Greening up Fourth Street |

Greening up Fourth Street

Two projects would transform Oak Street intersection

A Denver architect and developer is proposing to build several new live/work condominiums in a green-built project on the site of these duplexes at the intersection of Oak and Fourth streets in downtown Steamboat Springs.

— The intersection of Fourth and Oak streets in Old Town Steamboat Springs is poised for change with new developments planned.

Denver architect and developer John Buchanan of Buchanan Design Associates has proposed a pair of live/work residential buildings that would be green-built. The formal name of the development group is Steamboat Green Community Development. A pair of yellow stucco duplex buildings occupies the site in the 200 block of Fourth Street.

Directly across Fourth Street, with frontage at 404 Oak Street, Debbie Aragon of Debbie Ara-gon Insurance Agency is proposing to build a 5,250 square-foot office building on a lot that is vacant.

Architect Joe Patrick Robbins has drawn a tentative elevation for Aragon’s building that reflects a distinctly residential look, with peak roofs, gables and a covered porch.

The corner lot historically was the site of the home of the late John “Doc” Utterback, a veterinarian and politician of note in Steamboat’s history.

The home was moved to the Tread of Pioneers Museum where it became the Utterback Annex after his death.

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From 1998 until 2004, Utter-back’s daughter, Karin Utterback-Normann, rented the building lot to LIFT-UP of Routt County at no charge for use as a community garden. She put the lot on the real estate market in 2004.

Aragon said she will move her State Farm Insurance Agency into the main floor and lease professional offices on the second floor. She also intends to keep her present office at 414 Oak St. and lease it.

City Planner Sid Rivers said the property is zoned appropriately for the proposed building. The “commercial neighborhood” zone designation denotes a transitional area between commercial districts and residential neighborhoods.

“The project meets every standard we have,” Rivers said. “It’s a good design and blends well with the character of the neighborhood.”

There is ample room for parking to the rear of the building. The lot is just less than a quarter of an acre and has mature evergreen trees on it.

City Planner Bob Keenan said Steamboat Green Community Development’s project on Fourth Street would be the first of its kind in Steamboat.

“This will likely be the first non-public Leeds Certified green building in town,” Keenan said. “They want to show that green building is not that much more expensive.”

The project would create two new buildings offering three two-bedroom live-work residences, another two-bedroom residence and an affordable studio apartment meant for employee housing.

Steamboat Green tentatively plans to create an underground parking lot served by a mechanical lift system.

The developer is seeking variances to city code on its total floor area relative to the lot size, building setbacks and the height of one building on its Oak Street elevation.

The developers will seek to make the case to Planning Commission that the benefits of the green building standards justify the variances, Keenan said.

Plans submitted to the city indicate the buildings will be built of environmentally-friendly materials. They will feature solar hot water panels on the roof and a solar snowmelt system, he added.