Developers outline plans

Stagecoach property owners grapple with fast development

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Developers outlined their plans to construct more than 225 new home sites near the entrance to Stagecoach during the annual Stagecoach Property Owners Association meeting Saturday at Soroco High School in Oak Creek.

More than 100 people came to the meeting to hear about recent development and infrastructure issues in Stagecoach and elect one-third of the board to help steer them in the right direction. In a show of hands, about half of the people at Saturday's meeting said they live in Stagecoach, and about 15 people said they were original lot owners from when Stagecoach was developed in the early 1970s.

Stagecoach property owners re-elected Ken Burgess and elected two new officers, Tony Bran and Jim Funk, all of whom stated their intents to help expand infrastructure options for subdivisions that were left without roads, water, sewer or electric more than three decades ago, and greater autonomy for individual subdivisions with diverse wants and needs within the sprawling Stagecoach area. Bound by 30-year-old covenants, the Stagecoach Property Owners Association does not recognize individual associations for the 16 separate subdivisions within Stagecoach.

"I hope they don't get so wrapped up in their own subdivisions that they miss the point on what is happening around them. What is going on is going to take a lot of time and effort," Routt County Planning Commission Chairman Don Alperti said after listening to campaign speeches and proposals by developers.

John Vandenbloemen announced the largest new proposed development, a 147-dwelling subdivision that was submitted to the planning commission for initial review just last week. The proposed 115 lots would include three subdivisions called The Neighborhood at Young's Peak, Double Creek Neighborhood and Blacktail Meadows, which would be linked by parkland and nonmotorized trails. The three proposed neighborhoods would surround Coyote Run, include land south of Eagle's Nest Townhomes and run up to the Stagecoach fire station site along Routt County Road 16.

Other development presentations were made by Scott Eggleston, who introduced 35-acre home sites for sale at Bushy Creek Ranch and Greenridge Ranch toward the southern end of Stagecoach, and Sun Cove architect and planner Mike Olsen who previewed the 31-unit Sun Cove subdivision that is under review along Routt County Road 16, across from the Wagonwheel Townhomes.

Art Fine from the Meadowgreen subdivision gave a step-by step explanation of how he organized a local improvement district to bring full utilities to 50 lots along C.R. 16 that were plotted in 1973. Only a couple of the lots have homes on them today.

"This is not a cookie-cutter thing. Each one has to be tailored to the circumstances of a particular subdivision," Fine told the audience, which hailed from subdivisions of varying sizes and states of development.

Property owners in several Stagecoach subdivisions have proceeded with construction without water, sewer and electric, choosing to go "off the grid" with photovoltaic systems and septic vaults, while individuals from other subdivisions expressed strong interest in pursuing the kind of infrastructure improvements Fine described.

"If there's no support from the lot owners, then forget about it," Fine warned the property owners, noting that local improvement districts need 100 percent support from the lot owners before making an assessment.

After listening to all the new development plans, Stagecoach property owners voted to pursue an update for their 30-year-old covenants, hoping to include issues such as lot consolidations, commercial development and the distribution of reserve funds in a new draft of the covenants.

"I think if we don't do it soon, it's out of our control," board member Sue Kimes said. She warned that changing the existing covenants would be a "monumental," time-consuming job that would cost money and require compromises.

"It's going to take a lot of cooperation," Kimes said.

The board estimated that it would take two to three years to finalize new Stagecoach covenant suggestions before a vote could take place. Then the new covenants would have to be approved by 75 percent of the property owners before going into effect.

Stagecoach needs to be considered the critical mass to keep South Routt going, said Pattie Snidow, senior development representative from the governor's Office of Economic Development and International Trade, who came before the Stagecoach property owners to discuss the results of the South Routt assessment her office made last August. She emphasized the importance of building infrastructure in Stagecoach to create a "healthy dynamic" and attract business. She also emphasized the need for a sustainable group of leaders to take ownership of the role they play in growth.

In support of its neighboring community's efforts to improve its recreational infrastructure, Stagecoach property owners also voted to contribute $5,000 to help roof the ice rink in Oak Creek.

--To reach Jennie Lay call 871-4210

or e-mail jlay@steamboatpilot.com

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