Area plan update issues linger |

Area plan update issues linger

Commissioners unsure that plan will be ready for adoption by March 15

Susan Cunningham

— Routt County commissioners said Monday it will be difficult to have the Steamboat Springs Community Area Plan Update ready for adoption in time for a joint meeting between the city and county March 15.

“It’s not expected that we will have a clear enough draft that we could pass,” Commissioner Doug Monger said. However, he said, “I don’t think we’re that far off.”

Monger said he is largely happy with the direction of the plan and the amount of work that has gone into it.

A public work session at 4 p.m. today will be the last time county commissioners will discuss the plan before the joint meeting in two weeks.

Most important to county commissioners is that the plan not contradict any part of the Routt County Master Plan, which was adopted a year ago, county commissioners said.

Also important is where the funds to carry out the plan’s goals will come from, Monger said. Commissioners are concerned about “adopting a master plan we can’t afford,” Monger said.

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County commissioners are interested in changing the boundaries of the plan so land south of County Road 18, the Catamount area, is not included. They want to see a growth management policy, which would mean creating a Growth Commission. And they want binding language removed so the plan gives direction but not specifics.

“I personally am pleased (about) the direction we’re taking in the growth management,” Monger said.

Commissioners are concerned that growth caps or restrictions within the city of Steamboat Springs would have detrimental consequences in the county.

“If we continue to have economic prosperity and people wanting to move into the area, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out where they’re going to go” if growth restrictions are in place, Monger said. Those people likely would move into other communities, he said, but it’s optimal for people to live where they work.

County commissioners said there is an important difference in words such as “shall,” “may” and “should,” and that the plan should give general directions instead of specifics. Much of that issue had been taken care of, Monger said, but some instances exist.

County commissioners also said it is important for county officials to comment on the plan but to realize that on some issues, the city has the knowledge and authority to make final decisions.

The controversial Yampa Street Connector, which would join 13th Street with Yampa Street and close the current connection of 13th Street with Lincoln Avenue, is one of those issues, Monger said.

— To reach Susan Bacon, call 871-4203

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