Steamboat Resort seeks to rezone gondola terminal, courts redevelopment at base area
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Resort hopes that changing the allowed land use of the gondola building will entice its ownership to invest in redeveloping the mountain base area.
On Tuesday, Steamboat Springs City Council approved Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp.’s application to rezone the gondola building and amend its future land use map.
Currently, the gondola and the lower Christie Peak Express lift line are on the same lot, and both are zoned for open lands and recreation uses.
The proposed change would divide the lot at the edge of the brick promenade and zone the gondola terminal and the amphitheater to allow for high-density commercial and residential uses. This would match the zoning regulations that apply to the area surrounding the new lot.
The new zoning likely wouldn’t significantly change the footprint of the building allowed there, according to planning commission minutes, but it would allow Ski Corp. to build up to 105 feet, compared to the 44-foot limit current zoning allows for.
“We can’t go to our ownership group and ask them to invest a substantial amount of money to plan until we know we have the zoning to redevelop,” Ski Corp. Vice President of Skier Services Jim Schneider said in a city planning commission meeting.
Alterra Mountain Co. purchased the resort in 2017 and announced last year that it intended to make capital improvements to the resort.
Earlier this year, the resort said it would begin construction on a $15 million replacement of the gondola the day after Closing Day. The new gondola will increase capacity by 38 percent and decrease the ride time from 12 minutes to less than 10 minutes.
Ski Corp. Senior Communications Manager Loryn Kasten said the zoning change will not play a role in the gondola project this summer.
Ski Corp. has not revealed any other plans for the redevelopment of the base area, but Schneider shared possible designs it had considered in the past. All of these showed a complex of new buildings in the area where the existing Gondola Square shops, restaurants and condominiums sit.
At the meeting, Schneider said the space was underutilized, and administrative offices, ticketing and gondola terminal in the building could be placed elsewhere.
“It’s an already developed area that already acts and feel like the surrounding neighborhood,” Schneider said at the city council meeting. “We’re just looking to know how we can redevelop it.”
Council President Pro-Tem Kathi Meyer voted against rezoning the gondola terminal. She said she wished to have a bigger discussion about Ski Corp.’s vision for the base area. She also worried about the change in allowed building height.
“I’m going to be in the minority, but I’m concerned about what could come,” she said.
“Everything else can be that tall,” Council Member Lisel Petis said. “Wouldn’t it only make sense that they have that same right? It would be weird to me to not give them that same zoning.”
The resort’s future land use map amendment passed five to zero. An ordinance rezoning the area passed four to one, with Meyer opposed. Council member Sonja Macys was absent from the meeting, and Robin Crossan, who works for Ski Corp. seasonally, stepped down from the discussion.
The ordinance rezoning the gondola terminal is scheduled for second reading Jan. 22. At second reading, council could give the change final approval. A resolution approving the preliminary plat for the lot will also go before council Jan. 22.
To view the meeting in which this topic was discussed, visit steamboatsprings.net and select “Agendas.”
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Katie Lee graduated with a master’s degree from the University of Wyoming in communications last spring, but as summer started, she hadn’t yet found a job.