Campground plans reviewed

Commission has concerns, but project will move forward

— Despite significant concerns by the Routt County Planning Commission, Raymond Selbe will continue with his proposal to put a campground west of Steamboat Springs.

During a conceptual review of the proposal Thursday night, the commission expressed concerns about zoning, the campground's sewage system, the impact on wildlife and possible traffic problems.

"I didn't hear much consensus here tonight," said Troy Brookshire, chairman of the commission. "There are some big issues."

Selbe, who wants to put a recreational vehicle campground seven miles west of Steamboat Springs on U.S. 40, said he remains optimistic the project will move forward.

"They raised some legitimate questions, and we will have answers for all of them," Selbe said.

Selbe said he will pursue a conditional use permit for the campground, which would be on 19 acres of land on his ranch.

He is proposing to put a total of 53 campground spaces for recreational vehicles on the property in four phases.

"Full build-out will not happen until business demands it," Selbe said.

Selbe is planning to add a total of 29 spaces in the first two phases. Twelve campground spaces will be added in each of the last two phases.

The initial phases would also include construction of an office, which will house showers and toilet facilities, a dump station for sewage and an underground holding tank.

Selbe is proposing to operate the campground from May 1 to Thanksgiving and close during the winter.

The property's zoning is the first concern for planning officials.

The property is currently zoned for agricultural use and would have to be changed to commercial business, Brookshire said.

Brookshire said a zoning request would require the commission to consider "spot zoning," which is frowned upon by the county.

"That is an uphill battle," Brookshire said.

The second concern is the sewage system. Selbe is proposing a vault system. A septic system is not a viable option because of the property's size.

The county does not allow vault storage systems unless the county grants permission.

Planning officials and residents also are concerned about the impact the campground might have on wildlife in the area.

Whitney Kim, one of two residents who voiced opposition to the proposal during the meeting, said deer and elk could be affected.

"It is a drastic change to the way the land is being used now," Kim said. "It would be detrimental in what we are trying to do to preserve the area. It is a natural wildlife area. We would like it to stay 'Selbe Flats' instead of a campground."

Planning officials are also concerned of traffic because the recreational vehicles would be accessing the campground via U.S. 40.

Having 65-foot vehicles pulling out on a highway with a speed limit of 65 mph might be dangerous, planning officials said.

Although commissioners raised these concerns, they were impressed with Selbe's plan for the campground.

If approved, Selbe is intending to plant 1,000 trees within the campground and move 80 adult pine trees on his property to the park.

"The landscape plan is designed to give privacy to the campground and buffer the noise from the highway and railroad," Selbe said.

Despite the commissioners' favorable view of the campground layout and the landscaping, they said the concerns raised must be addressed.

"Is this viable?" Commissioner Fred Nichols said. "I don't know."

Also on Thursday night, commissioners conducted an intense review of the Routt County Master Plan and took public comment. But as of 11 p.m., commissioners still had not made a decision on the 80-page plan.

The county's master plan has not been updated since 1980.

The master plan aims to provide the county with broad guidelines in dealing with future growth.

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