Steamboat Planning Commission recommends custom zone district for Wildhorse parcel
Steamboat Springs — The first project to go through the city of Steamboat Springs’ new planned unit development process is a 3.25-acre parcel at Wildhorse Meadows that still is owned by some of the original partners from the 2006 plan for the larger area.
Now, after selling about 17 acres of the original Wildhorse plan, the group is trying to turn the parcel next to the people mover at Trailhead Lodge into mixed-use buildings and potentially a site for location-neutral offices.
To accomplish that vision and allow for flexibility, Brent Pearson and his partners are going through the new PUD process to create a custom zone district.
During Thursday’s meeting, Steamboat Springs Planning Commission members expressed concerns about the potential for too much or too little density and a general difficulty to envision what the end product could be with so many conditional uses listed for the custom zone district.
“We’ve tried to identify all the things that make sense in that area of town.” Pearson said, adding that his group doesn’t want to “supersede the market” by driving certain uses away.
Planning Commission member Kathi Meyer said she didn’t think the first PUD application coming through the new process would be this flexible.
Meyer asked if an existing zone district could accommodate the project and said she wondered whether this was the type of property in mind when the new PUD process was created.
“To me, this is one of the properties that is tailor-made for the PUD zone district just because it doesn’t fit neatly into any other package,” Planning Commission member Brian Hanlen said.
The proximity to public transportation, the people mover and residential surroundings were cited as reasons for the custom zone district that blends items from low-density resort residential and districts immediately around the gondola.
To quell some concerns about the potential for underdevelopment or lack of commercial uses deemed vital for mixed use, design standards were agreed upon by the partners and city staff. The standards, such as minimum levels of glazing for first-level windows, are set up to allow form to dictate use rather than mandating a certain amount of commercial use that might not be viable before a critical mass of foot traffic is reached.
The amount of parking also was a sticking point for some members of the Planning Commission, but Pearson once again stressed the transportation options in the area and the pedestrian-friendly nature of the area and plan.
The custom zone district was recommended by the Planning Commission with Meyer opposing.
“I’m not quite convinced that everything the applicant is asking for is necessary,” she said.
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