City looks into options that could ease parking pinch for residents of Ski Town Square Condominiums
After getting direction from Steamboat Springs City Council, City Manager Gary Suiter was on the phone Wednesday, Nov. 16, working to make the idea of leasing parking spaces at Emerald Park to residents of the Ski Time Square Condominiums a reality.
“This morning my first phone call was with a member of the HOA board for Ski Time Square,” Suiter said Wednesday. “I had a conversation with him. I told him it would be nice to have a formal request in terms of what they’re looking for, the number of spaces they would need, and I told him that would trigger the process.”
The residents have been without parking since the parking structure they lease was closed for safety reasons and fenced off on Oct. 10. Since the closure, parking has been an issue for the residents, who were able to park overnight along Ski Time Square Drive until Nov. 1.
Since then, the residents have been given temporary access to the top level of the Steamboat Grand parking structure, but that arrangement will end Nov. 22, the day before Steamboat Resort opens for the 2022-23 ski season.
At this point, city officials say that finding an alternative place for residents to park is all they can do.
City officials admit that the available options are not ideal and will require the HOA to provide shuttle service to and from Ski Time Square. The HOA will also need to sign a lease agreement with the city, as well as pay for snow removal and parking enforcement. During discussions, it was pointed out that the closed structure was not a part of the city when it was built in the early 1970s.
“I‘m not going to belabor the details, but I‘ve been doing some digging and I don‘t really see a basis for us to intervene in a dispute between the HOA and the owner of the parking structure,” said Dan Foote, the city‘s attorney.
At their meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 15, City Council members were empathetic to the plight of the residents, but felt limited in what the city could do.
The HOA has filed a legal complaint against DBT, the developer that owns the parking structure, in district court. HOA board member Marcus Fresques said the hearing is a last resort for the association and will not take place until April 2023. He said the HOA would rather settle with the developer outside of the courtroom.
Until there’s a solution, the residents are looking for any options, even if they are not ideal.
“It definitely would be helpful, especially because trying to find parking in Steamboat Springs is practically impossible — especially in the winter,” said Michael Bambha, who is living in a condominium his parents have owned for years.
He isn’t sure what he will be doing once the parking he currently has in the Steamboat Grand structure goes away.
“I’ve been looking for a while now, and I guess if the city was going to provide something or allow us to use something, that will be a massive help,“ he said. “It’s definitely a huge inconvenience parking in Emerald, but we don’t have many options.”
Mike Silverberg is a Denver resident who purchased his property at Ski Time Square more than 20 years ago. He and his family visit Steamboat Springs several times a year. The family uses the unit, and when they are not in town, he rents it out to cover the HOA costs, taxes and the other expenses that go along with ownership.
The dispute between the HOA and the developer is not only affecting full-time residents; it‘s also impacting those who like to visit Steamboat with their families. Silverberg said the lack of parking has made it difficult for him to rent his unit, and that’s money he needs to own the property.
“The best way to describe the situation at Ski Town Square is that there’s a there‘s a physical and economic hardship is taking place for everybody that lives there or is a guest or rents,” Silverberg said. “Without parking, there’s just multiple impacts on everybody’s daily lives, including those that are longtime residents that need their vehicles to get to their jobs or shop for groceries and respond to emergency situations.”
Silverberg said he is part of a subset of longtime owners who have been in their units for more than two decades.
“The owners and people that live there, we kind of talk about ourselves as a blue-collar building,” Silverberg said. “Nobody that’s living there is rich or flying in on a jet.”
He added that the economic impact of what is happening at Ski Time Square is more widespread than people realize, as he said the parking situation is also impacting businesses in Ski Time Square and beyond.
John F. Russell is the business reporter at the Steamboat Pilot & Today. To reach him, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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