Planners OK preliminary plat

Group doesn't have to rule on lawsuit surrounding subdivision opposition

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— The City Planning Commission, backed by its development code, on Thursday approved a 15-lot residential subdivision but refused to rule on issues surrounding a lawsuit filed by opposition to the plat.

After a motion failed to table the Overlook Preserve Subdivision, the commission voted 5-2 to approve the preliminary plat with those in favor saying it met the Community Development Code and density requirements. But the commission told the applicants, Rolando Colorado Ltd., and the more than 60 homeowners against the development, that the Planning Commission was not the board to rule on whether the applicants had violated a vested planned unit development agreement.

"That is not part of our purview; that is not what we do," Planning Commissioner Dan Baker said. "Our job is to sit here based on this code as we see it now and decide if this meets the requirements."

The 22-acre subdivision, which would provide 15 single-family homes and the possibility of seven caretaker units, had been slated for the third phase of The Ranch at Steamboat condominium development. The current PUD would have added 70 units in six separate buildings to the already 88 condominium units, tennis courts and swimming pool.

But homeowners at The Ranch and surrounding property owners on Overlook Drive, Ridge Road, Glacier Road and Clubhouse Drive said five of those lots in the proposed subdivision were on land that had been open space under the current PUD.

The opposition group filed a lawsuit asking that the development stop. The opposition claims that a PUD was given final approval in 1979 and that it needs two-thirds approval from the property owners for that PUD to change. In that case, the applicants would have to seek approval from the 88 homeowners at The Ranch.

Attorney Tom Sharpe, who represents the applicants, said the PUD was never officially recorded and therefore given final approval.

But the Planning Commission said that argument was a civil matter and not a decision to be made by the board.

"I really feel like it is not appropriate for us based on staff's report to even consider (the PUD)," Baker said.

The Planning Commission was willing to rule on whether the plan met the CD Code requirements, something five of them felt it did.

"There may be things about this particular plan that I don't like, but it does meet the code the way the code is written," Planning Commissioner Tracy Barnett said.

Planning Commissioner Scott Myller noted the five lots the opposition said were proposed for what the existing plan has marked as open space are still outside of what is officially dedicated as open space. In fact, the applicants had proposed 1.5 acres more of open space than what was dedicated in the original plan.

Myller said if he were the property owner, he would have thought the land with the five lots would clearly be developable.

But Planning Commissioner David Baldinger Jr. voted "no," largely because two of the proposed lots on the eastern side of the property would have a much greater impact on land that had originally been set aside for open space.

Planning Commissioner Dick Curtis also voted against the plan.

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