Planning commissioner challenges Dellinger |

Planning commissioner challenges Dellinger

Mike Lawrence

— Both candidates for a District 1 seat on the Steamboat Springs City Council hope to make local government more accessible to the public – and change inefficient procedures such as council meetings that extend late into the night.

Susan Dellinger is familiar with such meetings. Dellinger, 47, has served as City Council president since January. Before that, she served as the City Council’s president pro-tem since November 2005. She is now seeking re-election to her District 1 seat, but faces solid opposition from Scott Myller, a local architect and six-year member of the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission.

“I’d like to see council be more citizen-run. Right now I feel that our council tends to be professional politicians – they should rely on their staff more and trust their boards and worker groups, and do what they say,” Myller said. “I’d like also to see meetings be shorter, more to the point, and more friendly for the public who decide to show up. That would alleviate people waiting until 11:30 (p.m.) and then giving up and leaving, while the council passes important ordinances after the public has left.”

Dellinger also said City Council needs to streamline its meetings, potentially by less micro-managing and more of a focus on larger issues.

“I really want us to look at how we do business as a government – how we can improve the process and continue improvements we’ve already started, so that council is talking at a policy level, not a driveway- or culvert-level,” Dellinger said. “I want the process to work so well that it’s a legacy that can be left for any council, and so that the public has input.”

Dellinger said if re-elected, she hopes to focus on planning for Steamboat’s economic future and growth.

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“I’m looking forward to the economic sustainability (study, to be finalized in December),” she said. “I want us to really review our plans and our Community Development Code, and make sure that what we think is coming on an economic level is what we’re planning for.”

Myller stressed the need for greater input from council-appointed groups, such as the Planning Commission on which he serves.

“A lot of the decisions this council has made have been without Planning Commission input and insight, and I really don’t like what they’ve done,” he said. “The first was linkage and inclusionary zoning, the second was firing the (Routt County Regional) Building Department, and third was the moratorium on old houses downtown. :I’m especially down on linkage, because I think it’s already hard enough to run a business here. That’s just going to be a huge burden – I think it will discourage our economy from finding new ways to survive.”

Linkage fees compensate the city for housing needs created by development, and are part of affordable housing policies adopted by the City Council in June.

Myller, a mountain biker and Nordic ski racer, said he is running for City Council because of his love for Steamboat.

“I’m not looking for power or authority or anything like that,” he said. “I want to give back to the community.”

Dellinger, a former GIS coordinator for the city and an avid photographer, softball player and artist, said she wants to bring more of the community into policy conversations.

“I want to make sure that we have a fair forum, no matter who is speaking from the public. I think we can continue to improve that,” Dellinger said. “I want the public to be able to come in and speak comfortably – it’s such an intimidating environment (in Centennial Hall). The goal is to hear what people have to say.”

Susan Dellinger

Age: 47

Occupation: Yampa Valley Electric Association engineering technician

On the issues:

Historic preservation:

“Public input is No. 1. I think we need to define if the community wants historic preservation, and if they do, how do they want it; I really don’t think we asked that question clearly enough for people to understand. We have got to define what it is we’re trying to do, and who’s affected, and we absolutely have to have incentives.”


“I would like to see us really look at widening U.S. 40 from 13th Street to Steamboat II, even if it means using some of our funds. We’re not going to make it onto the federal-level list in time for our need. For my four-year term, that’s one of the things I would want to do first see what it’s going to take to improve U.S. 40 and then start doing it.”

Scott Myller

Age: 41

Occupation: Principal architect at West Elevation Architects

On the issue:

Historic preservation:

“I think we need to finish the historical significance survey that we’re about half done with, that’s step one. Step two is to identify specific properties that are eligible and get buy-in from owners. Then we need to provide incentives for proper remodels and additions. I tend to believe, though, that people buy old houses because they like old houses and want to take care of them. What I don’t like about these policies is that it assumes people don’t like their old houses and they won’t do a good job.”


“I think the problem that we have is frustrating, but not nearly as bad as anywhere else in the country. Life here still is good, despite a five-minute wait. Though we could improve things by getting two lanes each way on U.S. 40, west of 13th Street past Routt County Road 129.”