Public raises concerns over parking, upkeep as City Council OKs Steamboat Hotel, Mountain Lodge conversion to workforce housing for resort
Steamboat Springs City Council members voted unanimously Tuesday to grant permission for two development groups that have purchased the Steamboat Hotel and Steamboat Mountain Lodge to convert them into 100 workforce housing dormitory units for Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. employees.
To approve the units before the winter season, council and the city planning department waived certain requirements in the community development code, with the agreement that the developers would seek reapproval from council before next season, with plans to follow all city codes at that time.
“I cannot stand before you and say it will be perfect, but I do think it’s what the community needs right now,” Senior Planner Kelly Douglas told council members Tuesday. “We know this is an unusual request of council for staff to be supporting.”
The groups — Reliant Group Management, based out of California, and K2 Developers out of Denver — closed on the former Steamboat Hotel, located at 3195 S. Lincoln Ave., and the former Steamboat Mountain Lodge, located behind the hotel, in late October.
Joe Sherman, CEO of Reliant Group Management, told council members for the 2021-22 winter season the properties would be used as dormitory housing, with two people sharing a room and a communal kitchen shared between several rooms. Sherman said the rental rates would be about $475 per person for an unrenovated room and $515 for a renovated room.
“We’re very excited to provide quality housing with large renovation and substantial investment, but this is temporary for the winter season,” said Mike April, vice president of acquisitions at Reliant Group.
Council member Heather Sloop said, based on calculations, she anticipated about 208 tenants in the buildings. With only 103 parking spaces reserved, several community members who spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting expressed concerns about parking in the area.
“The city has a history of allowing projects to go in with inadequate parking where people end up parking on the street,” said Steamboat resident Bill Jameson. “You’re going to have vehicles parked in fire lanes or on adjoining properties.”
Douglas said that all health and public safety codes must be met before the property can open to tenants, but the snow removal and parking plan may not be fully evaluated before the season starts. Still, Douglas emphasized that workforce housing in any form, even with inadequate parking and snow removal plans, is better than no workforce housing at all.
“Dormitory isn’t the end goal, and ultimately, parking and snow will be evaluated,” Douglas said. “Additional site improvements may be needed, and we will evaluate at that time.”
Scott Scouhgton, a resident who said he lives close to the hotel, told council members he is afraid of the property becoming rundown, which he said Ski Corp.’s other housing at The Ponds has become.
“We are fully supportive, but we’re surprised with the way this has been fast-tracked,” Scoughton said. “I would hope that there’s a metric for accountability, so that things that are said to be done will actually be done.”
As of this season, only Ski Corp. employees would be able to use the housing, which some council members expressed concerns about.
“This is a short-term solution to a significant workforce housing issue that we have in our community,” Trish Sullivan, vice president of human resources for Ski Corp., said in a response.
Sullivan also said Ski Corp. would commit to communicating with residents around the hotel and listening to their concerns.
“We want to be good neighbors,” Sullivan said.
To reach Alison Berg, call 970-871-4229 or email aberg@SteamboatPilot.com.
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