Wet month has new Steamboat hotel wading through drainage issues
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — It’s been a wet spring in the Yampa Valley, and maybe a little too wet for David Bradshaw the general manager of the new Homewood Suites east of town.
“We were spared inside the hotel, but certainly did flood our parking lot,” Bradshaw said. “Certainly as far as the parking lot, and surrounding area we had some challenges.”
Earlier this month water from a nearby drainage ditch filled the parking lot in front of the hotel with several inches of water, forcing guest to park on Stone Lane and in an adjacent lot between Homewood Suites and the Fairfield Inn and Suites. Homewood Suites contracted with a private company to transport guests from the parking areas to the front door.
“We tried to alleviate most of that inconvenience for our guest Most were pretty understanding and they loved the facility and they loved the hotel, and think it is s great place,” Bradshaw said. “But with those challenges there were going to be some disappointed guests here and there. We controlled what we were able to control.”
Bradshaw said the hotel was impacted for about a week, and there was only one day when the waters didn’t recede from the parking lot. He said normally the waters would come up over night, and then recede in the morning.
“I’ve been around for a long time,” Bradshaw said. “I’ve seen it at the Super 8 Hotel and the Holiday Inn. We are all kind of in this little flood plain, and I think those hotels have done a great job with their civil engineers working through different things and challenges, and they solved their issues.”
Bradshaw said the hotel is planning to work with civil engineers this summer to address the drainage issues and come up with some solutions.
“Based on that evaluation, there should have been enough flow capacity within Walton Creek to not cause that flooding,” said Ben Beall, City Engineer for the City of Steamboat Springs. “But there are a lot of different factors at play related to drainage and those seem to have played out when the parking lot was flooding.”
Beall said that the development team for the hotel did an extensive hydrology evaluation and that the structure is 2 1/2 feet above the flood plain elevations. He added that the flooding in the parking lot did not come directly from the water surface elevation of Walton Creek, but instead from a drainage ditch that comes off of Walton Creek upstream, and then flows along U.S. Highway 40.
“It goes where it goes,” Beall said of the drainage. “I don’t know if the development team would have found that problem until after it occurred. It might be an old irrigation ditch, or an old flow path that the creek takes and diverts from the existing creek at a different location than adjacent to the hotel.”
These are issues the property will be looking into.
“That is something the property owner may want to explore, and evaluate in the future, because there may be options they may be able to explore to alleviate future flooding,” Beall said. “That would be something that owner would need to do to protect his own property.”
Beall said the city of Steamboat Springs allows building in flood plain areas, but developers must to submit a flood plain development permit. That permit requires an evaluation be done for that structure to be elevated a certain amount above what is the flood plain elevation. That process was completed for this development, and Beall said the new structure meets all the requirements.
He said that the developers may need to come back to the city for additional permitting or work with the Army Corps of Engineers to get wetland permitting to address the parking lot issues. He said there are processes that the property owner can go through in order to protect his own property.
“We don’t want another repeat,” Bradshaw said. “I think in a standard year, we are good. But when you have the snowfall that we had this past winter, and we had a wet spring, you know it’s probably expecting the worst and you are going to get it. We want to be prepared the next time we have a year like this, and this doesn’t reoccur ever again.”
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