The South Routt School District appears close to obtaining a parcel of land in Stagecoach that could be the site of a future elementary school.
Under a proposed deal between Routt County and the developer of the Neighborhoods at Young's Peak subdivision, the South Routt School District would receive a 9.5-acre parcel of land in exchange for the developer receiving future considerations from the county, Superintendent Steve Jones told School Board members last week.
"I think this thing is coming to a head," Jones said at Thursday's School Board meeting. "I believe we're going to end up with a school site as of June."
District officials, who have been in regular communication with the Routt County Planning Department regarding the proposed deal, have stated that the 9.5-acre site is acceptable for a school and have committed to using the site only for an elementary school, Jones said. The land deal would cost the district nothing.
The parcel of land has been appraised at nearly $1 million, and the county and developer Brian Stahl are continuing to negotiate about "future considerations," Jones said. Routt County Planning Department staff planner Mary Alice Page-Allen couldn't be reached for comment late last week.
Jones thanked the Routt County Board of Commissioners, the Routt County Planning Department, the Routt County Planning Commission and Stahl for their commitment to dedicating a school site in Stagecoach for the district.
"A lot of that the county is doing for the school district," Jones said. "They're really stepping up."
County regulations stipulate that a minimum of 5 percent of gross land area in a given subdivision be dedicated to one or more essential public purposes, such as fire stations or schools. The county can accept payments in lieu of land if property for public purpose isn't feasible or necessary. The 9.5-acre parcel of land is significantly larger than the 4.7 acres Stahl would be required by law to dedicated to public purposes, hence the negotiations about future county considerations. The proposed Neighborhoods at Young's Peak subdivision totals 93.5 acres.
School Board members said they support the proposed agreement.
"I've been racking my brain trying to come up with the negatives associated with this, and I can't," board member Tim Corrigan said.
The South Routt School District has actively pursued a deal that would dedicate land for a future school site since last year. The district thinks a potential population boom in the Stagecoach area could severely stretch its existing facilities -- an elementary school in Yampa and a middle school and high school in Oak Creek. At a June 2004 School Board meeting, Page-Allen told board members that residential construction in Stagecoach could realize between 150 and 180 homes during the next three years, a number that could translate to as many as 500 new residents. If one-third of those residents are children, the district could experience a significant enrollment increase, and one that would strain its existing elementary facility.
School Board members have said they'd rather be active on the front end of Stagecoach development to ensure the needs of those children and families are met rather than waiting until there's no land left to be dedicated to the district.
"We're in good shape at this point, and I didn't think we would be," School Board President Hank deGanahl said.
The Routt Coun--ty Planning Com--mission is scheduled to hear the Neigh--borhoods at Young's Peak subdivision petition May 19. The Routt County Board of Commissioners is scheduled to hear the petition June 14.
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