Wednesday, August 25, 2004
South Routt School District officials are looking for a school site in Stagecoach, where some estimates suggest 150 school-aged children will reside in several years.
South Routt School Board members discussed the preliminary plat for The Neighborhood at Young's Peak subdivision at their meeting last week. The board appointed member Tim Corrigan to join Superintendent Steve Jones in future meetings with developer Brian Stahl and Routt County planners and commissioners. The School Board also authorized Jones to hire a school-site selection expert, if needed.
Last week's discussions followed a June meeting during which the School Board met with Routt County staff planner Mary Alice Page-Allen to discuss Stagecoach growth and development proposals.
During that meeting, Page-Allen said between 150 and 180 homes could be constructed during the next three years in the Stagecoach area. If one-third of the future occupants are children, the South Routt School District could see a significant enrollment increase -- one that would strain Yampa Elementary.
Jones has sent three letters to county commissioners expressing the district's desire to have a school site secured in Stagecoach before much more development takes place. District officials hope the county commissioners will insist on a dedicated school site before giving final approval to major development proposals.
The school district may have the law and a developer on its side.
According to county regulations, a minimum of 5 percent of gross land area in a given subdivision must be dedicated to one or more essential public purposes, Page-Allen said. Public purposes include fire stations and schools. The county can accept payments in lieu of land if property for a public purpose isn't feasible or necessary.
County commissioners have the final say in whether to accept payment in lieu of land or insist on land being dedicated to a public purpose. Jones hopes the county takes the latter route.
"What we're really asking for is the county to hold fast on this and work with the school to get an elementary site dedicated," Jones said. "All the power rests with the county commissioners."
All three Routt County commissioners were out of town and unavailable for comment Wednesday.
But Page-Allen said she thinks county commissioners are supportive of a school site in Stagecoach.
"The board (of county commissioners) has instructed (planning) staff to work with both the developer and the South Routt School District in an effort to come to an agreement on what's going to happen," Page-Allen said. "My assumption is there will be a school site dedicated."
Stahl, the developer of the proposed 93.5-acre The Neighborhood at Young's Peak subdivision, said he's open to the idea of dedicating land for a Stagecoach school. Such a school would fit into his view of Stagecoach having a strong sense of community.
"A school is a critical component of that," Stahl said. "I'm very, very supportive of the future school."
Stahl stopped short of making any guarantees, and he said it will take cooperation from the school district, the county, Stagecoach developers and the Stagecoach Property Owners Association to dedicate a school site.
"I'm looking forward to a real joint effort," Stahl said.
School district officials have said an elementary school site ideally would be about 10 acres.
Page-Allen said meetings with Stahl, the South Routt School District and Routt County planners could take place in mid-September. Jones has said the district would like to have a site secured by the end of October.
-- To reach Brent Boyer call 871-4234
or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org