City, county to hold talks on community plan
Steamboat Springs — Whether it’s a discussion with city or county planning commissions, a meeting with the Routt County commissioners or a night with the Steamboat Springs City Council, one document seems to come up more than any other the Steamboat Springs Area Community Plan.
Now, locals throughout the county can make sure their voices are heard as officials begin the public opinion process of updating the plan from 6 to 8:45 p.m. Friday and from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
The community plan is a set of guidelines adopted by the City of Steamboat Springs and Routt County in 1995 that represents a long-term vision for the community. Though the plan technically has no legal teeth, local government officials often refer to it for guidance in the decision-making process, Routt County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said.
The update of the plan will address recent issues that have been raised since 1995 as well as old ones. Those include: community design, economic development, growth management, capital facilities, environmentally sensitive areas, historic preservation, land use, natural and scenic resources, open land and recreation, housing and transportation.
“These meetings are designed for discussion from the community,” Steamboat Springs City Planner Tom Leeson said. “We are not going in with any preconceived ideas of what is going to be discussed.”
City and county officials will facilitate, but their main role will be as resources for the locals expressing their opinions, Leeson said.
Work groups will be put together to address each issue. From those work groups the facilitator will extract a “grass roots” perspective, Assistant Planning Director Chad Phillips said.
“The goal is, after we are in these groups, to come up with what we want a consultant to do,” Phillips said.
The county and the city will hire a consultant to write the update of the plan, he said. The update should be finished by December 2002.
“To me, the housing component is really something we need to look at outside the box,” Stahoviak said of one of the county’s concerns with the community plan. “So people who work in Steamboat Springs can live (there).”
She said there are concerns about residents who work in Steamboat moving to rural portions of the county and to smaller towns.
“It may be forcing additional development in communities (that) don’t want the growth,” Stahoviak said.
Such growth is a double-edged sword for smaller communities in the county, County Commissioner Dan Ellison said. Those communities, such as Oak Creek, Yampa and Hayden can benefit from some growth, as far as expanding the tax base. However, it does raise concerns about making growth pay for itself, as far as water, infrastructure and roads, Ellison said. Leeson said the city is interested in discussions on growth, environmentally sensitive, and capital facilities.
Locals interested in participating in the discussions on Friday and Saturday have three options to choose from and must RSVP.
The first option is participating in both Friday and Saturday meetings. Under option two, residents can have information sent to them and will have a chance to give written comment. Under option three, residents can observe both meetings but not actively participate.
Call 871-8258 for more information and to RSVP.
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