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  • Dylan Anderson

Steamboat Council delays granting eminent domain to Overlook Park after 11th-hour agreement

If agreement isn't finalized by Friday, council will consider granting the power again next week

The purple rectangle in the center of this map is the area that Overlook Park Metro District wants to take with eminent domain. (City of Steamboat Springs/Courtesy)

An 11th-hour agreement led Steamboat Springs City Council to delay granting the Overlook Park Metro District the power of eminent domain on Tuesday.

Council was poised to grant the metro district the ability to go to court to acquire an easement allowing construction of a secondary access to its subdivision, but an agreement between the district and the property owner in question that hopes to be finalized by Friday could remove the need to grant that power.

“I think that it’s either going to be done by Friday or it’s not going to get done,” said Steamboat City Attorney Dan Foote. “So continue it to the May 2 meeting in the hopes that we’ll just postpone indefinitely at that point and that this will be wrapped up.”

In addition to secondary access for Overlook, the easement would serve as the main access to U.S. Highway 40 for the Brown Ranch. The housing authority’s development plan also anticipates making a connection to Gloria Gossard Parkway through the Overlook subdivision.

A lawyer for the Overlook Park District asked council to pass a resolution that would allow them to use eminent domain if the agreement isn’t struck by Friday, but council opted not to go that route. Council President Robin Crossan said she didn’t feel like the time between Friday and the next council meeting on Tuesday would hamper Overlook’s plans.

Foote was hesitant to recommend that option as well, as the use of eminent domain is a serious move.

“We very rarely use the power of eminent domain,” Foote said. “I think that staff would not have supported the request if the document that we expect to be in hand by Friday is in hand by Friday.”

The easement in question has a long history and at a time was not as complicated as it is now. If secured it would be through a sliver of what is known as the Satre Parcel, which is between U.S. 40 and the Brown Ranch. Agreements related to the easement date back to 2004, but in 2019 things got more complicated when the original agreement was amended.

That amendment would essentially require Overlook and the Brown Ranch to develop at the same time. But Overlook is ready to develop now, where Brown Ranch is still in the annexation process and doesn’t expect to deliver any units until the end of 2026.

Council member Michael Buccino said he was okay with pushing off granting the district the power to take the easement until next week, but emphasized that he would strongly push for eminent domain if no agreement was finalized.

“This has gone long enough, we need to move forward with it,” Buccino said. This is the last straw for me personally.”


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