County approves development

Hidden Springs still has water issues to work out

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— The Routt County Board of Commissioners approved the Hidden Springs Ranch Land Preservation Subdivision in Hayden on Tuesday, but not without first imposing a few conditions.

Developers Peter Patten and Ron Sills have been working through the planning process since March, when several concerns were raised about the feasibility of the project.

The main setbacks were threefold. First, Hayden felt the development encroached on 49 acres of area the town had set aside for future growth. The developers immediately solved the problem by eliminating the land in question from their plans and acquired acreage to the west and south as a substitute. The development encompasses 770 acres southwest of Hayden. The land will be divided into 28 lots with a common open space area.

The second and most formidable concern was the availability of water.

The approval of the development was tabled last March when the commissioners requested a report be supplied to confirm the availability of water.

The report was supplied, but a letter dated July 10 from the Office of State Engineer to the Routt County Planning Department questioned the adequacy of the water supply. At Tuesday's meeting, Patten showed a map with two wells and two springs.

Sills admitted the four water sources had not been developed, because "we didn't want to spend the money until we got approval."

Pending approval, he said, developing those springs would be a top priority.

Commissioners Dan Ellison and Doug Monger had visited the sites and felt they would approve the development on the condition that there be a central water system. That system, they said, could be internal or come from the town.

The subdivision will need an average of 11,000 gallons of water per day, Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said.

Despite the approval, Hayden Town Manager Rob Straebel was still concerned about the availability of water to Hidden Springs.

"The town of Hayden does not plan to annex the subdivision and we have no plans to extend water lines to that area," he said.

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