Land preservation subdivision proposed


— Initial plans for an 85-lot land preservation subdivision on 2,345 acres outside of Hayden will be heard by the Routt County Regional Planning Commission tonight.

The large tract of land is the site of the former Seneca II Mine, which was the first major coal mine in the area.

The land is owned by Grassy Creek Ranch & Cattle, LLC, which also owns the adjoining Grassy Creek at Mount Harris subdivision, which has 40, 35-plus-acre lots.

Of the 2,345 acres in the proposed Grassy Creek Ranch Preserve, developers are setting aside about 1,900 for open space and traditional agricultural and mining activities, making the development a land preservation subdivision.

Land preservation subdivisions are strongly encouraged in the Routt County Master Plan and come with a series of regulations that give the community an opportunity to oversee and provide input on the projects.

Another option for developers with large tracts of land is to develop 35-acre lots, which do not have to go through the planning department's review process.

The Grassy Creek proposal is for a larger area than other land preservation subdivisions, said Routt County Planner Mary Alice Page-Allen. Similar developments include Hidden Springs, which has 28 lots and 400 acres of open land, and Catamount Ranch, which has 30 lots and 518 acres of open land.

The Grassy Creek Ranch Preserve proposal includes an extensive open space plan with areas set aside for wildlife and hiking trails. Developers also are proposing methods to improve the open land, such as having controlled burns.

Planning commissioners will not make a decision on the development at Thursday's meeting, but are looking at the application to give feedback to the developers.

One issue that planning commissioners probably will be interested in is access to the property, which now is a minimal-maintenance road that might not be able to handle traffic once the development is built-out, Page-Allen said. Minimal maintenance roads are typically rough dirt roads that are not plowed in the winter and receive little or no grading in the summer.

Planning Commission meets at 6 p.m. tonight in the commissioners hearing room of the Routt County Courthouse Annex.


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