Castle Valley home number nearly halved
Castle Valley Ranch won’t end up as crowded as originally planned.
A revised master plan for the New Castle subdivision that cuts the number of homes at build-out from 2,500 to 1,400 won approval from the New Castle Town Council Tuesday.
The new plan also reduced the amount of commercial space by more than half, from 250,000 square feet to 100,000.
Mayor Bill Wentzel lauded the revised plan as a group effort between Castle Valley Ranch developers Eric Williams and Steven Craven, the Planning and Zoning Commission, the Town Council and town staff over the past four years.
“I believe this is a tremendous step forward for this town,” said Wentzel, who noted it will be a guide for future development in the town.
The key element in the new master plan is rezoning the undeveloped land. The new zoning amends the original annexation agreement for the 630-acre acre VIX Ranch, approved in 1983. It more than doubled the size of New Castle, said town manager Steve Rippy.
“We concluded that the old plan may have responded to the market foreseen at one time. We had planned for a successful oil shale industry, but that didn’t happen,” said Craven. “The need for high density housing, for 2,500 units and 225,000 square feet of commercial … doesn’t meet the market today.”
Central to the new plan is a community core with a mixture of residential, retail and office uses, along with green belts and trails leading to parks inside and outside the development.
“The original plan had no core. It was a giant subdivision without an identity,” Craven said.
The new plan calls for one strictly residential zone and two mixed-use zones that allow a variety of residential and commercial uses.
“We’re trying to create a destination community for primary residents, not the next price point on Interstate 70,” he said.
The new zoning includes about 30 additional acres of open space, which the developers will deed to the town. The original plan called for 230 acres of open space, which more than meets the town’s requirement of 10 percent of the project.
The dedication includes an open space maintenance agreement between the town and the developers that leaves the town responsible for most public open space and roadsides.
The Castle Valley Ranch Homeowners Association will be responsible for the upkeep of common areas around town homes and apartment buildings.
Also on Tuesday night, the town council approved the final plan and plat for Filing 7 of Castle Valley Ranch. The 31-acre parcel is slated for 89 single family homes.
Craven said a new design concept for the neighborhood centers on more narrow, meandering streets that are expected to slow traffic. He said traffic will reach about 860 cars per day.
Instead of the usual “fan” shaped arrangements at the ends of cul-de-sacs, neighborhoods will have landscaped parking islands for guests.
Mayor Wentzel said the streets would be narrower than the town’s standards but that wasn’t a bad thing.
He said he and the planning commission agreed with the developer’s argument that it is a traffic calming device.
“We will have families with a lot of kids (there). We wanted to see how it will work,” he said. “It will hopefully slow people down. I’m excited about it.”
If it does work, the next step may be to adopt the narrower street width as a town standard, Wentzel added.
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