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Council to set priorities

Wide-ranging discussion to include goals for 2007 and beyond

Drahota Constructions' Landon Hawkins controls traffic along a street in front of the Alpenglow development site in downtown Steamboat Springs on Monday afternoon. The project is one of several that will change the face of downtown. Tonight, the Steamboat Springs City Council will attempt to prioritize economic, housing and growth issues related to Steamboat's construction boom.
John F. Russell

Agenda

4:30 p.m. Executive, or secret, session to discuss possible land purchases to meet city needs including affordable housing, open space and the relocation of public facilities; and to discuss issues related to the alignment of the New Victory Highway west of downtown Steamboat Springs.

5 p.m. (or after conclusion of secret session) Discussion of City Council priorities and goals for 2007.

7 p.m. Public comment

If you go

What: Meeting of the Steamboat Springs City Council

When: 5 p.m. today

Where: Centennial Hall, 124 10th St.

Contact: Call city offices at 879-2060 for more information.

— Steamboat Springs officials are taking a broad look at how to manage booming growth with the city just weeks away from a season of unprecedented construction.

The primary agenda item for tonight’s Steamboat Springs City Council meeting is a discussion about the council’s priorities and goals for not only 2007, but years to come. Based on a spreadsheet of topics prepared by several council members, the group will conduct a wide-ranging discussion about issues including affordable housing policies, redevelopment at the base of the Steamboat Ski Area, economic development, and infrastructure growth west of downtown Steamboat.

Councilman Towny Ander-son, who drafted the spreadsheet with City Council President Susan Dellinger and Council-woman Karen Post, acknowledged Monday the scope of tonight’s meeting is huge.



“We’re looking at somewhere between 20 and 30 weeks of work,” Anderson said of issues to be prioritized for future meetings. “I think the conversation starts by saying: ‘Here is the stuff that is in play.’ This is a way of making sure that things don’t fall through the cracks.”

Anderson is skiing in western Canada and won’t attend tonight’s meeting, but said the council’s three points of focus should be planning growth in the base area, downtown and west of Steamboat.



“You can really organize this around those three, and then start to prioritize,” Anderson said. “But the theme that runs throughout, no question, is affordable housing.”

Dellinger said she hopes tonight’s meeting will lead to concrete council actions, such as purchasing land, that will allow the city to enact housing policies in the future.

“If we start buying property now, we can start planning for what’s coming,” Dellinger said Monday. “We’ve been talking about affordable housing for 25 years, but we didn’t buy any property.”

Buying land also would help the city plan for a possible future relocation of the U.S. Post Office at Third Street and Lincoln Avenue.

“We may not see it happen as our council, but I’m hoping that we’ll put it there for the next one,” Dellinger said of a post office move. “(Buying land) is not going to be easier for anybody else.”

Numerous mixed-use development projects are scheduled to begin construction this spring, both downtown and at the ski base. The city also is building a new Steamboat Springs Community Center, a massive expansion of Bud Werner Memorial Library is planned, and the Steamboat Springs School District is scheduled to break ground this summer on a new Soda Creek Elementary School.

Councilman Ken Brenner, who also prepared a list of priorities for tonight’s meeting, said he hopes developing Steamboat’s renewable energy resources will top the list, along with finalization of city housing policies such as financial or building requirements for developers.

Brenner noted the council has intended to address the priority list for the past several months, but kept postponing the discussion due to more immediate needs.

“This has been so long overdue,” Brenner said. “There’s an awful lot going on in our town, and it’s changing very quickly. While we may have thought about a lot of these issues in the past, we have to begin acting on them now.”


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