Adding housing is always a priority for residents of the Stagecoach area, but they also want to add more commercial space that would allow them to get gas, groceries, and maybe even see a dentist without traveling to Steamboat Springs.
In a virtual meeting with Routt County Planning Department staff and consultants on the county’s ongoing master planning effort last week, residents of Stagecoach and nearby areas discussed how they wanted Stagecoach to expand and which parts might be appropriate for non-residential uses.
“Since Stagecoach is identified as a potential growth area, we’re trying to dive into what it means for growth and development,” said Kristy Winser, Routt County Planning Director.
Stagecoach is one of two growth areas in the county that are not in municipalities, the other being neighborhoods and other lands like the Brown Ranch west of Steamboat. The Stagecoach area plan was last updated in 2017, but Winser said it will be updated again as part of the larger plan.
In this plan, Stagecoach is largely split into two parts – one further north near the Stagecoach Reservoir and the other further south. This northern half has been identified for higher density, with the lower half reserved for low density housing.
Residents have expressed strong interest in single-family housing, and Winser said no one opposes increasing the number of units.
While many lots in the north have access to water and sewer, subdivisions in the south often don’t, which can make construction more difficult. Large parts of planned housing estates in the south are not even served by roads.
Getting utilities to these lots can be difficult, sometimes forcing neighbors to cluster around a well. While the Stagecoach area is deemed too suitable by state regulators, Winser said it is within the Upper Yampa Water Conservation District, allowing landowners to purchase plans increase to get water.
As for non-residential services, a grocery store in Stagecoach was heavily favored when planning staff surveyed residents. Leisure and retail were also frequently chosen options, in addition to a community space. A resident of Stagecoach described “a gathering place where people could get together, go grocery shopping, fill up on gas, get together, have a cup of coffee and join in the community.”
Winser said that idea was supported by other comments about the meeting, with a coffee shop, liquor store and gas station being frequently mentioned. Other residents said it would be nice to have services like a doctor’s or dentist’s office nearby, allowing them to avoid a roughly 20-minute drive to Steamboat.
A community store, in a similar mold to the Clark store in North Routt, was another popular request among residents. There is actually a designated space for a community store that was approved in 2006 and Winser said it just wasn’t built.
Recreation is another development priority for residents, as was also the case in the 2017 plan. Residents have expressed a desire to expand Stagecoach’s trail system, connecting it better to the vast amount of land nearby public.
A resident suggested the county should think about open spaces when planning Stagecoach, especially given the risk of wildfires in the area. The Muddy Slide Fire burned for months a few miles south of Stagecoach last summer.
“How can we create some of these open spaces to potentially provide buffers around some of these host sites that can act as a link between natural resources and defensible space,” she said.
To reach Dylan Anderson, call 970-871-4247 or email [email protected]