Local company gets initial OK to construct housing solution ‘for all incomes’ in Steamboat
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Local contracting company Eagle Mountain Builders is planning to construct one of the first private, large-scale developments in several years to focus on affordable housing in Steamboat Springs.
Kris Rainsberger, owner of Eagle Mountain Builders and a longtime Steamboat resident, presented the project to the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission last week to gain approval for construction of the 97-unit development.
The project, called the CoreTrail Apartments, will be located at 2385 Lincoln Ave. on the west end of the city adjacent to the Combined Law Enforcement Facility. Rainsberger described the development as a local housing solution for all incomes.
“We think it has a great impact on residents here in Steamboat,” Rainsberger said.
The development is one of the first large-scale affordable housing projects not developed by the Yampa Valley Housing Authority that has been planned in the last several years.
“I’ve been working on this project for the last three years to design and support a sustainable community built by locals for the local and future residents of Steamboat,” Rainsberger said.
A motion to approve the project was passed unanimously by the commissioners. It will now head to Steamboat Springs City Council for final approval.
“I’m going to support this. I think it’s a really nice looking project that meets the criteria for approval,” Commissioner George Eck said.
A potential issue regarded traffic along U.S. Highway 40, which borders the development to the north. The property is accessed via two entrances on Lagoon Court.
“I’m concerned about the volume of traffic we’re talking about. It’s not far from the intersection of Elk River and (U.S.) 40,” Commissioner Louis Tortora said.
While that specific intersection wasn’t taken into consideration with the traffic impact report, there are plans to mitigate any impacts at the nearby intersection of Downhill Drive and U.S. 40.
Because it will generate additional impacts to the intersection, the developers will be required to pay their per-rider share for improvements to the intersection, planned in the next one to two years. That fee accounts for about $54,000.
According to project planners, there will be an estimated 501 daily trips from the apartments, with 33 during the morning peak hours and 41 during the evening peak. There are a total of 128 parking spaces for the units in an unenclosed, covered parking under the building that essentially makes up the first floor.
“Our goal is to create a thriving community with affordable rates, great amenities, reducing commutes, highway congestion and keeping community values in mind,” Rainsberger said.
A variance sought by the developer included the ability to construct flat roofs, which does not follow the city’s development codes. According to Rainsberger, however, that is to allow for the addition of solar panels to power the building.
City principal planner Bob Keenan said it was a tradeoff.
“It doesn’t meet the intent of the look but that’s why we’re recommending it be reviewed, per the intent of the green roof standard, for environmental sustainability,” Keenan told the commissioners.
The project will also utilize prefabricated interior cores to reduce sitework time, which will be used for the buildings’ stairwells and elevator shafts.
Per the apartments’ namesake, there will be direct access to the Yampa River Core Trail to the south of the apartments.
Rainsberger said it would take one year to complete construction. The project’s modular design will limit build time to just two months.
To address local housing issues, Rainsberger said 25 of the units would be deed-restricted for workforce housing.
The plan includes multiple 508-square-foot studio apartments, one-bedroom apartments from 725 to 775 square feet and two-bedroom units at 1,013 square feet.
One impetus for the development is Rainsberger’s desire to create housing for “friends and family who are looking to move here and just can’t find a way.”
To reach Bryce Martin, call 970-871-4206 or email bmartin@SteamboatPilot.com.
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