City to address project’s housing |

City to address project’s housing

Wildhorse plan could be approved in less than a week

The layout for the Wildhorse Meadows development could receive approval in less than a week.

The Steamboat Springs City Council is scheduled to again discuss the massive, multi-faceted development at its meeting Tuesday. If the council approves the site layout, developers RP Steamboat LLC would clear a significant hurdle in the planning process.

“That would be an enormous step forward,” City Council President Ken Brenner said Wednesday.

Approval of the site layout would give a go-ahead to the entire development, which includes 567 residential units, more than 35,000 square feet of commercial space, and a gondola to the base of Steamboat Ski Area, all on a 47-acre plot adjacent to the ski area’s Meadows parking lot and the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs, south of the Steamboat Boulevard and Mount Werner Road intersection.

With that go-ahead, RP Steamboat partners Whitney Ward, Brent Pearson and David Hill could submit final development plans — which include architectural specifics and design standards — for various phases of the project. Ward has said that construction of Wildhorse Meadows could take place over as many as 10 years.

The City Council approval of the site layout is far from guaranteed.

Brenner and council President Pro-Tem Susan Dellinger said Wednesday that the council still needs to address the community housing plan for Wildhorse Meadows, specifically the development’s amount of affordable housing.

The city’s inclusionary zoning ordinance requires that 15 percent of any residential development be used for affordable housing. Brenner said Wildhorse Meadows comes in “at the bare minimum.”

The development may contain significantly less affordable housing than the zoning minimum. Ward has proposed an “in lieu” payment to the city of $1.4 million, to allow the city to buy land that could be used for affordable housing sites not built at the Wildhorse site. In the development proposal for the project, RP Steamboat lists $1.4 million as the current assessed value for the 92 affordable housing units required at Wildhorse.

City staff thinks that dollar amount is low.

Brenner said city calculations show that value to be more than $5 million. Steamboat Springs city finance director Don Taylor could not be reached late Wednesday.

Brenner said the council will “consider” an in lieu payment, and the development’s housing plan will be a “very substantive part” of Tuesday’s discussions.

“The inclusionary ordinance was made to integrate housing, not to make money,” Brenner said. “The question is, do those (affordable) units belong on site or off?”

To reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4203 or e-mail

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