Developer says locals’ master-planned community is in the works for Wolcott
WOLCOTT, Colorado – A local developer has entered into an agreement to possibly develop some 2,600 acres in the Wolcott area into a master-planned community for locals.Rick Hermes, owner of Hermes Resort Properties, said Monday he signed a contract last week with the Jouflas family – which owns a lot of the private land around Wolcott – and that his aim is to create a community for all levels of local housing needs.”We’re working with the county and just getting started on the planning process,” Hermes said. “We want this to be locals-oriented, historically referenced and appropriately scaled.”And, he added with a laugh: “No big boxes! I don’t want that rumor out there.”There may be an “appropriately scaled” grocer to serve the community, he said, adding that the development would be green-built to the latest technology.Hermes said he sees the development as the best chance the county has had to truly master-plan a community, where planning can start with the core area and include everything from transportation to all the other items needed.This early in the process, Hermes declined to speculate on what the timeline for ground-breaking might be. “There’s a lot of work to be done,” he said.Don Cohen, executive director of the Economic Council of Eagle County as well as the facilitator for the county Housing Action Team, said he’s encouraged by the news.”I admire Rick’s guts and courage to go after this,” Cohen said. “I think he wants to do a lot more listening to the community, to bring them on earlier rather than later.”Cohen said Hermes’ experience as a local developer is also a plus.”He lives here, he’s built here; he’s not some developer just parachuting in,” he said.Cohen said he also gets the sense Hermes has “patient, long-term money” behind him.”It’s not like there’s going to be a plan for this approved overnight,” he said.
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State department of transportation crews are well on their way to clearing Highway 82 to Independence Pass, which should open on schedule May 27 at noon.