Development of Elkins Meadow proposed

100-acre parcel of land off Fish Creek Falls Road may become residential subdivision

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— One of the dwindling number of parcels of undeveloped land remaining within the existing city limits of Steamboat Springs is the subject of a proposal for a residential subdivision.

Elkins Meadow, a 104.7-acre piece of land lying along the south side of Fish Creek Falls Road, would someday include 20 homesites if a proposal by the Wharton Group LLC successfully makes its way through the city planning process.

The Wharton Group developed Aspen View Estates, a 31-lot subdivision, also on Fish Creek Falls Road during 2000. The plans for Elkins Meadow involve less density than Aspen View, which created its 31 lots on 18.9 acres.

"The Elkins Meadow property has significant visual and environmental qualities, the preservation of which was made an important part of the plan," Jeff Winston said. "The lots and building envelopes are placed at the edges of the meadow and tucked into or against the trees. A driver going by on Fish Creek Falls Road will see the majority of the meadow left undisturbed."

Winston is a land-use planner working for The Wharton Group.

The 20 lots created on the 105 acres will each be 1.5 acres. An internal loop road would be built to access the homes.

Engineer Jeff Lake of Civil Design Consultants said The Wharton Group is leaning toward making the interior roads private, so they can be built narrower than city standards. That would result in less impact to the meadow, Lake said. They will try to keep creek crossings to a minimum, he said.

The property is transected by Little Fish Creek, a tributary of Fish Creek. The meadow also contains a number of wetlands. The developers' intent is to afford recreational access to the meadow for all of the homeowners for horseback riding, hiking and cross-country skiing.

The Wharton Group intends to ask the city of Steamboat Springs to access drinking water for the subdivision from its "East Tank," and for permission to tap into the city sewer system.

The property is not platted and is zoned "AR" for agriculture/recreation.

The Wharton Group's point person for the development of Aspen View subdivision was Paul Franklin, who is based in Chicago. Other members of the limited liability company include Dan Kerrane, Eric Bryant and Eric Wojeikiewicz. Kerrane is the owner of Elk Run Ranch, west of Steamboat.

Franklin said when he and his family first came to Steamboat looking for land on which to build their own home, they purchased 35 acres on the north side of Fish Creek Falls Road, just outside the city limits.

Now, he's making plans to develop homesites immediately across the road from the site where he hopes to build a home some day. He wants to make sure his views across the road to Elkins Meadow are still scenic.

"It's just a beautiful little valley," Franklin said.

The Wharton Group has a contract to purchase the meadow from Roberta Elkins and her son Steve. There is still an old homestead and machine shed, or barn, on the property.

Steve Elkins said as a teen-ager, he used to herd his family's cattle all through the meadows where residential subdivisions now dominate the landscape on either side of Fish Creek Falls Road.

Elkins said he has had numerous offers for the property, but he has confidence that Franklin's group is committed to creating a quality subdivision that will limit the potential impact on the property.

The Elkins Meadow subdivision is tentatively set for a conceptual review in front of Planning Commission on May 10.

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