Stagecoach residents still want housing, more commercial space as area grows |

Stagecoach residents still want housing, more commercial space as area grows

The Stagecoach area is one of two outside of municipalities in Routt County slated for growth. As the area grows, residents are looking for more commercial space too, which could help them avoid some trips to Steamboat.
Routt County Planning Department/Courtesy

Adding housing is still a priority for residents of the Stagecoach area, but they also want to add more commercial space that would allow them to get gas, groceries and maybe even see a dentist without a trip into Steamboat Springs.

In a virtual meeting with Routt County Planning Department staff and consultants on the county’s ongoing master planning effort last week, resident’s of Stagecoach and areas nearby discussed how they want Stagecoach to grow and what parts may be appropriate for non-housing uses.

“Since Stagecoach is identified as a potential growth area, we are trying to dive down into what that means for growth and development,” said Kristy Winser, Routt County planning director.

Stagecoach is one of two areas for growth in the county that are not within municipalities, with the other being neighborhoods and other land like the Brown Ranch west of Steamboat. Stagecoach’s area plan was last updated in 2017, but Winser said it would be updated again as part of the larger plan.

In that plan, Stagecoach is largely divided into two parts — one farther north near Stagecoach Reservoir and the other farther south. That northern half has been identified for higher density, with the lower half reserved for lower density housing.

Residents expressed a strong interest in single-family housing, and Winser said there wasn’t anyone against increasing housing.

While many lots in the north do have access to water and sewer, subdivisions in the south often don’t, which can make it more difficult to build on. Large portions of planned subdivisions in the south don’t even have roads built to them.

Getting utilities to these lots can be difficult, sometimes requiring neighbors to consolidate together around one well. While the Stagecoach area is considered over-appropriated by state regulators, Winser said it is within the Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District, allowing landowners to purchase augmentation plans to get water.

When it comes to nonresidential services, a grocery store in Stagecoach was widely favored when planning staff polled residents. Recreation and retail were also frequently selected options, in addition to a community space. One Stagecoach resident described “a gathering place where people could convene, go to the grocery store, pump gas, get together, have a cup of coffee and join into the community.”

Winser said that notion was supported by other comments on the meeting, with a coffee shop, liquor store and gas station being frequently mentioned. Other residents said having services like a doctor’s or dentist’s office nearby would be nice, allowing them to avoid a roughly 20 minute drive to Steamboat.

A community store, in a similar mold as North Routt’s Clark Store, was another popular ask among residents. There is actually space designated for a community store that was approved in 2006 and Winser said it simply has not been built.

Recreation is another development priority of residents, as it was in the 2017 plan as well. Residents expressed a desire to expand the trail network in Stagecoach, better connecting it to the vast amount of public lands nearby.

One resident suggested that the county needed to be thoughtful about open space when planning in Stagecoach, especially because of the risk of wildfire the area has. The Muddy Slide Fire burned for months just a handful of miles south of Stagecoach last summer.

“How do we create some of these open spaces to provide buffers potentially around some of these home sites that can serve as this nexus of natural resources slash defensible space,” she said.

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