Hayden OKs Dry Creek plan

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— Whether Hayden needs more residential projects weighed heavily on the minds of Hayden Planning Commission members Thursday.

For the second time, the commission reviewed a preliminary plat for Dry Creek Village, a 150-home subdivision proposed on Routt County Road 37. They approved the plan, 3-2, after a lengthy discussion.

Developer Jim Woods and George Gonzales, an engineer with Landmark Consultants Inc., presented a revised plan that met most of the commission's requests for wider roads, a landscape plan and examples of home designs with less prominent garages.

Gonzales said one builder would be constructing all the homes.

Woods and Gonzales held firm on their request to build an extensive trail system and sidewalks along the main parkway instead of building sidewalks along all streets, as required by the land-use code.

The Planning Commission in August also requested Woods explain how the development would benefit the community, because he also is requesting that the 47 acres of land be annexed.

Gonzales explained that the parkway provides an eventual link to C.R. 53 and that Woods would be among developers contributing to the realignment of C.R. 37 from U.S. Highway 40.

For utilities, Woods plans to share costs to bring gas and electric to the Valley View Business Park, directly north of Dry Creek Village.

Although Woods has proposed building a lift station to accommodate sewer needs, he agreed to explore the feasibility of connecting to sewer lines near the Dry Creek Park area to the west.

Discussions about such details, however, turned to the bigger question of whether there was enough demand for such a project, particularly in light of the commission's approval earlier this summer of the 53-home Lake Village project south of Sagewood.

Commission member Alicia Tuck said she would prefer to see how that project and the business park fare before deciding on another large residential subdivision.

"I think overall the project is great for the long term, I just don't know if it's good for the short term," said Tuck who, with Chuck VeDepo, declined approval.

Tuck worried that Dry Creek Village does not fit a growth timeline set forth in the town's Comprehensive Plan, which emphasizes having sufficient commercial growth to balance new residential projects.

Town Manager Russ Martin said revenues from commercial ventures have been increasing since 2004 and that many property owners have expressed interest in developing businesses.

Some commission members wanted more assurance.

"I guess I'm with Alicia. ...

I don't see proof of the need," Chair----woman Don--na Hellyer said, noting the empty lots that still exist in the Sagewood subdivision.

Hellyer approved the plan despite her concerns.

Gonzales and Woods said the first phase of the project would comprise about 26 homes and that the market would determine further building.

"We want to grow with the town," Gonzales said.

Martin pointed out that more residential projects would help keep homes more affordable.

"I have a lot of people asking me how we can get the cost of housing down," he said. "I'll tell you one way: Load it up."

The commission approved the plan with several conditions, including a requirement that developers have clear guidelines in their covenants regarding the appearance of garages and that the first phase have no more than 30 homes.

They also agreed to Woods' proposal for a trail system.

-- To reach Tamera Manzanares, call 871-4204 or e-mail tmanzanares@steamboatpilot.com

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