City council to brush up on annexation |

City council to brush up on annexation

West Steamboat changes spur informational review sessions

Brandon Gee

— Spurred by the pending annexation of areas west of the city, the Steamboat Springs City Council will hold informational review sessions tonight about annexation and special districts.

“We’re going to try to run a series of workshops to get up to speed,” said City Council President Susan Dellinger, who thinks the review sessions will better prepare the city for negotiations with the developers of the Steamboat 700 project, which could add more than 2,000 homes on 700 acres west of the city.

City Attorney Tony Lettunich said Steamboat 700 is expected to submit plans to the city’s Planning Department in the coming days.

Lettunich said annexation is a complex issue with “a lot of subjective areas.” He said there is a lot of case law on the subject, mostly resulting from Front Range communities competing with one another for areas to annex.

Steamboat’s annexations would be less contentious. The city and Routt County are in agreement that the land, if developed, should be annexed. Their joint plan for areas west of Steamboat is outlined in the West of Steamboat Springs Area Plan, which details infrastructure, land use and housing needs for increased development of the area that includes the Silver Spur, Heritage Park and Steamboat II subdivisions. Steamboat 700 constitutes about 80 percent of the area.

“We feel urban development needs to be part of municipalities,” County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said.

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Stahoviak said county government is not set up to address urban needs and noted that problems have arisen in places such as Steamboat II, where residents want urban amenities such as curbs and sidewalks that the county doesn’t have the means to provide.

Dellinger said the city has not annexed any new areas since the 1990s, when areas on 13th Street south of the Yampa River were added. Lettunich said west of Steamboat annexation will be the most significant process the city has seen since the mountain area was annexed several decades ago.

“It’s a whole other town,” Dellinger said.

Other items

Also tonight, City Council will consider the first reading of an ordinance that would allow the city to impose penalties on people who damage underground utilities in public places.

The ordinance is spurred by two recent incidents of excavators damaging underground utilities. A Sept. 11 water line break by a construction crew at the Bud Werner Memorial Library left much of the west side of Steamboat without water service for two days, and a drainage culvert at the base of the ski area also was recently damaged, resulting in the flooding of Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp.’s gondola building.

The ordinance would allow the city to cite violators in municipal court if they cause damage by failing to exercise reasonable care. The municipal court judge could assess fines up to $999.

Interim Finance Director Bob Litzau said Monday that the Sept. 11 incident has cost the city $45,700. Some bills related to the break still haven’t arrived, Litzau said. Adolfson & Peterson, the construction contractor whose crews broke the water line, paid for $2,000 to $3,000 worth of bottled water but has not compensated the city for any other costs. Although he hopes the contractor will chip in more, Litzau said that is “a matter of discussion between the contractor and the city manager.”

City Manager Alan Lanning was out of town and unavailable for comment.

After all-day budget discussions Oct. 2, City Council will consider the first reading of an ordinance adopting the city’s 2008 budget today. The nearly $90 million budget doesn’t have to be adopted until the end of the year, but council is on pace to pass it before the end of the month.

Lanning said last week that upcoming City Council elections, in which five seats are on the ballot, spurred the current council to act quickly and not leave a difficult budget approval process for potential newcomers to council.


5 p.m. Review session on annexation and special districts; City Council reports; Agenda review; staff reports

6 p.m. First reading of an ordinance approving a lease agreement with Sensis Corp. for air traffic control equipment at Steamboat Springs Airport; first reading of an ordinance amending the revised municipal code by imposing fines on persons damaging underground utility facilities located in public places; first reading of an ordinance adopting the 2008 city budget; planning commission referrals

7 p.m. Public comment