FACT CHECK: What’s going on with street access to West Steamboat Neighborhoods?
Editor’s note: This story was corrected at 3 p.m. Monday, May 6 to reflect that three City Council members wanted to see the access agreement in writing before the annexation ordinance was approved.
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — As of now, the developers of West Steamboat Neighborhoods are still negotiating access to connect streets in the development to U.S. Highway 40.
This specific placement of the road is written into the annexation ordinance. If Brynn Grey Partners doesn’t have that agreement in place, the annexation ordinance as it’s currently written won’t take effect.
What’s the planned road access to the property?
There are two planned routes to get into West Steamboat Neighborhoods.
The neighborhood’s primary access is a planned Slate Creek Parkway through the development that links south to U.S. 40 — this is the access still under negotiation.
Secondary access — which is required by city fire code before the developers build 31 homes — is a finished Gloria Gossard Parkway west to Downhill Drive.
What’s the hang up?
Brynn Grey’s would-be property abuts U.S. 40, but the planned path of the neighborhood’s core road, the Slate Creek Parkway, crosses a sliver of private property that’s about 45-feet wide. This intersection would be across the highway from the access to Sleepy Bear Mobile Home Park.
That sliver of land is owned by Bing Racing LLC, a company with an address in southern Washington, according to the Routt County Assessor’s Office records. Overlook Park — the neighboring development to the east — has an agreement with the property owner that allows Overlook to grant that access, City Attorney Dan Foote said.
Overlook, as a condition of approval on their development, has to designate that same U.S. 40 access to the city before Overlook records its final plat, the document that lays out lot lines and rights of way, according to City Planning and Community Development Director Rebecca Bessey.
Brynn Grey said it has four options to get that access. Brynn Grey CEO David O’Neil didn’t comment on those options.
“It’s complicated, as you can appreciate, and probably best not negotiated in the newspaper,” O’Neil told Steamboat Pilot & Today.
At least two of those options would include negotiating with Overlook or the property owner, according to Foote.
How is access addressed in the city’s annexation ordinance?
The incomplete access agreement has been an issue for some time — it’s among the reasons why Steamboat Springs City Council tabled its initial approval of the annexation ordinance four times.
In a decision that was split 4 to 3, City Council elected to approve the annexation ordinance with conditions of approval that state the ordinance will not take effect until the developer has an access agreement in place and has purchased the land from Steamboat 700.
Council President Jason Lacy — among the four who voted “yes” — expressed support for approving the annexation ordinance with a condition of approval addressing the access agreement because secondary access is typically approved later in the planning process, when a developer files a final plat, he said at City Council’s Jan. 8 meeting. Kathi Meyers, Sonja Macys and Heather Sloop wanted to see the access agreement in writing before the annexation ordinance was approved.
Initially, the council set a date of May 31 to complete the access agreement. The annexation election has suspended the annexation ordinance, and now, council is considering pushing that date back.
At its April 16 meeting, council directed staff to bring forward an ordinance pushing that deadline to 60 days after the results of the election are certified, which would likely be sometime in September. The group will vote on this deadline at its Tuesday, May 7, meeting.
Why isn’t an agreement complete and signed?
Both in response to some City Council members concerns months ago and now, O’Neil said it takes time to work through these negotiations.
“When they’re negotiated in public or when deadlines are put on it in public, that makes it a little bit more challenging,” he said. “Those negotiations are ongoing. Whether or not we get it done before the election, we’re going to get it done.”
This story is part of the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s ongoing Fact Check series, which is intended to answer readers’ questions about the proposed West Steamboat Neighborhoods annexation. This series will be published with other annexation coverage at SteamboatPilot.com/news/annexation. If you have a question you’d like to see answered in Fact Check, email reporter Eleanor Hasenbeck at ehasenbeck@SteamboatPilot.com.
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