Ironbridge gets second extension | AspenTimes.com

Ironbridge gets second extension

John Stroud
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Developers of the Ironbridge subdivision between Glenwood Springs and Carbondale will have another year to submit a final plat for the third phase of the residential and golf course development.

Garfield County commissioners granted a second, one-year extension at their June 7 meeting for the bankrupt LB Rose Ranch LLC to proceed with development of the final 61 lots contained in the larger planned unit development.

It’s a trend that’s likely to receive a more favorable ear from county commissioners in the future, as real estate development around the county remains at a standstill due to the downturn in the housing market and the lingering impacts of the recession.

“We haven’t had very many new preliminary plan applications in the last year, if any,” county planner Kathy Eastley said.

What the county does have, though, are several development approvals that were granted in 2008 and before that were not able to proceed to final plat.

“They’re all citing the same reasons, which is the economy and the slow housing market,” Eastley said.

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In the case of Ironbridge, LB Rose Ranch was forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in early 2009. The company is a subsidiary of the bankrupt Lehman Brothers, which was one of the largest U.S. companies to go under when the recession hit full force in late 2008.

The first two phases of the development were completed, including 20 income-restricted affordable housing units. While those units were initially tied up in bankruptcy court, they have since been cleared for sale to qualified buyers.

Developers of another subdivision in unincorporated Garfield County, phase three of the Oak Meadows development on Four Mile Road, are also coming before county commissioners this Monday seeking an extension.

At a recent commissioners meeting, Chairman John Martin suggested that developers be given more time than current county code allows to proceed with their projects once they obtain preliminary approvals.

“In these economic hard times … I think we need some flexibility to allow more time for people to work things out before losing their development approvals,” he said.

Current code stipulates that developers must return with a final plat application one year from the time a preliminary plan is approved. It provides that a single, one-year extension can be requested after the initial year is up.

County planning director Fred Jarman is currently working on a text amendment that would allow for more than one extension, though not in perpetuity.

jstroud@postindependent.com