Avoiding ‘nuclear option’ for Routt County Rifle Club part of West Steamboat annexation process
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The first homes in the still unapproved West Steamboat Neighborhoods development will be deed-restricted to residents of Routt County and divvied up through a lottery system.
On Tuesday, the Steamboat Springs City Council told city staff and Brynn Grey, the developers seeking the annexation of 190 acres west of city limits, that they wanted to see the lottery included within the ordinance annexing the land or as a condition of approval in annexing the land.
The lottery will be among the West Steamboat Neighborhoods Pioneers, a group of people who, for a refundable $100 payment, Brynn Grey had planned to sell the houses to in the order that they signed up for the program.
Council members and community members expressed concern about the fairness of that model, leading the developer and council to explore other options.
“I want to thank council and BG for modifying the Pioneer concept to be what I strongly feel is a more fair community benefit by having it open to the entire community to get that first house, that fifth house, that 10th house,” said Catherine Carson, speaking as a Steamboat resident, in public comment.
Carson had been a vocal opponent of the first-come, first-sold plan.
Those interested can sign up for the Pioneers by visiting weststeamboatneighborhoods.com.
A first reading of the ordinance was delayed to Jan. 8, 2019, after council asked Brynn Grey to complete some outstanding negotiations. The Yampa Valley Housing Authority and Overlook Park are in the final stretches of finalizing an agreement with the developer, Brynn Grey CEO David O’Neil said.
As part of the annexation ordinance, City Council also requested a letter from Steamboat 700 stating that annexing the Brynn Grey development would not impact the Routt County Rifle Club.
A clause within an agreement between 700 and the Routt County Rifle Club contains language that could force the club to give up its conditional use permit and cease operations if the land is annexed. This line is often referred to as the “nuclear option.”
“We’ve got support within this for the gun club,” said council member Scott Ford. “The fact that we can get the documentation that this annexation, if it were to occur, doesn’t trigger the ‘nuclear option’ and it’s an encouragement that would indicate that if 700 comes back looking at a particular annexation, they’ve got to address that issue. It’s primary for us. If we come away with nothing more than that real clear message, we’ve done a good job.”
The Steamboat Springs School District and Brynn Grey are also in the final stages of negotiating an agreement for a donation of land to the district, where the school could build a pre-K through eighth-grade school or an elementary school.
Superintendent Brad Meeks agreed with O’Neil that there are “no substantive issues” remaining to work through.
A learn-by-doing methodology was on display Friday at the Loudy-Simpson Park pond as Moffat County High School science students learned quickly whether or not they had a future in engineering.