Homeowners on Buena Vista Court are reporting progress ahead of a hearing that will decide the fate of several illegal secondary units on the cul-de-sac.
The Steamboat Springs City Council on Tuesday will decide whether the progress, which includes a proposed road maintenance agreement that addresses parking and snow storage, is sufficient to allow the illegal units and their tenants to stay.
The units have contributed to a parking and snow removal problem on Buena Vista that has caused headaches for neighbors and stoked concern for the city’s fire chief.
Fire Chief Mel Stewart noted in December that he didn’t think a fire truck or ambulance could get to homes on the cul-de-sac because snow and parking conditions were so bad.
The added units have created additional parking demands on the street.
The owners of the some of the illegal units claim they’ve long been used to provide additional housing, and some of the leasing occurred before they bought their properties.
Today, even some critics of the illegal units are claiming the neighborhood is making good progress.
“At best, we would like this to be a win-win in that we’re able to maintain — or not take away — much-needed housing in Steamboat, while, at the same time, improving conditions for owners on the courtyard,” Rusti Lowe wrote in a letter to the council.
Another property owner on the street is claims all of the owners on the cul-de-sac are prepared to sign onto a road maintenance agreement that would outline plowing and parking rules on the street.
One of the final hold ups appears to be where to locate a dumpster.
Despite the progress, city planning staff is not recommending approval of the illegal units.
Citing lingering concerns about snow storage and parking, staff is suggesting the council uphold the planning commission’s denials of the units or again table the appeal to give the applicants more time to finalize their plans.
On Jan. 17, the City Council gave the homeowners 47 days to show they could solve their contentious parking and snow removal problems.
“It sounds like there is a little bit of momentum here to address the issues facing this community,” Councilman Jason Lacy said.
But not all council members think there’s momentum, and some have questioned why the illegal units should be allowed to remain.
Council President Walter Magill said in January he thought there is too much density on the cul-de-sac.
We’ve now got 12 to 13 units off that cul-de-sac, and there’s at least 30 cars up there at times,” Magill said. “It is a mess of parking. I think we have a responsibility to not encourage this type of bootlegging of units.”
Magill questioned what good would come out of tabling the appeals for nearly two months.
“I don’t know that giving them another month will make a difference,” he said.