‘Imperfect, but a good step’: City Council grants final approval for West Steamboat annexation
February 5, 2019
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Springs could soon be two-tenths of a mile bigger.
The Steamboat Springs City Council granted its final approval of the annexation of 191 acres west of city limits, which is slated for development as West Steamboat Neighborhoods, a complex of three neighborhoods including single-family homes, townhomes and an apartment complex.
At a glance
The second reading was council’s final approval of the annexation proposal, but city voters have until March 7 to file a petition to hold a referendum election on the ordinance.
A petition would require about 1,078 verified signatures, which is equivalent to 10 percent of the total number of registered voters in Steamboat in the 2017 municipal election.
The referendum process is outlined in Article 8 of the Steamboat Springs Revised Municipal Code.
Brynn Grey CEO David O’Neil said the company will start working through the planning and land use process once the 30-day window for a referendum has passed.
“After three years and 28 meetings, we’d love to some finality,” he said. “We’ll just see what happens.”
Council members Robin Crossan, Jason Lacy, Scott Ford and Lisel Petis voted in favor of the annexation motion. Sonja Macys, Heather Sloop and Kathi Meyer opposed it.
The annexation will be nullified if the developers, Brynn Grey Partners, do not meet two conditions of approval. By May 31, Brynn Grey must have a finalized access agreement with the neighboring Overlook Park development, and by Nov. 12, Brynn Grey must purchase the property from the current owners.
The development will undergo additional review as it works through the city's planning process, including a development plan and preliminary plat.
"After three years and 28 meetings, we couldn't be more excited," Brynn Grey CEO David O'Neil.
The greatest point of contention in the meeting was the negotiation of an access easement between Brynn Grey and the developers of Overlook Park.
Bob Zibell, the developer of Overlook Park, spoke during public comment, and standing at the podium before council, he waved a stapled stack of papers that he said was an access agreement signed by representatives of his company, which Brynn Grey had not accepted.
"We're almost there," O'Neil said. "We both need to get it resolved, and I think we'll get it taken care of."
Macys brought forward a motion to table the measure until the agreement was finalized. All was quiet for a few seconds before Sloop seconded the motion for the sake of bringing it to discussion.
It failed 6 to 1, with Macys the only member in support of the measure.
"The alternative we could have to that is — David says we're almost there — we could move up the contingency deadline from November to a closer date," said Council President Lacy.
Previously, council had given Brynn Grey a Nov. 12 deadline to purchase the property and iron out the access agreement.
Macys, Sloop and Meyer opposed the ordinance at both first and second reading.
Meyer said she couldn't support the annexation motion without an executed access agreement and that she wanted to put it before Steamboat's voters.
Sloop said she supported the need for housing and the neighborhood, but the decision would have implications for future taxpayers. She said she "gave great pause" at the affordability of the homes in the neighborhood and expressed concern that those buying deed-restricted homes won't have to meet an income cap.
"I think it should go to public vote," she said. "I think we, as council, gave the public a wonderful package that they can wrap their minds around, and they'll have plenty of time to do that."
Macys also wanted to see an executed agreement. She said she felt good about the process behind the annexation, but she couldn't vote in favor of it until she saw the full package including the finalized agreement.
"I have defended this council, and the process that everybody has gone through to get this agreement to the best place it can be," Macys said. "It is not perfect for everybody. It doesn't have everything that everybody wants, but I will not, because I have a no vote, throw anybody under the bus or sabotage this particular project. I do believe you guys have done a lot of hard work prior to me coming on board, and the developer has been good at working with me to address some of the concerns that I have."
The idea of the Brynn Grey proposal as an imperfect but good step arose as a theme of the evening in both public comment and council discussion.
Crossan said a person showed her the cover of a local magazine from the 1970s. The lead story was a declaration that there was not enough affordable housing in Steamboat.
"We're never going to get to the end," she said. "We're never going to have enough housing. We're never going to have the right traffic patterns. We're never going to be perfect. This project is far from perfect. … I know this is a good step for the community. It's not perfect. It's not the only step, and we need to do many, many more. This is one piece of a puzzle we'll never completely solve."
To view the meeting in which this topic was discussed, visit docs.steamboatsprings.net:10100/OnBaseAgendaOnline/.