County has water, road concerns

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County commissioners are worried about the water supply and road access for a proposed six-lot subdivision near the city airport.

The Routt County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday heard the Scott Family Part-ner-ship's plans for developing 188 acres. Walter Scott is proposing to divide the area into six building lots and a 140-acre tract of open space, forming a land preservation subdivision.

About six months ago, the family partnership deannexed the parcel from Steamboat Springs.

After Tuesday's meeting, Scott said he wasn't sure whether he would move forward with the plans.

County commissioners' first concern was water supply.

Scott gave them a letter from a nearby landowner who said he had a good well. However, the county requires an official report from an engineer, county planner John Eastman said. If there is not a lot of evidence that an area can produce water, an engineer often will drill a well until water is found. Scott suggested he did not want to have to drill several wells.

"I wouldn't be as optimistic ... about the availability of water," County Commissioner Doug Monger said. "Water is a huge concern to me, and the last thing I want to condone is having people haul water from the city."

Another concern is road access. Scott's plans do not show an easement between his lots that eventually would link the Victory Highway, a major road proposed in the West of Steamboat Springs Area Plan, with Routt County Road 129.

A memo from the county Road and Bridge Department stated that such access must be provided for in Scott's plans. County commissioners agreed that the road is important.

"We need to have that road out there," Monger said.

To that, Scott replied that his other option was to forgo the LPS proposal in favor of subdividing the land into 35-acre homesites, which would require no county approval.

Scott also said he didn't want to have a busy road through a few of the proposed parcels.

County Commissioner Dan El-lison said he thought Scott was on a "fishing trip.""You're just trying to see what you can get without any commitment," Ellison said.

Because the plan was heard as a preapplication, no decision was made. County commissioners strongly encouraged Scott to get more information about water supply and add an easement for a connecting road.

Scott has to wait to submit a formal application until litigation involving his access to the 188 acres is resolved with the city.

Senior city planner Tom Leeson said in a previous letter that the proposed LPS would not comply with the West of Steamboat Springs Area Plan, which designated the Scott family's land for some industrial uses as well as medium-density residential development. The land could have provided about 230,000 square feet of industrial space and 54 residential units.

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