Steamboat City Council won’t appeal judge’s order that blocked downtown apartment project
September 20, 2017
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — After meeting behind closed doors late Tuesday night with their attorney, Steamboat Springs City Council members decided not to appeal a judge's ruling that blocked a controversial downtown apartment project.
The decision means the 60-unit apartment project at 1125 Lincoln Ave. cannot move forward.
The council last year had granted three variances for the apartment project that allowed it to be taller, more dense and closer to the street on the top stories than city codes allow.
But after an Old Town resident who opposed the project challenged it in court, Judge Shelley Hill ruled the city had improperly granted those variances and reversed them.
City Attorney Dan Foote had urged the council to appeal the judge's decision and said the city would have a strong case to overturn the ruling.
But a majority of council members on Tuesday decided it would be best to instead change the city codes if the council wants to allow taller, more dense buildings downtown.
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Council President Walter Magill still wanted to mount an appeal.
He worried that if the city did not challenge the ruling, it could not grant variances to developers in the future because of the threat of more legal challenges. He also expressed concern that it would take a long time to change the city's codes.
City Manager Gary Suiter countered that the council had proven this month that code changes can be done in a short amount of time.
The council recently amended its code outlining the contributions developers must make for intersection improvements near their developments.