A step closer to construction | SteamboatToday.com

A step closer to construction

Riverwalk, Wildhorse Meadows on City Council table tonight

What: Meeting of the Steamboat Springs City CouncilWhen: 5 p.m. tonightWhere: Centennial Hall, 124 10th St.Call: Steamboat Springs city offices at 879-2060

On the agenda5 p.m. City Council members' reports5:30 p.m. City services update7 p.m. Public comment, followed by Wildhorse Meadows discussion and the second reading of an ordinance involving the Riverwalk development

— Nearly in step with each other, two large-scale Steamboat Springs developments could be moving forward tonight.

The Steamboat Springs City Council is scheduled to discuss Wildhorse Meadows and Riverwalk tonight, potentially moving each project one step closer to submitting final development plans and breaking ground.

Central to both discussions is the issue of affordable housing.

The proposal for the Wildhorse Meadows development includes 567 residential units, more than 35,000 square feet of commercial space, and the addition of a gondola to the base of Steamboat Ski Area, all on a 47-acre plot adjacent to the ski area’s Meadows parking lot and the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs, south of the Steamboat Boulevard and Mount Werner Road intersection.

City Council members began discussion of the development last week. Members said tonight’s discussion will focus on the community housing plan for Wildhorse, which is subject to a city ordinance requiring that 15 percent of any residential development be used for affordable housing.

Developer Whitney Ward, a partner in RP Steamboat, LLC, has proposed a $1.4 million payment to the city “in lieu” of providing the required affordable housing. Council president Ken Brenner has said the council will consider such a payment, but the 92 affordable units required at Wildhorse have a value closer to $5 million.

If the council approves the housing plan and site layout for Wildhorse tonight, RP Steamboat partners Ward, Brent Pearson and David Hill could begin submitting final development plans — which include architectural specifics and design standards — for various phases of the project.

Such approval would put Wildhorse at the same place in the planning process as Riverwalk is now.

The Riverwalk development, along Yampa Street between Third and Fifth Streets, includes 72 residential units, seven deed-restricted affordable units, 35 hotel rooms, more than 32,000 square feet of commercial space and 108 underground parking garage spaces.

Tonight, the council could give final approval to an ordinance that would officially vacate portions of Yampa Street, Third Street and Fourth Street, adjacent to the Riverwalk property.

That property is currently home to Westland Trailer Park, which houses about 150 people in 39 homes. Riverwalk developers have pledged a payment of $1.5 million to the city as a public benefit to compensate for Westland’s affordable housing.

City attorney Tony Lettunich said tonight’s ordinance is a prerequisite for that payment.

Lettunich said $550,000 of the $1.5 million will be paid to Westland residents, and the remaining $1 million will go to the city, for a possible property purchase or “land bank” fund.

Council members “have a wide array of options, although they have committed to use (the money) for affordable housing,” Lettunich said.

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