Pitco behind Aspen Valley Ranch rezoning | AspenTimes.com

Pitco behind Aspen Valley Ranch rezoning

Naomi Havlen

Pitkin County Commissioners took their first look at development plans for Aspen Valley Ranch Wednesday, which includes the preservation of a piece of land just upvalley of Snowmass Canyon.The ranch, previously owned by Mary Jane Garth, sold in early March for $19 million to SGS-Ranch LLC, a partnership between three people. The development proposal for the 731-acre piece of land includes eight single-family residences, as well as the rezoning of 245 acres to rural/remote to discourage development.Commissioners unanimously approved the rezoning on first reading yesterday; the next meeting is set for Aug. 10.Attorney Dave Myler and planner Glenn Horn, representing SGS-Ranch LLC, requested 96,740 square feet of floor area for the development, with no more than three of the homes being between 10,750 and 13,250 square feet. The parcels established for the homes range from 35 to 79 acres, with a density of one house per 80 acres; 95 percent of the property will remain undeveloped.The county planning commission unanimously recommended approval of the development May 17, and Myler told commissioners that the Woody Creek Caucus has also expressed approval of the project.”We have gained a considerable amount of support for a plan of this nature,” Myler said. He continued that during previous development proposals for the land, commissioners expressed interest in seeing a master plan for the property.Myler and Horn explained they wanted a low-density development that preserves agricultural lands and wildlife habitat, avoids flood plain and other geologic hazards, and minimizes the creation of new roads. Myler told commissioners this proposal satisfies all of these goals.The developers will use seven transferable development rights from the 245 acres to be rezoned rural/remote to develop the other portion of the ranch.In addition, there are seven affordable employee units on the property, known as the Aspen Valley Downs. Attorney Herb Klein, speaking for the homeowners’ association, told commissioners the residents have been in talks with new landowners.”We ask the board to keep the building envelopes where they are shown [on current plans], since the residents’ view planes and privacy issues were taken into account,” Klein said. No other members of the public spoke during the meeting’s public comment period.SGS-Ranch LLC will pay a housing impact fee for the project, although it is not required. Commissioners also encouraged the developers to consider paying a voluntary fee to public transportation for their impact on the area. Commissioner Michael Owsley noted that staff members from cleaning personnel to gardeners may need to use public transportation to work in the large homes in the area.Although Garth received approval in 1999 to build a commercial riding arena on the property, Myler said that plan will be abandoned; no commercial use will occur under the current proposal.Myler and Horn said developers are also looking into creating a link to the local trail system. Commissioners asked them to provide more information on that proposal at the Aug. 10 meeting. Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is nhavlen@aspentimes.com