Wednesday, September 29, 2004
South Routt School District officials and a Stagecoach developer have identified a potential site for a future elementary school, but several obstacles remain before the land can be dedicated to the school system.
The 12-acre site, which includes some wetlands, would be ideal for an elementary school, South Routt Superintendent Steve Jones said. Jones, developer Brian Stahl, Routt County staff planner Mary Alice Page-Allen and several others met earlier this month to continue discussing the possibility of dedicating land to the district.
South Routt school officials have been pursuing dedication of a parcel of land in Stagecoach in anticipation of a future population boom that could severely stretch the district's existing facilities.
The 400-student district has an elementary school in Yampa and a secondary campus in Oak Creek. Jones has said the elementary school is at 86 percent capacity and any influx of young students from the growing Stagecoach area would push the school beyond its limits.
In a June meeting with district officials, Page-Allen predicted a population explosion in Stagecoach during the next several years. Residential construction in the area could create between 150 and 180 homes during the next three years, a number that could translate to an additional 500 residents, Page-Allen said at that meeting.
Led by Jones and School Board member Tim Corrigan, the district has continued to meet with Routt County planners and Stahl, whose proposed 93.5-acre Neighborhoods at Young's Peak subdivision is said to provide an ideal school site. Stahl has expressed a desire to work with the district and bring a school to Stagecoach.
Jones, Corrigan, Page-Allen, Stahl and John Vanderbloemen, Stahl's attorney, met earlier this month and identified the 12-acre site as well and several other potential parcels, Jones said. The ideal elementary school site is 10 acres, with an additional acre for every 100 students, according to well-established national recommendations.
Page-Allen and Vanderbloemen didn't immediately return phone calls seeking comment Wednesday.
"It would be an awesome site," Jones said of the land. "I think the issue is going to be how to make it fair for Brian Stahl in terms of dedicating that site to the school district."
County regulations stipulate that a minimum 5 percent of gross land area in a given subdivision must be dedicated to one or more essential public purposes, including fire stations or 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 about whether to accept payment in lieu of land or insist on land being dedicated for a public purpose.
However, because the 12-acre site is significantly larger than the 4.7 acres Stahl would be required by law to dedicate to a public purpose, it's likely Stahl would want to negotiate some sort of agreement with the county. Jones said he hopes a proposal is developed in the next several months.
"I'd say it's the first discussion of quite a few as we work out the details," Jones said.
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