New vision for Steamboat base area condo project
Steamboat Springs — The developers who were planning to build a controversial 14-unit condominium project on Burgess Creek Road near the base of Steamboat Ski Area have scaled down their plans.
The new plans call for a five-unit development that isn’t as tall or dense as the previous proposal that the city approved in July.
Drawings submitted to the city show more contemporary multi-level units overlooking Ski Time Square and the ski slopes.
The project has also been renamed from The Viceroy to The Crawford at Burgess Creek.
Architect Eric Smith said Monday the Austin, Texas-based developers looked at the housing market and came to the conclusion that pulling the trigger on the denser project would have been a mistake.
The project would have required some phasing. And Smith noted the housing market still has not recovered to what it was in 2007.
“It’s really not practical to phase it,” Smith said, noting the steep building site requires extensive excavation work. “We really need to do this in one phase. It’s a difficult site to work on.”
Smith also noted pushback on the initial proposal received from neighbors also was a factor in submitting the new plans.
“This (new proposal) should be well received, I would hope,” Smith said.
Some residents on Burgess Creek Road feared the larger 14-unit project would add more traffic to an already busy street and cause more ice build up by casting a long shadow on the road.
And several residents in the nearby Stormwatch condos complained that the previous proposal was too tall and would obstruct their views of the base area.
The new proposal significantly reduces the height of the condominiums as viewed from Burgess Creek Road.
Stormwatch HOA president James Mac talked to other HOA members Monday and said the group finds the height reduction an improvement.
But the HOA thinks the height of the structure is only “one of a number of issues that are of public concern.”
“The members of the Stormwatch HOA feel questions of increased pedestrian/bicycle access to Burgess Creek Road, reduced sunlight exposure from building shadows (and accumulation of ice on the road surface) and the potential for a group of second homes that lack any commercial/retail space to remain mostly vacant, remain unanswered….,” Mac wrote in an email.
Charles Fuerste, a nearby townhome owner who was worried about the added traffic the project would bring to Burgess Creek, said the scaled-down proposal alleviated some of his concerns.
“I suppose it helps a little bit,” Fuerste said.
He added he would like to see some sidewalks added along the street in the future.
The original Viceroy project was approved by the Steamboat Springs City Council in a 5-2 vote.
Councilwoman Kathi Meyer, one of the “no” votes on the project, wanted to remand the proposal to the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission for consideration.
“This is just not fulfilling the vision we had when we adopted the base area plan,” Meyer said about the project.
Some community members said the base area plans call for more commercial and retail spaces near Ski Time Square.
Planning Director Tyler Gibbs addressed the issue by saying the property along Burgess Creek is 30 to 40 feet higher than other nearby properties in Ski Time Square, and it would take a very dedicated shopper or diner to make the trek up.
Council President Walter Magill joined Meyer in voting against the original proposal, arguing more needed to be done to secure pedestrian access on the property in the future.
Smith said the new project is likely to spark a fresh discussion in city council chambers about whether more contemporary buildings such as The Crawford will be allowed in a base area with older design guidelines.
Smith called those guidelines “outdated.”
“The current codes and the mountain base area design guidelines were written 10 to 15 years ago,” Smith said. “We’re trying to do a fresher, more contemporary product” that buyers are seeking.
The new plans will be heard by the City Planning Commission in February.
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Steamboat Springs Transit is currently in the process of securing seasonal housing for its winter employees, and transit staff members are also looking to build long-term housing on land the city owns.