Report on Steamboat Springs area plan released

Avi Salzman

A report released by the city and the county on the Steamboat Springs Area Community Plan meetings in November shows how active the local community has become in defining its future and how much work remains to be done.

The report outlines the recommendations of more than 100 community members from Steamboat and the surrounding area who will sit on 10 issue groups to help determine what will go into the plan.

The area plan touches on such issues as growth management, historic preservation and economic sustainability, serving as a document for both the city and county to reference in making policy decisions and analyzing development permits, among other issues.

The plan was initially drawn up in 1995 and has not been revised since.

Trenia Sanford, who participated in the kickoff event Nov. 9 and 10, said she learned an immense amount, but realizes how daunting it is to put together a project of this magnitude.

“The most significant thing that struck me about the meetings was that this is a really difficult and huge project and very convoluted,” Sanford said.

Sanford said she was amazed by just how interconnected the different issues facing the city are.

“You can’t talk about trails without talking about wildlife. You can’t talk about housing without talking about transportation,” she said.

The release of the report marks a new stage in the development of the area plan.

The city and county are currently searching for a consultant to help out with much of the technical work and give advice.

A request for proposals for a consultant went out Friday and the city has already received two inquiries from consultants, said city planner Tom Leeson.

Although the city already contributed $50,000 to the plan in 2001, funding for the plan from 2002 has been deferred and will be reviewed in April.

So far, the city has received grants in the amount of $70,000 to help pay for the update.

It received a $60,000 grant to help offset the costs for transportation studies and a $10,000 grant to fund historic preservation efforts in conjunction with the plan.

“It’s going to be an expensive plan, particularly with the level of technical analysis needed,” Leeson said.

Sanford urges everyone in the community to get involved in the process, if only for their own education.

“I think anybody who lives in this valley should have to sit in these kinds of meetings for a couple of days,” she said.

People can still join the groups by calling the city at 879-2060 and asking for the planning department, Leeson said.

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