Hayden may get high-end subdivision

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The first high-end subdivision in the Hayden area is up for final approval. The developers of Hidden Springs Ranch hope to begin selling lots -- which start at $169,000 -- within the next month.

"This is a unique deal to Hayden because it will provide upper class homes in the $2 million to $3 million range," 4S Development partner Ron Sills said. Nine lots have

been reserved, he said.

"A couple of the out-of-state guys are really eager to get building on their houses," he said. "They've been pushing us to get through with planning and get started building."

The Routt County Planning Commission will consider final plat approval for Hidden Springs Ranch on March 24. If approved, 4S Development can begin selling lots and building homes. The group built the subdivision's roads and a large, metal entrance gate after receiving preliminary plat approval last year.

Hidden Springs Ranch is a 28-home land preservation subdivision planned for 770 acres just south of Hayden. Each lot is 5 acres, leaving 630 acres as dedicated open space.

About 460 acres of that open space will border the outer boundary of the subdivision, while 170 acres will be common area at the heart of the subdivision, running along the subdivision's namesake spring, Sills said.

The deep, cold-water spring in the middle of the property flows out of the ground, across the subdivision and back into the ground on the other side.

The spring fills three small ponds on the land. Last summer, developers dredged the ponds deeper and wider, making two of the ponds about an acre each and one almost 3 acres. The 4S group plans to build trails around the ponds and stock them with trout and other fish, Sills said.

Land preservation subdivisions such as Hidden Springs are designed to preserve open natural surroundings, and are encouraged in the Routt County Master Plan. Design criteria incorporated into the LPS process is meant to ensure wildlife can thrive even when homes are built.

Keeping the areas open around the spring and ponds it flows into was critical in achieving the LPS criteria and overall aesthetic appeal of Hidden Springs Ranch, Sills said.

"We made sure to keep the road clear of the water," Sills said. "The water attracts deer and antelope in the area."

Hidden Springs Ranch sits atop a mesa of gradual, rolling hills, which will provide most residents with panoramic views over the town of Hayden and surrounding mountains. The mesa was once barren of trees, but 4S planted about 600 aspens and evergreens on the site last summer and plans to plant about 6,000 more in the spring, Sills said.

A trail is planned to connect Hidden Springs to an 18-hole golf course in a neighboring subdivision, The Villages at Hayden, formerly known as Sunburst Ranch. The golf course and The Villages are in the preliminary planning stages.

Although the open space, nearby golf course and large lots lend themselves to a high-end subdivision, developers say not all homes will be in the million-dollar range.

"This really started with Ron realizing most of his employees were living in Craig and working in Steamboat and Ron trying to find a closer place for his employees to live," 4S partner Don Patterson said. "It probably ended up as more upscale, but the lot prices are pretty affordable by Steamboat standards."

Construction of the homes will be done exclusively by 4S Development, which includes Tom Heuer, Jack Sills, Mark Sills, Mark Caldwell, Don Patterson, Tom Fox, Rick Broadhurst and NCPH Trust for the family of Ron Sills.

For more information about Hidden Springs Ranch, call 734-4576.

-- To reach Nick Foster call 871-4204

or e-mail nfoster@steamboatpilot.com

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