360 Village reduces plan | SteamboatToday.com

360 Village reduces plan

Developers' new annexation proposal conforms to existing UGB

Brandon Gee

— The developers of 360 Village won’t ask the Steamboat Springs City Council to commit “political suicide.”

In a pre-application for annexation submitted last week, Wilton West Development proposes development on only 110 acres of the 350-acre project site two miles west of city limits. The proposed development conforms to the urban growth boundary, a growth management tool jointly administered by the city and Routt County.

Wilton West Development failed in attempts earlier this year to expand the UGB to encompass the entire property. While the UGB is described as a precursor to annexation in the city and county’s Steamboat Springs Area Community Plan, state law governs annexations, and the city could have considered annexing the entire 350-acre property without a UGB expansion.

Although legal, Councilwoman Cari Hermacinski said in August that disregarding the UGB and the community plan would be “political suicide.” With their latest proposal, the developers won’t even ask council to consider such a move, and instead plan to develop the rest of the site in two future phases.

While the plan for 360 Village has changed, its primary message has not. Developers continue to tout their affordable and attainable housing plan above all else. Since their initial submittal to the city in May, the developers have bolstered their argument with the results of the recently released Work Force Housing Demand Analysis, which recommended the city provide for more affordable rental opportunities and small-lot, single-family homes.

“Affordable and attainable housing is our No. 1 focus,” said Tony Connell, a partner in Wilton West of Steamboat, a subsidiary of Virginia-based Wilton West Development. “We are excited to present a plan that reflects the needs of the community as shown in the analysis. The housing study clarifies our vision of full inclusion. We want to build products that offer opportunities to a broad spectrum of our community.”

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City Planner Jason Peasley noted that 360 Village’s pre-application states the project will comply with the West of Steamboat Springs Area Plan requirement that a minimum of 20 percent of proposed units be priced at or below 80 percent of the area median income.

“That was a sticking point with Steamboat 700 and doesn’t appear to be with this one,” said Peasley, referring to another proposed development west of Steamboat.

360 Village’s pared-down proposal doesn’t include some of the frills envisioned in the initial plan for the entire property. Amenities such as a chair lift, an amphitheater and a flume trail are gone from the latest proposal, and it is unclear whether they will be included in plans for future phases.

Added to the plan, though, is a provision for a 100,000-square-foot pad that could house a big-box retail store. City officials are studying how to fit such a store into plans for the west of Steamboat area, in order to prevent the sales tax leakage that would result if a super store were located outside city limits in Routt County.

Although it now conforms to the UGB, 360 Village’s location west of Routt County subdivisions Steamboat II and Silver Spur still will pose a challenge as the development moves forward to hearings with the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission and City Council.

State statute requires contiguity for annexation, so the project would require what Planning Services Manager John Eastman has called a “flagpole annexation,” where the city would first annex rights of way along U.S. Highway 40 until annexed land reached the project. Although legal, Eastman has said that such an annexation may not be appealing because of the implications it has on the extension of city services.

“This is a pre-application,” Eastman said Wednesday, “and my expectation is, we will have some good discussion about that issue as we move through the process.”

By the numbers

360 Village, first proposed phase

Dwelling units: 525 to 650

Village Center commercial: 180,000 to 210,000 square feet

U.S. 40 entry commercial/retail: 100,000 to 185,000 square feet

Open space: 27 to 30 acres