Missouri Heights development plan ready for Garfield County review
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
MISSOURI HEIGHTS ” Garfield County Building and Planning staff are combing through a preliminary plan for Hunt Ranch, a proposed 561-acre subdivision on historic ranch land in Missouri Heights.
The plan calls for 93 lots on 204 acres of the 561-parcel ” or one unit per six acres in the planned subdivision north of Colorado Highway 82, above Carbondale and El Jebel.
The other 326 acres would be preserved as open space, according to the plan.
Each lot in the proposed subdivision would be at least two acres in size, which complies with the agricultural, residential and rural density zoning designation in the area, a summary of the plan said.
“We believe the preliminary plan proposed in this application is consistent with key county land use policies and objectives,” wrote Kate Schwarzler, a project manager for Otak, an engineering, surveying, planning and design firm with an office in Carbondale, in a letter to the county outlining the preliminary plan.
The company behind the preliminary plan for Hunt Ranch subdivision is Hunt Ranch LLC, which owns the property and lists an address out of Vail. It was submitted to the county in mid-December.
A public hearing on the matter before the county’s Planning and Zoning Commission is set for 6:30 p.m. March 12 in Glenwood Springs, said Fred Jarman, the county’s planning and building director. The commission will vote on a recommendation to the county commissioners, who will make the final call on the subdivision, Jarman said.
Attempts to reach representatives for the proposed development were not successful Wednesday.
A rough sketch of the development was presented to the planning commission in May 2006. That meeting drew several area residents, who said they were concerned about the density of the project, the traffic it will create and its potential impacts on the area’s already taxed water resources.
David Myler was one of those residents at the meeting.
“I don’t see anything in the changes that has changed my initial feelings about it,”
Myler said of the revised plan submitted to the county.
Myler lives about a mile away from the proposed subdivision.
“I think it is too dense,” he said. “All of the problems that have been identified relating to traffic, in particular the impact on the character of Missouri Heights, are directly related to the number of homes that are being proposed.”
Myler said the developers have created a nice “suburban development” plan, but that “unfortunately, Missouri Heights is not suburbia.”
“If this plan plopped next to Carbondale or Glenwood Springs, it might be OK, but in a rural area like Missouri Heights it’s just too dense,” said Myler, who added he is going to offer the same thoughts during the March 12 hearing.
However, Myler commended the developers on the clustering of lots in the project and the continuation of agricultural uses on lands in the subdivision.
A summary of the preliminary plan said residential homesites are “located in the most appropriate locations on the property.”
“The (homesites) are all located outside of the existing agricultural use and wildlife
corridors,” the plan said. “Historically used corridors for wildlife movement will be maintained.”
Planning and design objectives for the property, according to the plan, include preserving the agricultural operation on the land. Commitments will be made to support and sustain this operation to the “extent possible and within reason,” the plan
All development would be sited in a manner that is both secondary to and sensitive to
the agricultural use of the property, according to the proposal. Key open spaces would be preserved in perpetuity through a proposed deed restriction or conservation easement with the Aspen Valley Land Trust.
The plan also stated that there will be a “continuity between the Hunt Ranch open space and surrounding conservation easements” and that there will not be development encroachments into existing agricultural lands within the 561-parcel, except for a small portion of the main subdivision road, according to the application.
Hunt Ranch LLC plans to waive any financial return from the agricultural operation to itself or the property owners association to “subsidize and provide an incentive to the long-term sustainability of the agricultural use” of the property, according to the plan.
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