Letter: City Council should reject variances, waivers for Longview Village project
Steamboat Springs City Council will be meeting Tuesday, Aug. 23, to vote on the proposed Longview Village development.
The development will be located on the hilltop above U.S. Highway 40 to the east, between Anglers Drive and Hilltop Parkway.
The proposed development will be on the same hilltop as Legacy Hilltop Vacation Resort, the “slanted” building with yellow and orange stripes that is hard to overlook when driving in either direction on Highway 40. Due to the negative impact that Legacy Hilltop has on our skyline, the City Council of 1997 voted to adopt what is known as the Skyline Ordinance. This ordinance serves to protect our skyline, as viewed from certain key corridors, by limiting the scale of new development in those regions.
Due to its location, Longview Village is subject to the Skyline Ordinance. But instead of complying with the ordinance, the developer has proposed a design that could only be built if the ordinance were to be waived.
Historically, waiving the Skyline Ordinance has come with strict conditions. For example, the seven single-family homes that line the south side of this same hilltop were required to be set back at least 55 feet from the ridgeline, and the south-facing facades were limited to a single story. But the planning commission has already approved waiving the Skyline Ordinance for Longview Village without conditions. The proposed facades that would directly face Highway 40 are four stories tall, and are only set back four feet from the ridgeline.
In addition to the waiver, the developer is also requesting two major variances for this project, one of which is due to excessive height.
Variances and waivers should be used sparingly, and only in cases where a parcel would be undevelopable otherwise. Longview Village does not fit these criteria, as it could be designed to comply with the Community Development Code, without variances and waivers, albeit on a smaller scale. City Council has the authority to deny variances and waivers. And as elected officials, they need to hear our values and concerns.
This is an opportunity to let our City Council know that as a community, we don’t support super-sized development at the expense of our mountain aesthetic and small town character. You can email City Council at email@example.com, or attend the meeting in person and voice your opinion during public comment.
Charlie and Karen Pharris
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