Hunt Ranch project near Carbondale clears first hurdle
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – The Garfield County Planning Commission voted in favor of a preliminary plan for a controversial 93-lot subdivision on historic ranch land in Missouri Heights during a long Wednesday night meeting that stretched past midnight.The commission voted 6 to 1 in favor of the 561-acre Hunt Ranch subdivision early Thursday morning, said Craig Richardson of the Garfield County Planning and Building Department. The planning commissioners’ vote on the project is a recommendation to the county commissioners, who will make the final call on the subdivision.Hunt Ranch LLC, which lists an address in Vail, submitted its preliminary plan for the development to the county in December. The plan for the subdivision calls for 93 lots on 204 acres of the 561-acre parcel – or one unit per six acres in the planned development north of Highway 82 above Carbondale and Basalt.Each lot in the proposed subdivision would be at least 2 acres in size, which complies with the agricultural, residential and rural density zoning designation in the area, according to the plan.A county building and planning staff report said while adjacent residents expressed concern with the density of the proposed development, it is consistent with the county’s comprehensive plan. The report also said that since developers behind the subdivision did not seek an increase in density for the subdivision, they are not required to contribute to Garfield County affordable housing stock. County planning staff recommended approval of the project.The vote on the Hunt Ranch preliminary plan came after an hour-long public comment period in which almost every speaker – 17 of them – voiced opposition to the proposed development. The speakers were among about 35 area residents who attended the meeting.Mike Keefe, who lives just south of the Hunt Ranch property, said on Thursday the biggest concern adjacent residents like him had about the project was its density. That could lead to increased traffic and water problems, he said.”I am not optimistic that it will be voted down,” Keefe said of the project’s future with Garfield County commissioners. “If (the developers) could make a concession on the density, I could support the project. Right now, I just think it is too much.”Phil Vaughan, chairman of the county’s planning commission, said he voted in favor of the Hunt Ranch plan because it meets the requirements of the county’s comprehensive plan and that the subdivision had a good clustering design.”The developers have saved the agricultural ground in the middle of this property and built homes where homes should be built,” he said. “It is a very innovative plan.”Vaughan said the Hunt Ranch preliminary plan met all of the county’s requirements relating to water issues, and the developers conducted extensive wildlife reviews and traffic studies.Bill Jacobson, a managing partner of Hunt Ranch LLC, said he and the others behind the development were “exceptionally pleased’ with the outcome of Wednesday night’s meeting.”We worked very, very hard to make certain that this project complied with all elements of the county’s comprehensive plan,” Jacobson said. “We didn’t ask for any variances, waivers or excess densities or anything under either the comprehensive plan or the (county’s) zoning code just so that we could be completely compliant with the requirements.” Jacobson said it was impossible to say how county commissioners will react to the project, but hoped it will be received “very positively because of all the things we have done to make it an extremely positive proposal.” He said he would like to see the commissioners consider the project in late June or early July. The county’s Planning Commission was scheduled to consider the Hunt Ranch preliminary plan on March 12, but since county building and planning staff had concerns with it, the developers behind the project said they wanted to address those before they presented it to planning commissioners.Contact Phillip Yates: firstname.lastname@example.orgPost Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
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