City council decision on west Steamboat annexation postponed to January | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat Springs City Council decision on west Steamboat annexation postponed to January

Brynn Grey Partners would develop this area west of the under-construction Overlook Park subdivision into three neighborhoods west of Steamboat Springs, should City Council approve annexing the land. (Photo by John Russell)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The first reading of an ordinance annexing 190 acres west of current city limits was delayed a second time.

Brynn Grey Partners, the developers who seek to build three neighborhoods in the area adjacent to the Overlook development west of town, have outstanding agreements slated to be included in the documents attached to the ordinance.

If you go

City Council Meeting
What:
Steamboat Springs City Council Meeting
When: 5 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 18
Where: Citizens' Meeting Room in Centennial Hall, 124 10th St.

If you cannot attend the meeting, you can contact city council or watch a live video stream of the meeting by visiting the city's website, steamboatsprings.net.

City council will also discuss the following topics.

  • An update to the definitions in the sales tax code
  • An update on West Lincoln Park and the River Queen
  • Approval of community support funding

Annexation townhalls
What: 
Townhall with Steamboat Springs City Council
When: 10 a.m., Jan. 12 and 5:30 p.m., Jan. 17
Where: Citizens' Meeting Room in Centennial Hall, 124 10th St.

The annexation was originally slated to go before council for first reading on Dec. 4, but it was postponed until Tuesday, Dec. 18 to grant Brynn Grey more time to negotiate the outstanding agreements referenced in the annexation ordinance.

Now, the first reading has been postponed a second time as Brynn Grey works through agreements with Overlook Park properties and the Routt County Rifle Club.

City Council will determine when the new date of first reading will be at its Tuesday, Dec. 18 meeting. City staff recommended the first reading of the ordinance be held Jan. 8. If approved on first reading, the annexation would still undergo second reading before it saw final approval.

The Tuesday, Dec. 18 meeting will instead focus on the status of these agreements and changes to the West Steamboat Neighborhood Pioneers.

Two town halls on the annexation will also be held in January. The meetings will start with an informal meet and greet, then move into a question and answer session with City Council. Light refreshments will be provided.

Outstanding agreements

Brynn Grey is still working out the details of a 12-acre land donation to Steamboat Springs School District. The school board is scheduled to discuss the proposed agreement during its meeting Monday.

A donation of two acres intended to allow the Yampa Valley Housing Authority to construct 50 housing units went before the Housing Authority board of directors Dec. 13.

According to documents Brynn Grey submitted for Tuesday's city council meeting, the developers are not aware of problems in its subordination agreement with Alpine Bank.

The same documents say that Brynn Grey is working with representatives of Overlook Park to finalize an access easement next week. The easement would connect Brynn Grey's development to U.S. Highway 40.

The most contentious of the outstanding matters regard the Routt County Rifle Club.

In 2010, the rifle club and Steamboat 700 signed a settlement agreement that would see the club surrender its conditional use permit and cease operations at its current location, had Steamboat 700's annexation proposal come to fruition.

This clause is frequently referred to as "the nuclear option" in recent annexation discussions. Steamboat 700's annexation was voted down in a referendum election, but this clause still exists.

Brynn Grey plans to purchase 190 of the 700 acres Steamboat 700 currently owns. The closest Brynn Grey property line would be about a third of a mile away from the rifle club's property line, according to Melissa Sherburne, Brynn Grey’s director of acquisitions.

Annexing the Brynn Grey property would not trigger the nuclear option, according to both Sherburne and Routt County Rifle Club President Mike Middleton.

"We're just taking advantage of the moment in time where we have leverage to secure our future with Steamboat 700 because Steamboat 700 could be in the position to hurt us," Middleton said.

Middleton said it is unclear if the nuclear option could be acted on, or if the nuclear option expired due to time passed or the no vote on Steamboat 700's annexation.

Middleton said the gun club agreed to the nuclear option at a time when the club's board believed it had an affordable piece of land nearby Steamboat they could move the shooting range to. That opportunity fell through years ago, he said.

Both Middleton and Brynn Grey say that Brynn Grey is facilitating discussion between the rifle club and Steamboat 700. Middleton said Steamboat 700 put forth the "unacceptable condition" that the gun club board and its members do not oppose an annexation.

One of Steamboat 700's managing partners, Mark Fine, said he has negotiated some items with Brynn Grey, but that 700 is not actively involved with rifle club negotiations. Fine supports Brynn Grey's proposal, but he didn't have much to say on the rifle club dispute. He said he hasn't seen proposals or conditions in writing, and for this reason, could not comment on the conditions Middleton said 700 put forth.

"Until I see a real proposal on anything, it's hard to comment," Fine said.

Middleton wasn't surprised by this.

"There's been a number of times where we were confused," Middleton said. “We didn't know how much the landowners, that is Steamboat 700, actually knew about what we were doing and what we were asking. There's been some lack of communication because we're working through an intermediary."

So, if Brynn Grey's annexation wouldn't close the rifle club, what's Brynn Grey's stake in the dispute?

Brynn Grey CEO David O'Neil said the company just wants to be good neighbors.

"We view the Routt County Rifle Club as an important Steamboat institution," O'Neil said." It's important to Steamboat's history and to its sportsmen and to law enforcement. We get it."

Middleton said he's not opposed to Brynn Grey's annexation proposal. He just wants to keep shooting at the range that's been in its current location since 1941.

"You could move freakin' Disneyland next door to us," Middleton said. "We don't care. Just leave us alone, and we'll all be happy."

Pioneers

At its Dec. 4 meeting, City Council instructed Brynn Grey to propose an equitable way to determine who is able to purchase the first deed-restricted homes built in the development.

Brynn Grey intended to offer the deed-restricted homes on a first-come, first-served basis to members of its stakeholder group, the West Steamboat Neighborhoods Pioneers. Pioneers paid a refundable payment of $100 to be placed on Brynn Grey's waitlist.

Brynn Grey now plans to present council with a lottery based on chance for Pioneers, to be overseen by the Yampa Valley Housing Authority.

To reach Eleanor Hasenbeck, call 970-871-4210, email ehasenbeck@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @elHasenbeck.

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