Decision delayed on Ranch at Coulter Creek

by Lynn BurtonPost Independent Staff

The Garfield County commissioners continued on Monday the public hearing on a 457-acre Missouri Heights subdivision that contains twice as much dedicated open space as it does acreage for building sites.Called the Ranch at Coulter Creek, the proposed subdivision clusters 26 homesites on the fringes of part of the lower part of the old 1,800-acre Laurence Ranch, located at the intersection of County Road 115 and Cattle Creek Road.The county commissioners gave the Snowmass Land Company until June 2 to produce a letter from the state engineer, confirming the project will not create a “material injury” to water rights holders in the immediate area.The Snowmass Land Co. has agreed to put 302 acres into a conservation easement placed with the Aspen Valley Land Trust to keep it from ever being developed, according to the application.”We hope that 10 years out, the area will still feel as open and as agricultural as it does now,” Aspen Valley Land Trust Director Martha Cochran told the county commissioners.Neighboring landowner James D. Peterson, a general partner with Coulter Creek Valley Ranch LLLP, was the only member of the public to speak against the project, although he stopped short of asking for denial.Peterson told the commissioners he’d like the county to require that roofs be made of non-reflective materials, and the homes be constructed with “earth tone” materials. Commissioner Trsi Houpt said the county can’t make those requirements.”We don’t write covenants,” Houpt said.Peterson said he was also concerned about a site for a home of up to 12,000-square-feet that is located above a ridge line. Snowmass Land Co. managing director John Sarpa told the commissioner the building site has been moved below the ridge line.Planner Tim Malloy represented the Snowmass Land Co. at Monday’s meeting, and the developer’s main goals were to:-preserve open space and agricultural uses as much possible.-preserve wildlife corridors as much as possible.-minimize impacts to the terrain.-minimize visual impacts.Houpt said she liked the project. “I hope this will serve as an example for people across the region,” she said.The Laurence Ranch was put up for auction in 2000, in part to satisfy estate taxes, according to a Garfield County staff memo. The Aspen Valley Land Trust eventually acquired the Laurence Ranch south parcel, and sold it to the Snowmass Land Co. with the agreement that only a limited number of building sites be developed.Contact Lynn Burton: 945-8515, ext.

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