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Council approves housing

Wildhorse gets go-ahead to begin building

Residents of Westland Trailer Park have until Aug. 25 to submit a questionnaire about their relocation plans to the Yampa Valley Housing Authority, in order to receive compensation money from the city.

Elizabeth Black, housing authority director, said the questionnaires are needed to determine housing plans and the amount of money given to each Westland resident. Developers of the Riverwalk project, to be built on the land, gave the city $1.5 million as compensation for the loss of Westland's affordable housing. Of that amount, $550,000 will go to Westland residents, using a city-approved formula that takes into account factors such as length of home ownership and residency.

"That's why returning the questionnaire is so important," Black said. "If you don't submit, you're not going to get paid."

Black distributed questionnaires Monday.

The relocation process was triggered Tuesday night, when the City Council approved an ordinance to vacate portions of city streets adjacent to the Riverwalk property.

Black said checks will be dispersed as questionnaire results are processed. All checks need to be given by Oct. 1, she said. After Oct. 1, eviction processes can begin for remaining Westland residents.

— The Steamboat Springs City Council approved plans for Wildhorse Meadows Tuesday night, clearing the way for eventual construction of the massive, mixed-use development.

The council gave unanimous support to the development plan, site layout and community housing plan for Wildhorse Meadows, which will include 567 residential units, more than 35,000 square feet of commercial space, a large hotel, and a free, public 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.

At least 80 of the residential units will be deed-restricted as affordable housing and will be built on the site, ending the possibility of developers RP Steamboat, LLC, offering a payment of at least $1.4 million to the city “in lieu” of providing the affordable housing required by the city’s inclusionary zoning ordinance.



“We are going to build all of the (affordable) requirement on-site, at that location, and try to have an integrated community there,” RP Steamboat partner Whitney Ward said.

Before approving the development plan, council members discussed three aspects of the project: the placement of residential units along Mount Werner Circle, the gondola, and the historic Butterfly Barn already on the site.



The height and spacing of residences on Mount Werner Circle, at the top of a steep hill on the east edge of the development, had been a sticking point throughout the planning process. City planning commissioners and council members expressed concerns about blocking scenic views to the south and east, and whether to have residences facing the roadway. While the plan approved Tuesday includes buildings that could extend 35 feet above the roadway, several of those buildings are spaced 120 feet apart in an effort to preserve views.

“The density is what’s important to me,” Council President Ken Brenner said. “I would prefer to see a larger number of units there than an open space corridor along that road. Housing is the key element that we’re looking for.”

Council members Susan Dellinger and Steve Ivancie said they would have preferred to see those buildings built lower and facing away from the road.

“There’s just really no way you can have a streetscape on Mount Werner Road,” Ivancie said. “I think it’s creating a canyon effect, and really affecting our views to the south.”

All council members applauded RP Steamboat for reaching an agreement with American Skiing Co. that will make the gondola open to the public and free of charge.

But disagreement occurred over what to do with the Butterfly Barn, a historic structure on the site. Council member Towny Anderson said the development would “dwarf” the barn, and proposed moving it to a grassy area near the Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel.

“The thing is not stable enough to survive a move,” council member Kevin Kaminski argued.

While plans call for the barn to remain on the site, council members added an amendment saying efforts will be made to move the barn if an agreement can be reached with landowners.

Ward is also involved with plans for One Steamboat Place, a high-density residential development on 4 acres at the base of the ski area. He said that project is “financially tied” to Wildhorse Meadows, and will be coming before city officials in two or three weeks for approval.

If One Steamboat Place is approved, Ward said, infrastructure work on roads and sewer lines for Wildhorse Meadows could begin this fall.

To reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4203 or e-mail mlawrence@steamboatpilot.com.


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