Lack of support stalls street paving, drainage improvements |

Lack of support stalls street paving, drainage improvements

City manager looking for more property owner support

Christina M. Currie

Excessive dust and lack of drainage on Steele Street are two factors lowering the quality of life for residents on Steele Street, resident James Redmond said, but that may not be enough to warrant improvements to the street.

Redmond asked the Craig City Council Tuesday night to form a special improvement district for Steele Street to pave the street and improve the drainage. Redmond brought a petition signed by nearly 100 percent of the residential property owners along the 400 block of Steele Street.

According to City Manager Jim Ferree, that’s not enough support. The problem is that representatives from First Christian Church, a commercially zoned property, did not sign the petition. Being a majority property owner along the street, First Christian Church represents more than 50 percent of all property owners.

Forming a special improvement district requires a vote be taken that can be limited to property owners. If the church is not on board, it can mean the end of the project.

“I prefer to see a petition with 80 to 90 percent of property owners on it and we don’t have that,” Ferree said.

The process for forming a special improvement district begins with the Council passing a resolution which authorizes city staff to do preliminary specifications, plans and cost estimates for the project. Ferree was concerned city staff would go to all that work for a project that was destined to fail.

To pave the road and add adequate drainage, the city would need to acquire property from First Christian Church.

Church officials want to know how much the city would pay for an easement before they would participate in the project. It is their hope the price of the easement might cover the church’s portion of the project. They are also concerned that, as a majority property owner, the church vote might create an improvement district that some people do not want.

Redmond said the cost of the project could be controlled if the curb and gutter construction is not included.

“The cost has taken the focus away from the reason to pave the road when the focus should be on the quality of life,” he said. “I don’t see the need for curb and gutter they’re cost prohibitive. I would like to see paving and drainage.”

The problem with the scenario, he said, was that people least affected by the problem have the most power.

City Engineer Bill Early and Road and Bridge Director Randy Call both said the street needs curbs and gutters to solve the problems. According to City Attorney Sherman Romney, the city requires all developers to put in curbs and gutters and by not doing it, the city would be going against its own requirements.

Redmond argued he had seen several streets in Craig and in Steamboat Springs without curbs and gutters.

“Is there something about the soil in Craig that makes curb and gutter absolutely necessary?” he said.

Romney told the Council, “these roads do belong to the city, we own them and we have the right to do anything we please.”

Council voted to authorize staff to do an appraisal of the property needed to widen the street and present that figure to the church.