Sanders Ranch forges access deal |

Sanders Ranch forges access deal

Sanders Ranch – the development proposal once known as Cattle Creek Crossing – has its crossing.

The company that wants to build what is essentially a new town between Carbondale and Glenwood Springs has come to an agreement with the Roaring Fork Railroad Holding Authority on access to the company’s property over RFRHA’s railroad tracks.

RFRHA has agreed to allow Sanders Ranch Holdings to build an at-grade crossing (with tracks and road at the same level) to provide access to its proposed commercial and residential development. Sanders Ranch would foot the bill. If Sanders Ranch wants to build a grade-separated crossing (a bridge or viaduct) in the future, that will be at Sanders Ranch expense, as well.

RFRHA Executive Director Tom Newland said the new crossing would be about one-third of a mile north of the Cattle Creek Road intersection at or near the site of an old ranch crossing.

Sanders Ranch also agreed to close the existing crossing across from Cattle Creek Road and to construct an underpass in the rail corridor for a trail now in the planning stages.

In addition, Sanders Ranch has agreed to provide an open-space easement that is 50 feet wide on the west side and 20 feet wide on the east side of the 100-foot-wide rail corridor owned by RFRHA. The company also agreed to dedicate a trail easement for a loop trail toward Cattle Creek and the Roaring Fork River on the Sanders Ranch property.

Newland said he is generally pleased with the agreement, but noted RFRHA made a concession in leaving the contract open-ended – the provisions of the deal are valid through 2009 unless the contract is extended past that date.

Newland said he didn’t know why the company had avoided a crossing at Cattle Creek Road that would feed into a four-way intersection. He said the development’s road access to Highway 82 would have to be approved by the Colorado Department of Transportation before it could be constructed.

Developer George Hanlon’s first application for what was then called the Cattle Creek Crossing development proposed 500 residential units and 708,000 square feet of commercial space for restaurant, retail shops and offices. The proposed development would occur on 280 acres between the Aspen Glen golf development, Sopris Restaurant and the Roaring Fork River.

The developer withdrew that application after the Garfield County Planning and Zoning Commission recommended that it be rejected by the county commissioners. A new proposal, to be called simply Sanders Ranch, is in the works.

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