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Project gets OK from city

In preapplication process, co-housing plan mostly praised

Christine Metz

— The City Council gave glowing reviews to the River Place co-housing project during Tuesday night’s preapplication hearing.

Although council members expressed concerns over small technical issues, they applauded the applicants for the creativity and innovation used in the development plan of 12 single-family homes and six “live-work” or commercial units proposed for a group of Steamboat Springs locals.

“This is really an inventive project and exciting project,” Councilman Paul Strong said.

“Personally, I feel this is a wonderful thing for our entrance (into Steamboat) so we just don’t have another strip mall,” he said.

The applicants, Rob Dick and Kathy Crawford, are also asking for the 7.68-acre site to be subdivided into two lots. Dick told the council he was looking at the other lot for another mix of residential and commercial units.

Coming into the planning meeting, one of the biggest issues facing the project on U.S. 40 north of Steamboat Christian Center was its closeness to a source of city water. At the Planning Commission meeting in August, the development had not received approval from the Mount Werner Water District, which owned an infiltration gallery 300 feet away from the site.

Earlier this summer, the council had denied the approval of a development of a gas station, liquor store and car wash proposed 1,000 feet away from the infiltration gallery, which is a kind of horizontal water well.

But at Tuesday’s meeting, Mount Werner Water Manager Bob Stoddard said the district has worked with the applicants and created a list of mitigations the residents would have to follow to ensure they were not polluting the water source.

Although the council considered that problem solved, other issues arose with the alignment between Dougherty Road leading into the development and the proposed Stone Court Road connector on the east side of U.S. 40. Another concern was the development’s encroachment into the front of the U.S. 40 setback. Council President Kathy Connell did give a word of caution to the applicants, asking that they give special consideration to the architecture of the development, which is part of the eastern entrance to Steamboat.

“With the entrance into the valley, we cannot forget that we are a rural community and rural architecture is appropriate,” she said. “Really look at the architecture. It can either be ugly or look like it has always been there. (It should not be) some new concept that has the ability to standout as a potential sore thumb.”


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