Permit processing backed up
Change in City Council's agenda causes slowdown
Steamboat Springs — There is a waiting list printed in red magic marker in the city’s planning offices. Right now, the next developer placed on that list won’t have a development hearing until Oct. 16.
The slowdown in the processing of development permits is not a growth-control measure, according to city planning staff. It has more to do with City Council’s decision to place only two developments on each of its agendas. On top of that, the council hears no permits at all during the second of its three scheduled monthly meetings because those meetings are reserved for policy discussions.
“It’s unfortunate when Planning Commission is willing to take on four projects at a time, but because of the new schedule, it takes a longer time to get on the City Council agenda,” said Assistant Planning Director Tim McHarg.
One reason the processing of permits has taken so long is that City Council has been working diligently on adopting a new Community Development Code, a document designed to simplify the development process, said City Council President Kevin Bennett. Special meetings on the code, in addition to discussions on the code during regularly scheduled council meetings, have slowed the usual permitting process down, he said.
In addition, development applications come to the city in waves, Bennett said. While the demand for hearings right now is high, at other times there are few developers seeking permits, he said. With all of the issues currently on the city’s plate, some people may have to wait, he said.
As far as Ron Wendler of Colorado Group Realty is concerned, the delay is throwing a wrench into his business plans.
On March 28, Wendler turned in his application to build a 13,000-square-foot storage space called Elk River Storage in an industrial area. But he will have to wait until Sept. 18 to have it heard by City Council. Plans to start construction in July have fallen by the wayside, he said.
“I do respect what they’re trying to do, but enough is enough,” Wendler said. “I’m giving them everything they want. Why is it taking so long?”
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Real estate transactions totaled $42,885,400 across 51 sales for week of Sept. 17 to 23.