Steamboat Springs A plan to develop and still preserve agricultural land west of Steamboat Springs got a first- round nod from the Routt County Planning Commission.
Brent Romick would like to build 39 residential lots within a 1,117-acre parcel just northwest of Silver Spur Estates.
He is proposing to leave more than 800 acres untouched.
His tentative plan calls for preserving a majority of the parcel for active agricultural land, critical elk habitat and significant skylines and ridges.
The Routt County Planning Commission made no formal recommendation on the proposal at its meeting Thursday night because Romick has not yet presented a formal request to develop the property.
County planning commissioners instead discussed whether the site was appropriate for a land preservation subdivision.
In a land preservation subdivision, which Romick is suggesting, the developer is rewarded for preserving open space by clustering homes. Instead of the number of homes that would be allowed if the property was subdivided into 35-acre parcels -- the minimum lot size allowed on agriculturally zoned land -- the developer is allowed to build one additional unit for every 100 acres preserved as open space.
Clustering residential areas would allow Romick to set aside 800 acres for preservation purposes and build on about 300 acres on land. Instead of the 31 houses he could, by right, build on 35-acre lots, he could build up to 39, with one bonus lot for every 100 preserved acres.
However, county planning commissioners did not like Romick's original plan for preserving the parcel.
A rough sketch of 15 clusters of proposed residential areas within the 1,117-acre parcel gave a "Swiss cheese" appearance to the open space, said Chad Phillips, assistant director of the County Planning Department.
For Thursday's meeting, Romick revised his plan to promise fewer, tighter clusters that eliminated the "Swiss cheese" appearance. He received more acceptance from the county planning commissioners, Phillips said.
Romick must now provide the county with a more detailed proposal that includes engineering plans, surveys and environmental analyses.
The Board of County Commissioners will hear the proposal at 3 p.m. Tuesday.
Phillips said the board usually doesn't hear preapplications, but Romick's plan is an exception.
In other business, the Routt County Planning Commission approved a North Routt business owner's request to upgrade her building.
Dana Morton, owner of Hahn's Peak Cafe and Mountain Recreation Co. near Clark, asked the county for permission to remodel the second story of the building into a studio apartment and renovate the ground-floor restaurant.
Two requests to renew operating permits for cellular towers near Milner and Oak Creek were unanimously approved.