Planning Commission denies application for The Foundry rehab center
Steamboat Springs — The Routt County Planning Commission has denied a special use permit to open a drug rehabilitation facility off Highway 131 outside Steamboat.
All but one member of the commission voted down the permit application for The Foundry Thursday night, but the final decision as to whether the facility can begin operations will be up to the Routt County Board of Commissioners, who take up the application later this month.
“I think as laudable of a project as this is, and as needed as these kinds of activities are, this isn’t the right place for it to happen,” said Planning Commission member Bob Woodmansee. “The intent of the zoning regulations, I think, are violated by this.”
The commission was specifically tasked with deciding whether the intensity of use of the property was appropriate for its proposed location.
At full capacity, The Foundry would be a private 24-bed substance abuse rehabilitation facility with five to seven employees on staff at a time, making 12 car trips in and out of the property per day, according to its application.
The location is a 48-acre property owned by an LLC registered to local resident Scott Borden on Highway 131, about 10 miles south of Steamboat.
Numerous bordering neighbors of the property spoke out in opposition of the application, although nearly every speaker supported the need for a rehabilitation center similar to The Foundry in Routt County.
Bordering property owner Bill Morris, the owner of Rising Sun Ranch, said the location of a substance abuse rehab among “historical ranchlands” in rural Routt County wasn’t appropriate. He also said he currently is in a landlord/tenant agreement with someone growing marijuana in a greenhouse on his property and has plans to install a second greenhouse for the same purpose soon.
“The location choice is just not right, for so many reasons,” Morris said. “I told [Borden] the neighbors would never be on board.”
One neighbor said that each neighboring property is home to families with two to four people.
At full capacity, over the course of one year, up to 100 people could be living at The Foundry at different times, according to Daniel Berkey, an attorney who spoke on behalf of The Foundry during the meeting.
Members of the public who spoke said that approving the application would violate Routt County’s master plan, interfering with the rural character of the area in which it was proposed, and said that such a commercial facility should be located closer to a designated growth center.
One neighbor who lived a half-mile from the property said he supported the efforts of the applicant, and at least two letters submitted to the planning commission also supported The Foundry, including a letter of support from Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp.
Commission member Richard Klumker was the lone vote in support of the application.
“I think this would be an excellent place for it,” Klumker said. “I would like to see it carried through.”
Woodmansee said that while special use permits might be granted in the area for farmers or ranchers wanting to supplement their income with a non-agricultural commercial activity, The Foundry represents a commercial activity not related to agriculture.
The Board of County Commissioners will discuss the application at a meeting at 1:30 p.m. March 24.
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