Plan for ski base on city’s agenda |

Plan for ski base on city’s agenda

Council to discuss development tonight

— The Steamboat Springs City Council will again discuss One Steamboat Place at its meeting tonight.

One Steamboat Place has drawn significant public comment and interest at recent council meetings. The council could take action tonight on the proposed development, which would reshape the base of the Steamboat Ski Area dramatically.

One Steamboat Place is a multi-story, 500,000-square-foot, mixed-use development, proposed for about 4 acres next to the Gondola building and AprÃs Ski Way. The principal landowner behind the proposal is Timbers Co., an international resort development firm based in Carbondale. Local development firm Resort Ventures West is managing the planning process.

Resort Ventures West is a partnership that includes Whitney Ward, Brent Pearson and David Hill. The firm recently received City Council approval for Wildhorse Meadows, a 47-acre commercial and residential development adjacent to The Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs. Ward is the owner of Wildhorse Marketplace on Mount Werner Road.

Ward has said Wildhorse Meadows, which includes 567 residential units, a large hotel and a public gondola to the ski base, is financially tied to One Steamboat Place. In that sense, both developments are riding on a possible council decision tonight.

The council first discussed One Steamboat Place at a meeting Aug. 8.

Not addressed at that meeting was the development’s community housing plan. Timbers Co. is requesting to pay the city $418,000 in lieu of including affordable housing units in One Steamboat Place.

The city’s inclusionary zoning ordinance requires all residential developments to reserve a percentage of housing units as deed-restricted, affordable housing.

According to the ordinance, One Steamboat Place is required to include 13.9 units of affordable housing. The development includes 80 residential units, in addition to five employee housing units.

The $418,000 payment is equivalent to 17.4 affordable units that could be built or purchased at another site. The payment fulfills 125 percent of the housing requirement.

However, City Council President Ken Brenner said last week that the city’s current formula for calculating fee-in-lieu payments is “wrong” and should require more than the current per-unit amount of about $24,000.

A member of the Boulder Housing Authority told council members last week that Boulder’s fee-in-lieu calculation requires a payment of between $40,000 and $60,000 per housing unit.

Council members likely will discuss the payment proposal at their meeting tonight.

Also under question is the height of One Steamboat Place.

Timbers Co. is asking for a height variance that will allow the building to reach 104 feet, as opposed to the 67 feet allowed in city zoning codes for the site. Plans show a roughly M-shaped building as tall as six stories with adjacent wings connected by indoor walkways.

Several Steamboat residents have questioned the necessity for the height variance during public comment periods at recent council meetings.

Timbers Co. has built resort developments in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; Tuscany, Italy; Scottsdale, Ariz.; and Snowmass.

The council’s agenda also includes a request from city staff to apply for as much as $25,000 in grant funds from the state department of transportation, to boost alcohol-use prevention and education in local schools; a review of 2007 budget requests from the city departments of public works and public safety, such as a request for two additional police patrol officers; and action on an ordinance that would put an issue on the Nov. 7 ballot, asking voters whether to increase pay for City Council members.

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