Midvalley sees surge in development proposals | PostIndependent.com

Midvalley sees surge in development proposals

Scott Condon
The Aspen Times
A guide with Challenge Aspen Military Opportunities retreat on Aspen Mountain skis with a veteran in April. Challenge Aspen wants to increase wilderness retreats during summers at a facility in Fryingpan Valley.
Aspen Times file photo |

The Eagle County portion of the Roaring Fork Valley is experiencing a surge in development applications after reviewing next to nothing during the recession and hangover.

The Roaring Fork Valley Regional Planning and Zoning Commission is scheduled to consider three applications May 19. Commissioners will have a limited review of a bus barn proposed along JW Drive by the Roaring Fork School District, Challenge Aspen’s proposal for a wilderness retreat for people with disabilities, and an expansion by the El Jebel Mobile Home Park.

In addition, two relatively minor applications are waiting for review by the planning commission. One proposal is for a 5-acre marijuana field in Missouri Heights. The other is for a second round of approval for a small subdivision on the outskirts of Basalt.

Two major development applications face review by the Eagle County Commissioners.

Following is a summary of the projects:

• Roaring Fork School District plans to relocate its transportation building for its fleet in the midvalley at 1640 JW Drive in El Jebel. Eagle County has very limited review powers because school districts are largely exempt from land use regulations.

The school district acquired 3.2 acres of land to park buses and other vehicles, fuel vehicles and build a maintenance garage. The building would be about 6,660 square feet, according to plans submitted to the county.

The proposed facility is adjacent to the west of Eagle County’s Road and Bridge building.

• Challenge Aspen wants to develop property it owns 17.5 miles east of Basalt on Frying Pan Road into a facility that helps with its mission of serving disabled veterans and individuals. The nonprofit organization is renowned nationally for its work.

Challenge Aspen wants to develop its property, called Whispering Winds Ranch, as a wilderness retreat for people with disabilities.

“Development plans include the initial construction of eight tepee camping sites, a 50-foot climbing tower and ground-level challenge course, as well as a hiking and biking trail,” the application said.

A portable bathroom is envisioned rather than a septic system. Water would be hauled to the site. Meals would be catered. The maximum number of participants for the two- to three-day retreats would be about 18.

Challenge Aspen needs a change in zoning and a special use permit from the county.

• Crawford Properties LLC has applied to expand the existing El Jebel Mobile Home Park by 46 units. There are currently 298 units. The owner plans to add units to the west of the baseball field in the heart of El Jebel, in the area that formerly served at the parking lot and bus stop for the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority.

The two- and three-bedroom residences would be modular units that are rented.

• RFSCG-1 LLC has applied to add outdoor cultivation to a previously approved indoor marijuana grow operation at 421 Upper Cattle Creek Road, about 8 miles north of El Jebel.

The company received approval from Eagle County in October 2014 for two greenhouses of 4,000 square feet each, a 5,000-square-foot drying structure and a 1,000-square-foot shed. They haven’t been constructed. The new application is for a 5-acre field where cannabis would be cultivated. No hearing date for the planning commission has been set yet.

• Virginia and Lowell Bair and family applied for a project that would add five new lots to an existing home on 10.4 acres of land at 0675 Frying Pan Road, just east of Basalt. The proposal received first round approval in November 2008. The Bairs are seeking second round approval.

In addition to those projects, Eagle County is reviewing two major development applications — The Fields and The Tree Farm. The planning commission recommended denial of both.

The commissioners held a meeting last month on The Fields, a proposal for up to 110 residences across Highway 82 from Blue Lake subdivision. No decision was made, and the review was tabled to a date uncertain. Traffic on Valley Road emerged as a major issue to be addressed.

The review is on hold for a mixed residential and commercial project called The Tree Farm, across Highway 82 from Whole Foods Market. The planning commission advised the county commissioners Nov. 5 to deny the project. Property owner Ace Lane is seeking approval for as many as 400 residential units, with 46 being designated affordable housing, and 135,000 square feet of commercial space.

No date has been set for the county commissioners’ review.


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