Planning approves Elkins Meadows final plat |

Planning approves Elkins Meadows final plat

Christine Metz

The city Planning Commission approved a final plat for Elkins Meadow on Thursday night as it heard concerns about ski trail easements and complaints of damage to neighboring property.

Typically approved during the administrative review process, the final plat rarely needs a public hearing in front of the Planning Commission or the City Council.

A request from Planning Commissioner Dick Curtis and neighbors’ complaints had the Planning Commissioners review the final plat for 20 luxury homes in the 104-acre

Elkins Meadow off Fish Creek Falls Road. Curtis stepped down from the decision.

When the city approved Elkins Meadow almost a year and a half ago, one of the conditions of approval was allowing ski trail easements through the property for use by the Steamboat Ski Touring Center.

Sherri Sweers, the attorney representing the touring center, and its manager, Brigitta Lindgren, said the touring center wanted to ensure that condition was being met before the final plat was approved.

“We didn’t want (the easements) to be forgotten before the final plat approval.” Sweers said.

Sweers told the Planning Commission that last Friday her client received a copy of the ski trail agreement between the city and developer, which would be operated under a licensing agreement as opposed to an easement.

The touring center prefers easements, viewing them as a more permanent agreement. Sweers said she feared the licensing agreement could make the trails open for public use only during winter months.

Bob Weiss, representing the applicant Paul Franklin of The Wharton Development Group, told the Planning Commission it was at the city’s recommendation to pursue a licensing agreement as opposed to ski trail easements.

Both parties said they are willing to discuss the easements before the final plat goes to the City Council.

City Planner Tom Leeson said all the conditions — except for the ski easement — are being met in the approval and that the city holds a bond to ensure the developer will hold to the agreement.

The Planning Commission also heard a neighbor’s complaints about damage to her property she said was a result of construction this summer. Lauren Dobell, who owns 35 acres west of the development, said that soils, clays and other debris ran off the construction site and onto her property causing heavy silting in three ponds. She also said her fences and driveway were damaged.

Leeson told the commissioners the city is only accountable for approving and enforcing a site management plan. The city is not responsible for any damage on other property that could come from that plan.

In other business:

n The Planning Commission enthusiastically supported the pre-application plan for the redevelopment of the old Emerald City building and the adjacent development of a mixed-use building on the corner of 11th Street and Yampa Avenue. The project is 18,000 square feet.

The landowners, Michelle and Steve Caragols, proposed retail units facing Yampa Avenue and the river. One townhome also will be on the ground level. Seven two-story townhomes with balconies facing the Yampa River are proposed for above the retail units.

The old Emerald City building also would be a commercial unit with major renovation to the metal building. Four employee-housing units were proposed to go above garages behind the building.

The first level of the Yampa Avenue building would be made of brick with the second and third stories constructed of stucco and other materials.

“I applaud anyone who tries to develop or redevelop Yampa Avenue,” Planning Commissioner Kathi Meyer said. “I think it is such an important area. I really support everything I see here.”

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