Garfield County rejects Hunt Ranch plan

Phillip Yates
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” The Garfield County commissioners voted to deny a preliminary plan for a controversial 93-lot subdivision in Missouri Heights after a lengthy hearing Monday.

The commissioners made their decision after about 20 people all spoke out against the plan for the proposed Hunt Ranch subdivision located about 4.5 miles northeast of Carbondale. That plan called for 93 lots in the 561-acre parcel, with a density of one lot per six acres.

Commissioner John Martin and Tresi Houpt both voted against approving the preliminary plan for the subdivision. Commissioner Larry McCown voted in favor of it.

Before the vote was taken, the commissioners outlined their positions on the proposed subdivision. Houpt said her main problem was that it was too dense ” the chief concern of many area residents. Residents also expressed worries about the possible negative impacts the Hunt Ranch subdivision could have on area water wells and wildlife.

“I don’t believe this development is compatible with the character of the neighborhood,” Houpt said.

McCown said the plan for the Hunt Ranch subdivision complied within the county’s current comprehensive plan for the Missouri Heights area. That plan outlines a possible a range of one lot per six to 10 acres in the area. “Not only has this application met the comprehensive plan, it has also met the zoning regulations,” said McCown. He added that the commissioners didn’t have the authority to randomly change the density sought in the preliminary plan.

Martin, in his comments, did not readily indicate what position he was going to take. Instead, he complimented both the developers on their plan and the residents for their efforts to speak out against it.

Right after Martin cast his vote against the Hunt Ranch plan, a crowd of about 25 people inside the Board of County Commissioners meeting room erupted into cheers. Many of them expressed surprise that vote went their way.

“I couldn’t tell which way ( Martin) was going to go,” said Becky Chase, who lives next to Hunt Ranch, after the vote. “I really thought it was going to pass. I am just delighted.”

Greg Amsden, operating manager for Hunt Ranch LLC, the company that owns the 561-acre parcel, said that he and the other people behind the proposed subdivision “were a little bit” shocked at the vote. He said they created a development that was “in tune with the county’s master plan.”

Amsden characterized the area opposition to the subdivision as a “(not-in-my backyard) neighborhood.” He said developers were going to come back to the commissioners with a new plan for the area, but one that might not have the “benefits” that were in the plan commissioners rejected Monday.

The commissioners were expected to consider the proposed development in August, but instead delayed opening a public hearing about the development until Monday. That was because a legal advertisement, serving as a notice of the commissioners’ hearing of the subdivision, was not published in The Citizen Telegram.

The advertisement appeared in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent, but the newspaper is no longer considered the “paper of record” in Garfield County because it does not have a second-class mailing permit with the U.S. Postal Service.


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