Steamboat planning commission OKs Powder Room
Base area nightclub presents noise, parking mitigation plans
Steamboat Springs — Editor’s Note: This story has been changed from its original version, to reflect that Powder Room owner Scott Agnew has worked in the bar and nightclub industry for 23 years. The original story incorrectly said Agnew has lived in Steamboat Springs for that amount of time.
A proposed base area nightclub that has drawn noise and parking concerns from Clock Tower Square homeowners received initial support from city officials Thursday night in Centennial Hall.
The Steamboat Springs Planning Commission voted, 6-0, in favor of the Powder Room and against an appeal by homeowners seeking to overturn the approved change of use for the space the Powder Room would occupy. The Steamboat Springs City Council will have the final say and is scheduled to address the appeal March 15.
But despite noise conflicts between nighttime-centered businesses and homeowners near them, conflicts that in recent months have occurred in downtown Steamboat Springs and at the base of Steamboat Ski Area, the brief Powder Room hearing created little noise itself Thursday night.
No one representing the appeal attended the meeting. Steamboat Springs lawyer Jill Brabec, who is representing the six Clock Tower homeowners, said in a Feb. 16 letter to the Planning Commission that “schedules and previous commitments” prevented attendance Thursday by those making the appeal.
City senior planner Bob Keenan addressed homeowners’ code questions and parking concerns to the Planning Commission, explaining each time why city staff thought the Powder Room proposal to be in compliance with city regulations and base area zoning.
Planning Commissioner Rich Levy said afterward that homeowners’ complaints were an example of “not in my backyard” opposition.
“There were no grounds” for the appeal, Levy said. “We see the NIMBY thing all the time.”
He said the Powder Room proposal meets usage criteria for the high-density ski base.
“I empathize that (Clock Tower homeowners) have had quiet condos for a long time, but it’s caveat emptor,” Levy said, using the Latin phrase meaning “let the buyer beware.”
Give and take
The Powder Room formerly occupied space at the St. Cloud Mountain Club in Torian Plum Plaza and is seeking to reopen on the ground floor of the Clock Tower Square building, possibly before the end of ski season.
Regarding homeowners’ concerns about parking and access for people with disabilities, Powder Room owner Scott Agnew said Mile High Banks has agreed to allow Powder Room customers to use some spots in the parking lot adjacent to the Clock Tower building. Furthermore, Agnew said, Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. has agreed to allow use of the nearby split-level parking garage across Mount Werner Circle from The Steamboat Grand.
Agnew said noise concerns would be mitigated by the Powder Room’s ground-level location, “built into the hillside” on the opposite end of the building from the residences.
Developer Jim Cook confirmed the parking agreement with Mile High Banks, which he represents. Cook also spoke against the appeal, calling it “fuzzy math.”
“We have six units that are dark probably 80 percent of the year,” Cook said, adding that those homeowners “want to decide about a base area that not only lacks vitality, it lacks anything.”
Cook said new businesses are crucial for a base area that might not see additional new development for “five or 10 years” — except, he said, for one site.
Cook confirmed that he’s representing a developer who is “exploring plans” for commercial construction on a site directly in front of the Clock Tower building, fronting Ski Time Square Drive. Cook declined to discuss details.
Despite their absence Thursday, homeowners have sent letters to Tyler Gibbs, the city’s director of planning and community development.
Homeowner Bob Atkinson wrote a letter dated Jan. 7.
“It will be impossible for the children and infants (as well as the adults) staying in the residential condos to not be disturbed by the noise of the music and loud and boisterous behavior,” Atkinson wrote. “I am sure the children can learn new four letter words every night, learn what ‘inebriated’ means, and get to witness an occasional fight. … If children and families are driven away, it will greatly devaluate both the residential space and the commercial space.”
Agnew said he’s worked in the bar and nightclub industry for 23 years.
“I’m not some fly-by-night owner,” Agnew said. “I’ve learned that there’s a certain amount of give and take that’s required in any situation such as this.”
Commissioners Troy Brookshire and Cedar Beauregard were absent Thursday night. Commission alternate Jennifer Robbins attended in their stead.
Also Thursday, Planning Commission heard an initial presentation of drawings and plans for the 60,000-square-foot, $23 million administrative and classroom building to be built at Colorado Mountain College’s Alpine Campus in Steamboat.
Commissioners asked CMC officials and architect Ariel Madlambayan of H & L Architecture in Denver about the roof’s ability to shed snow and the kitchen’s ability to accept deliveries via a service elevator, but did not raise significant concerns with the plans.
CMC officials will present those plans to City Council on March 15 and are planning to conduct a public open house in early spring.
The recent dissolution of an intergovernmental agreement between the city and CMC means the new building is not subject to the city’s planning approval process.
— To reach Mike Lawrence, call 970-871-4233 or e-mail mlawrence@SteamboatToday.com
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