Elkins Meadow final plat up for review

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A city planning commissioner's request has the controversial Elkins Meadow development back in public review as it seeks approval for a final subdivision plat.

Typically approved during an administrative review process, the final plat application rarely makes its way to the Planning Commission or City Council. But, Planning Commissioner Dick Curtis requested a public hearing for the final plat application of 20 luxury homes on the 104 acres off Fish Creek Falls Road.

Curtis would not state his reason for calling up the final plat, citing it would violate ex parte communications. In a letter to the city's Planning Department, Curtis did say the request was based on new title information the planning staff received on existing easements in Elkins Meadow. The letter also cited new information regarding the agreement that the developers, The Wharton Development Group, has with the city to allow cross country skiing in Elkins Meadow.

A neighboring property owner also requested the project be reviewed by the public because of the impact construction has had on her property.

Lauren Dobell, who owns 35 acres west of the development, said that when construction was being done this summer, soils, clays and other debris ran off the construction site and onto her property causing heavy silting in three ponds.

She also said her fences were damaged during construction and have not been fixed and that damage was done to her driveway.

"They already have the authority to do it," Dobell said. "I want to make sure they do it right."

Approved almost a year and a half ago, the preliminary plat for Elkins Meadow sparked public outcry from those who were unwilling to see the last piece of open space on the way to Fish Creek Falls developed. In June 2002, the Planning Commission approved the project after much public comment. The next month, the City Council tabled the proposal asking the developers to go back and rework the plans to reduce density, lot size and home size.

In a 6-2 vote in September 2002, the council approved the project.

At that time, Councilman Paul Strong said he did not want to see the land developed, but the council was bound by law to approve projects that meet the city's community development code.

"What we should have done is de-annexed it from the city," he said.

In November, listing broker of the development Annette Hall said 11 of Elkins Meadow's 20 building sites where under contract, pending city approval of the final subdivision plat.

In other business:

n The planning commission will hear pre-application plans for Fox Creek Village, a 36-unit townhome project on almost 4 acres along Hilltop Parkway. Of the 36 units, 17 of them are proposed for deed restricted affordable housing units.

The project is part of the Hands on Housing Project, a self-help housing program where owners build their homes and receive other affordable housing subsidies. The applicant, the TMD Corporation Inc., is requesting variances from zoning and development standards and for fees to be waived.

n The Planning Commissioners also will look at a mixed-use project on 11th Street and Yampa Avenue. The project calls for commercial space along Yampa Avenue and four employee-designated residential units.

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