we limit or do not allow it, we have to decide what we are willing to give up. Is it the space for schools or a fire department?”
The lawmakers judged the requested amendment on five requirements: policy compatibility, public benefit, reasonable accommodation, land suitability and a logical change to the boundary line.
Commissioner Diane Mitsch Bush called Steamboat 700 “the very definition of leap-frog development” because land adjoining the site within city limits is not developed.
Two more denials
City Council members and commissioners voted down two other potential expansions of the growth boundary Tuesday night.
A potential half-acre expansion of the boundary on North Larimer Street, to include a property owned by L.A. “Butch” Dougherty, was denied 3-0 by the county commissioners and 3-1 by the City Council. Council President Pro-tem Cari Hermacinski and Councilman Walter Magill recused themselves from the vote. Only Scott Myller voted in favor.
City Council President Loui Antonucci was not present at the meeting.
Both bodies also denied a boundary expansion for the proposed River Haus development, along the Yampa River near the Tree Haus subdivision, south and east of downtown Steamboat. The county commissioners again voted the proposal down 3-0, while City Council voted 4-2, with only Hermacinski and Myller voting to include the land in the urban growth boundary.
— To reach Zach Fridell, call 871-4208 or e-mail email@example.com
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