Sunburst developers angry

4S says it wasn't contacted by planning consultants

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Developers of a proposed 900-acre subdivision say they have once again been angered and bewildered by planning recommendations for their Sunburst Ranch development.

After seeing an initial report from Boulder-based planning consultants Winston and Associates that calls the Sunburst Ranch proposal "highly inappropriate," the developers responded by calling the consultants' report "totally bogus" at Thursday's Hayden Planning Commission meeting.

Tom Heuer, of 4S Devel-opment, said reading the report was the first communication he had received from the consultants since their first and only meeting July 23.

In response to the consultants' note that the subdivision's conceptual plan lacked substantial information, Heuer asked the Planning Commission why Winston and Associates did not just call 4S to ask them for the information.

"Apparently Winston doesn't understand the meaning of 'conceptual,'" Heuer said. "I'm trying to figure out who wrote this."

Heuer said the Winston report implied that either the developers were "idiots" for creating such a plan, or town officials are "idiots" for entertaining it. He said the comments were not objective, unprofessional, and not what 4S expected.

Ron Sills, also of 4S, said the consultants should have contacted them if they had questions.

"I'm assuming we need to be in the loop, too, and we're not in the loop," Sills said.

The Winston report stated that the Hayden home-buying market does not merit a proposal of such a large scope.

In response to that, Sills reminded the Planning Commission the development would be built over the next 20 years and said he believes "a future population explosion is very possible."

Sills said that, like other resort communities, the work force in Steamboat Springs is moving out of town to more affordable areas.

"If we can give a reason for those people to live here, not just with affordable housing, but recreation, entertainment and schools, Hayden could be a model for the state," Sills said.

For Winston and Associates to create an accurate and objective impact analysis, Sills said the company would need to communicate directly with 4S.

Planning Commissioner Tom Rogalski asked the developers what specific inconsistencies there were with the consultants' report.

Jeff Fry of 4S said the consultants' statement that new traffic would cause road congestion did not take into account a 2000 traffic study. He said the traffic study was written specifically with a 900-acre subdivision in mind, and that roads could hold the traffic that would come along with such a development.

The Winston report also read that there was not enough water to supply the subdivision.

In response to that, Sills said an underground aquifer under the town could provide the needed water. He said he had read reports where experts "don't think it's exhaustive."

The Planning Commission said that in order for the Sunburst planning process to continue, the bottom line was that the developers have to meet Winston and Associates' questions with answers.

Winston and Associates did not have a representative present at the meeting.

In other business:

n The Planning Commission recommended approval of a water dedication ordinance. If approved by the Town Board, the ordinance will require developers to plan for providing water to their developments before they can get sketch plan approval. They also recommended the ordinance should be easier to understand.

-- To reach Nick Foster call 871-4204

or e-mail nfoster@steamboatpilot.com

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