Planning commission approves Four Mile subdivision |

Planning commission approves Four Mile subdivision

Donna GrayGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. A 500-acre residential development on two historic ranches on Four Mile Road cleared a first hurdle Wednesday. The Garfield County Planning and Zoning Commission agreed to amend the county’s comprehensive land use plan to increase density on the 600-acre development on the Bershenyi and Martino ranches. It also approved a rezoning of the property from agricultural/rural/residential to a planned unit development.The commission’s approvals are in effect recommendations to the Board of County Commissioners, which will ultimately approve or deny the project.Developers are proposing lots ranging from 12,600 square feet to more than 30,000 square feet in size, with house sizes ranging from 3,000 to 5,000 square feet. Prices are expected to begin at $600,000 and go as high as $1.1 million, according to Will Humphrey, senior vice president with Westminster Swanson Land Partners LLC, developer of the project.”We sought community input and held two town hall meetings,” he said. “We hope the plan you see tonight will reflect that community input.”While about 30 people showed up for the five-hour meeting Wednesday, only a handful offered opinions about the project. Concerns focused on increased traffic the subdivision will bring and the density of the project.David Bowers, a resident of neighboring Four Mile Ranch, worried that Four Mile Road is the only thoroughfare in an increasingly populated area. “One of my big fears (is) if there’s a fire or landslide anywhere along Midland or Four Mile, there’s no way out, no escape … There should be some other route,” he said.Former County Assessor Ken Call weighed in on density and traffic, but also applauded the Bershenyis’ staying power as ranchers.”I’ve watched them ranch for three generations now; I wish them well. I’m glad to see (John Bershenyi) is still alive. I thought he’d be road kill now going from his house (and crossing busy Four Mile Road) to the mailbox,” he said.Others expressed dismay at what they saw as a change in plan. Glenwood Springs rancher Carter Jackson said the original plan presented to the community was to leave what is called the lower meadow of the Bershenyi Ranch undeveloped. The meadow can be plainly seen from Highway 82 and the Jackson Ranch.”The first plan was to leave the hay meadow for open space and wildlife and develop up higher,” he said. “Now that is totally changed … I would much rather have seen the drive up Four Mile to have a rural feel, not be a continuation of ‘Broadway.'”At the end of the evening, the developers agreed to a host of conditions for approval of this first phase of project permitting. Among the concessions, the developer agreed to construct 20 affordable housing units within the project, not off-site as they’d originally proposed.They also agreed to follow a recommendation of the Colorado Division of Wildlife to cancel plans for a hiking trail along Four Mile Creek because it is a major deer and elk migration corridor.Also as a condition of approval for the PUD, the developer will donate 960 acres of land above the project area, separated it by Bureau of Land Management land, for a public park.Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext. 16605dgray@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

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