County reaffirms Bair Chase rezoning
November 14, 2007
GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Despite a threat of legal action, Garfield County commissioners on Tuesday stood by their decision in April to rezone the former Bair Chase property for dense residential development.
Their decision came after attorney Calvin Lee challenged whether proper notification of the meeting on the rezoning was made to the public and neighboring landowners.
Lee raised the issue Tuesday as commissioners considered whether to authorize commission Chairman John Martin to sign the resolution related to the April decision.
“I would say that you’re inviting a potential lawsuit here if the resolution is signed,” Lee said.
Lee contends that prior notification of the April meeting pertained only to planned action commissioners might take because an existing planned unit development approval for the 282-acre property was lapsing. He said the notification didn’t indicate commissioners might change the underlying zoning.
He urged commissioners to hold another hearing on the matter with proper notification, and noted that the new owners of the land have yet to submit a development proposal based on the new zoning.
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“There’s plenty of time for you to do the notice and get this done right,” Lee said. The property is located near the Cattle Creek turnoff between Glenwood Springs and Carbondale. Sanders Ranch, a previous proposal for the property, had called for 500 homes, 700,000 square feet of commercial development and a golf course. More recently, as Bair Chase, it was to have been a golf course community consisting of 230 homes.
The property was bought by the lending bank in foreclosure, before WestPac Investments LLC and Related Companies teamed up to buy it for $18.5 million. They are considering submitting a proposal to build 979 homes on what they plan to call Cattle Creek Crossing, and contend that the new zoning allows them to build even more.
The new developers’ attorney, Jim Lochhead, said proper notification was given before the April decision.
“You’re really not in a position to reconsider,” he told commissioners.
He contended that “this matter is closed and done and behind us.”
Lochhead said the possibility of rezoning of the property was implied when commissioners took up the question of whether to revoke the PUD.
Commissioner John Martin agreed.
“To do away with a PUD, you have to have something in place in terms of zoning,” he said.
Commissioners previously have defended the zoning density as being consistent with the county’s comprehensive zoning plan, and a way to help address the local housing shortage.
Martin said county officials believe notification of the April meeting was proper.
Besides Lee, two other residents voiced concerns about the high density of the zoning Tuesday. Lee said he has been speaking with others who also are concerned. Following Tuesday’s decision, Lee said he didn’t know whether a legal challenge of the rezoning might be undertaken.
“There are some people talking about it but whether that will happen is undecided at this time,” he said.
In other development-related business Tuesday, commissioners delayed action on the 6,000-acre Spring Valley Ranch project until 9 a.m. Dec. 7, so they could have more time to review it.
The project, located southeast of Glenwood Springs, would include 577 housing units and two golf courses.