Barn Village issues may stall progress |

Barn Village issues may stall progress

Road, building preservation debated

Sweet Pea fallout

During public comment Tuesday night, three Steamboat Springs residents talked about a recent plea agreement that sent two men to Routt County Jail for six months for misdemeanor trespassing charges stemming from a June 26 arrest. The men have admitted to stealing food from trash containers on private property at Sweet Pea Produce on Yampa Street.

The residents spoke to the council about the effect that national attention to the case could have on Steamboat's economy and image, and on what the sentencing says about a town that prides itself on friendliness.

"Even though you have no jurisdiction, you may have to deal with the repercussions," one woman told the council. "It has basically made our town a laughingstock of the country."

Council member Towny Anderson said the council should send a letter to District Attorney Bonnie Roesink expressing its disagreement with the sentencing, but other council members said such a move would be hasty.

"We have to find out a lot more before we just pass judgment," Kevin Kaminski said.

The council agreed to allow city staff to prepare a draft letter, which the council will review and discuss at noon Thursday, when it meets as the city's Liquor License Authority at Centennial Hall.

— Disagreements that could stall approval of a residential subdivision near Yampa Valley Medical Center are occurring while time runs out to preserve a historical barn on the site, city officials said Tuesday.

The Steamboat Springs City Council discussed several logistical concerns about the preliminary plat for Steamboat Barn Village, a project the council praised overall at its meeting Tuesday night. If approved, the subdivision would include more than 90 housing units of various sizes on 63 lots, spread across a 39-acre site south of Fish Creek, north of Central Park Drive and east of Pine Grove Road. In addition to the housing units, the Steamboat Barn Village proposal also includes a 4-acre public park surrounding the More Barn, a historical structure that has been a local icon for decades.

But the unsteady, aging structure – which most people know as the barn in a classic Steamboat Springs poster, set in a snowy field before the backdrop of Steamboat Ski Area – might not survive another season of heavy snow.

“It’s a real question as to whether the barn is going to make it through the winter or not,” council member Towny Anderson said. “Time is wasting.”

Development consultant Pe-

ter Patten of Patten Associates told the council that an “emergency restabilization” of the barn could begin within 30 days after approval of the project. The council will discuss the preliminary plat – or site layout and design – for Steamboat Barn Village at its meeting Sept. 19. A final plat for the subdivision then also must be approved for development to move forward.

Anderson asked whether plans for stabilization of the barn could begin before project approval. Applicant Robert Comes of Steamboat Holdings II, LLC said that is not likely, given conversations he has had with landowner and longtime rancher Jerry More.

“(More) has made it clear to me that he’s not interested in doing anything to the property until this thing is approved,” Comes said.

Planners of Steamboat Barn Village also are facing an impasse about road access to the subdivision from Central Park Drive, through property owned by the medical center. The medical center’s board of directors question what the center would get in return for allowing use of the property, medical center Chief Executive Officer Karl Gills said.

Although planning documents cited a need for an agreement by Tuesday, Gills said that despite numerous “amicable” discussions, an agreement about road access may not be reached by Sept. 19.

“It is unlikely that you can anticipate, at this point, the (medical center) board making a decision by your meeting on the 19th,” Gills told the council. “Our feeling is that housing may not be the highest and best use of that property.”

Council members Paul Strong, Kevin Kaminski and Steve Ivancie said that not agreeing on road access would be a “deal-breaker,” preventing project approval.

“You have to have that access before you move forward,” Strong said.

Council members also questioned the subdivision’s community housing plan. Although Patten said the required 11 affordable units would be included on-site, several council members asked that affordable housing be integrated throughout the development, rather than confined to one area.

The council took no action Tuesday on the preliminary plat, which it will address again in two weeks.

“I think a lot of this discussion will be heard on the 19th,” city attorney Tony Lettunich said.

Council member Susan Dellinger was absent Tuesday.

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