Consolidation makes north land attractive

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— Geoffrey and Lucia Kinne are collecting small lots near Steamboat Lake, consolidating them and selling them as 5-acre or larger parcels for development.

The Buckhead subdivision was planned for the land surrounding Bear Canyon Drive off County Road 129 north of Clark in the early 1970s. Water and sewer was provided to 30 percent of the subdivided lots before the developer went broke, leaving scores of lots in unbuildable status.

"The lots need (mountain residential estates) zoning to allow for a well and a leech field. To do this, the smaller lots have to be consolidated and replated," Century 21 Ski Town associate Scott Campbell said.

Right now, the lots are zoned low density residential. The requested replat would reduce the total number of homesites in the subdivision.

That is precisely what the Kinnes are doing. The value of most of the small, unbuildable lots ranges from $1,800 to $2,500. The consolidated acres, most of them just more than five acres, are selling from $89,000 to $169,000.

For years, those who owned the lots at Steamboat Lake have been receiving letters from real estate agents and neighboring landowners wishing to buy up enough land to develop. Most of them were offering to pay the appraised value for the small parcels, so, in turn, most of the small-parcel landowners held out.

Not anymore.

Campbell went to seven lot owners a few years ago.

"I told them if they all formed together and sold, they'd get a higher value. Eventually they all agreed, and we divided up the proceeds by acre contribution," he said.

At the end of the day, each of the landowners got about $17,000 for their one-ish acre of land.

"It's taken months and months to do this," Campbell said. "We now have four replats of five acres or more. The Kinnes have bought them all, and are reselling them."

Although they were offering a much better price than the average buyer, Campbell and the Kinnes did encounter lot owners who refused to sell their lots.

"Some people believe that eventually, the law will change. But it won't," he said.

"There is actually one replat that we just wound around a lot we couldn't buy,"

That lot, according to Campbell, is now totally useless.

County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said Campbell is probably right.

"You may not ever be able to do anything with these small lots," Stahoviak said. "Especially in the Steamboat Lake area, even though it was once platted for residential development. Steamboat Lake Water and Sanitation District doesn't have the capacity to supply water and sewer to homes on each lot."

Landowners of small parcels in the Steamboat Lake area don't have many options: they can either gather the funds to buy up lots and consolidate their own replat; they can sell their lot for whatever they believe to be a fair price; or they can hold onto a lot upon which they will probably never be able to build.

The Routt County zoning resolution states that a resident owning less than a 5-acre parcel of land cannot dig his or her own well, or construct an individual septic system.

To reach Bonnie Nadzam call 871-4205 or e-mail bnadzam@amigo.net

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