Proposed mixed-use development on Yampa Street moves forward
In a unanimous vote, the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission recommended approval for a three-story mixed-use development at 608 Yampa St.
The 13,738-square-foot structure would be on the corner of Sixth and Yampa streets, and adjacent to the section of Butcherknife Creek that runs through the parking lot south of Clyde’s Pies.
Under the proposed plan, the first floor would have a commercial/retail space facing Yampa Street, which the developers believe would be ideal for a historical art museum with items for retail purchase, or perhaps subdivided for a hair salon. The side of the building facing Sixth Street would have access to a “semi-underground” parking structure.
The western side of the building facing the creek would have a two-floor patio with snow melt floors and fireplaces on both levels. The patio would also have an accessible ramp and gated access to Yampa Street. The upper patio is intended to serve the residential units on the upper floors.
The second and third floors would have four, 2,000-square-feet condominiums with three bedrooms and three bathrooms.
The developers sought approval for five variance requests, which the city’s staff and planning commission determined were relatively minor.
One variance request, for example, was due to the building being too close to Butcherknife Creek, but the developer designed that section of the building as a patio so it wouldn’t be a wall that approaches the creek.
The city’s staff determined that none of the variances of the development plan would negatively impact nearby properties, and the commissioners agreed.
But Jacobs’ development plan raised some concerns by neighboring residents.
When looking at the illustration of the proposed structure from the perspective of the street corner, peeking out from the right of the image are the patios of the Alpenglow Condominiums, whose view of Yampa Street would be completely blocked by the new building.
During public comments, two Alpenglow residents brought their concerns to the commissioners.
“We obviously knew that lot would be developed at some point,” said Stephanie Welsh, who shared several concerns with the plan including its rooftop area, saying that a rooftop deck, a pergola and stair access structure make the roof area feel like an additional floor.
She also said she didn’t think the building’s look fit with the surrounding area and the blank walls facing Alpenglow would be a sore sight.
“It’s kind of a bummer that it’s that close and the way it looks,” Welsh said.
Jacobs addressed those concerns by saying that he didn’t want windows facing the adjacent property for privacy reasons, and that the city’s code doesn’t require any space between the two buildings but plans to set the structure five feet from its neighbors anyway out of consideration.
The other resident who voiced concerns, Suzanne Dixon, said she was concerned about the health of Butcherknife Creek and asked if there was an environmental study performed that showed the possible effects the building could have by casting a shadow over the creek’s vegetation and wildlife.
Senior Planner Kelly Douglas said that the city’s code doesn’t require an environmental study in this specific instance, and members of the planning commission said they would expect any structure built there to cast a similar shadow.
Dixon also said she was concerned about parking spots being lost to make way for access to the parking garage.
The architect of the project admitted that about 1.5 parking spots expect to be lost to make way for the parking garage access, and perhaps another spot could be lost on the street corner as the plan calls to extend the sidewalk in front the building.
Douglas responded saying that the city’s staff determined the project’s impact on parking isn’t significant enough to reject the development plan.
The commissioners shared some of the same concerns as the neighboring residents, but ultimately didn’t feel they rose to the threshold necessary to not recommend the development plan to City Council.
“The last time we built a large building downtown was 2007-ish,” said Commissioner Derek Hodson. “So, we’re going to see some contemporary looks move into more current, and it seems to meet with the idea of what downtown building code is all about.”
To reach Spencer Powell, call 970-871-4229 or email him at spowell@SteamboatPilot.com
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