Sidewalk friction melts away |

Sidewalk friction melts away

Base area redevelopers and owners come to an agreement

— The impasse among Steamboat Springs’ redevelopment advisory committee and a group of condominium owners at the base of Steamboat Ski Area showed signs of a coming thaw Friday afternoon.

The two groups have disagreed about who should pay for maintenance of a new sidewalk that is fundamental to redesigning a complex traffic intersection at the hub of the ski base.

“You have to understand, we were blindsided by this,” Ray Humphrey said on behalf of the owners at Snowflower condominiums. “We’ve really only known about this for two weeks. We’re excited about the (base area) plan. It’s a neat plan.”

Still, his group expressed unwillingness Friday to pay for maintenance and assume liability for a sidewalk they say isn’t yet necessary.

The focus of the discussion is a plan developed by the Base Area Urban Redevelopment Area Advisory Committee to replace the intersection of Mount Werner Circle and Apres Ski Way with a traffic roundabout.

The Snowflower owners hold a 42-square-foot trump card – a corner of their property. Redevelopment coordinator Joe Kracum said he really couldn’t proceed with construction of the traffic roundabout and the sidewalk without the Snowflower granting a permanent easement across that corner, a spot that measures 42 square feet.

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The sidewalk would help pedestrians navigate the intersection. It would wrap around the triangular Snowflower property connecting the Gondola Transit Center with Village Drive.

Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. President Chris Diamond, a member of the advisory committee, sought a compromise last week by promising his company would assume responsibility for maintenance of the sidewalk from the transit center to the intersection.

Snowflower owner John Kwiatkowski began Friday’s meeting by suggesting the city needs to come up with a broad plan for footing maintenance bills that would be shared equitably by property owners all around the mountain base.

“There’s no overall maintenance responsibility plan,” Kwiatkowski said.

Kracum said his arithmetic showed the annual cost of sidewalk maintenance for each of the 36 units at Snowflower would be $158.

But Humphrey pointed out that the condo owners have seen significant drops in rental revenues as construction of One Steamboat Place has proceeded next door.

By the end of the meeting, compromises won the day as Humphrey and a handful of Snowflower owners agreed to play ball.

The Snowflower owners agreed they would seek the approval of their board to grant easements necessary for the sidewalk in exchange for a promise that it would not actually be built until the design solution for the Village Drive intersection is in place.

The committee voted unanimously to wait another 30 days to allow financial analysis and preparation of the easements to continue before recommending approval of the plan to the Steamboat Springs Redevelopment Authority.

Kracum said that budget permitting, construction on the roundabout and the sidewalk from the Transit Center to Apres Ski Way could go forward this summer. Grading for the disputed length of sidewalk on Apres Ski Way also would take place this summer. Other work planned this summer includes redesigning the promenade at the base of the ski area and the daylighting of Burgess Creek to take into account changes at the base, including new ski lifts.

In other business, the committee recommended extending the contract for Kracum Resources LLC.

“We’re thrilled to have Joe under contract for another three years,” Planning Services Manager John Eastman said. “He’s built a great team.”

– To reach Tom Ross, call 871-4205

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