The Hayden Planning Commission has recommended that the Hayden Town Board proceed with annexing 676 acres on the south side of town for a residential subdivision and golf course.
At a Planning Commission meeting Thursday, the annexation request received mixed reaction from commissioners and the public, but a motion to recommend approval passed 4-2, with Planning Commission members Tim Watt, Alicia Tuck, Kevin Copeland and Andrea Hayden in support, and Chuck VeDepo and Chairwoman Donna Hellyer opposing.
Developer West Routt Properties is requesting the annexation to add to 230-plus in-town acres for a 900-acre, 2,000-home subdivision. The subdivision, formerly known as Sunburst Ranch, will be called "The Villages at Hayden" and will include an 18-hole golf course in its first phase.
Hellyer said she opposed the recommendation because she wants to see the potential annexation's impacts plugged into the town's CommunityViz planning software model before moving forward.
VeDepo said he opposed the recommendation after watching the Hayden Community Video and noticing several people mention a desire for "slow and managed growth." The Hayden Community Video is another planning tool the town of Hayden is using to analyze how residents want the community to grow.
"We have subdivisions currently that haven't grown out," VeDepo said. "There are a lot of empty lots, and I would like to see those fill out before we start growing out."
Tom Heuer, a member of the West Routt Properties group, presented information about the project. He said the project would be built in five to six three-year phases, and a community center with two restaurants and a pro shop would be the central place.
Heuer said an aquifer below the property has water sufficient to supply all 2,000 homes, several planned lakes and irrigation of the golf course. West Routt Properties is filing for water rights to use the aquifer's water, and those water rights eventually would be turned over to the town of Hayden, Heuer said.
In public comment, Hayden Economic Development Commission Vice-President Don Johnson urged the Planning Commission to recommend moving forward.
"The Villages is a good project because the town will be dealing with just one developer," he said, and the design will be contiguous.
Hayden School District Superintendent Scott Mader said he also like the proposal, citing three specific reasons: The developers have said they would donate land to the district for a new school, designate homebuyer fees that would help pay for a new school, and the size of the project would bring more students to the district.
In other business:
n Developer Paul Flood received final plat approval of a 29-lot subdivision located immediately south of Hayden Valley Elementary School. The 4-2 decision to approve came after a heated hour-long discussion about whether Flood should build sidewalks in the subdivision.
n The Planning Commission approved the final plat of a rental car maintenance facility with the condition that the developer, Aaron Wiltfong, provide details of the operations at the facility.
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