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Week in Review

Developers hope to build nearly 1,000 homes on the former Bair Chase property between Glenwood Springs and Carbondale.While that’s a lot of houses, it’s less than zoning allows for the 282-acre parcel and will help address the area’s housing shortage, said Rocky Shepard, project manager for Related WestPac, the property’s new owner.Related WestPac expects to submit its plans to Garfield County in November. The proposal, to be called Cattle Creek Crossing, entails 979 housing units.Sanders Ranch, a previous proposal for the property, had called for 500 homes, 700,000 square feet of commercial development and a golf course. More recently, as Bair Chase, it was to have been a golf course community consisting of 230 homes.The property ended up being bought by the lending bank in foreclosure before WestPac Investments LLC and Related Cos. teamed up to buy it for $18.5 million. The companies also have taken over the Base Village project at Snowmass Ski Area.

More than $82 million of lease revenue has been set aside for cleanup of a former Rifle-area oil shale research site – probably more than enough to do the job, the Bureau of Land Management says.Jim Sample, a spokesperson for the BLM’s Colorado office, said Monday he is “pretty sure there would be a significant surplus” left after the work is done at the Anvil Points site.His comments came after the state’s two U.S. senators, Republican Wayne Allard and Democrat Ken Salazar, wrote to Energy Secretary Samuel L. Bodman and Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne last week to seek an update on the project’s status.The question is important because a 1997 law transferring the Roan Plateau near Rifle to BLM authority barred the sharing of any natural gas lease revenues on the Roan with the state until the federal government is fully reimbursed for the cleanup project.Break-in at Sherwin-Williams thwarted by employeeOne would-be burglar was stopped in his tracks when attempting to break into a Glenwood Springs paint store.Before midnight on Oct. 24, someone tried to break into Sherwin-Williams at 3228 S. Glen Ave. by prying open the back door.”They got kind of a rude awakening when they went to go into Sherwin-Williams because there was an employee working there late,” Glenwood Springs Police Chief Terry Wilson said.The employee forcefully opened the door, pushing the person back, and then chased the attempted burglar but didn’t catch him or get a good look at him, Wilson added.

Nearly 10 percent of residential properties in Garfield County are within 500 meters of an oil and gas well, a new study says.The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) reports that 1,179 residential land parcels, or 8.5 percent of the county’s total, are less than 500 meters from at least one well.It said 276 parcels are within that same distance of at least five wells.”Wamsley Elementary School in Rifle, Colorado, is located approximately six tenths of a mile from a well pad,” the report says. The report says there are 7,298 oil and gas wells in the county. The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission reports that the county has about 4,200 active, or producing, wells.



An ordinance proposed by the Hot Springs Lodge and Pool restricting excavation in Glenwood Springs to protect the area’s geothermal aquifer met mainly questions and criticism Thursday night.”The pool continues its effort to monopolize geothermal resources in Glenwood Springs and to thwart every effort of Pitkin Iron to develop its geothermal resources and real property located in Glenwood Springs,” a letter from the Burns Figa and Will P.C. law firm states, representing the Pitkin Iron Corp. “The former Mid-Continent property, including the geothermal resources associated with it, in fact is under contract. This latest stunt by the pool is an intentional effort to interfere with that contract and to prevent any development of the former Mid-Continent property.”Pitkin Iron owns the former Mid-Continent property. It’s under contract for sale to an undisclosed buyer. The letter ends by threatening legal action should the pool’s efforts harm the pending sale.

Like the energy-efficient light bulbs being handed out for free, ideas on saving energy flowed freely at Saturday’s “Go Green – Save Green” event.One idea that was floated was that the city of Glenwood Springs’ electric system could offer some type of green incentive such as rebates for installation of solar-electric systems. That suggestion came from Steve Haines of the Carbondale solar-electric company Sunsense.”What we really need is Glenwood municipal electric to start offering solar electric rebates to help offset the high financial hurdles people have to overcome to get started with solar-electric,” Haines said.Dean Moffatt, with Sundesigns Architects, also encourages the city to offer such incentives. But he’s got other visions as well. The large geo-thermal aquifer that heats hot springs pools in and around Glenwood could be used to heat homes and businesses, he said.



State Rep. Kathleen Curry is considering introducing legislation that would require developments to prove they have a sustainable water supply.Curry, D-Gunnison, discussed the idea briefly during Healthy Mountain Communities’ State of the Valley symposium in Glenwood Springs on Oct. 26.Curry said additional developments approved on the Front Range can end up adding to the pressure to try to divert water from Western Slope rivers if those developments don’t have a reliable, long-term water supply.


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