South Routt School District to make request to Song Mountain

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— The South Routt School District will ask the proposed Song Mountain development in Stagecoach to provide land or cash for a future school.

After an hour-long work session Thursday night, in which the South Routt School Board heard a presentation about Song Mountain, members approved a motion that directed Superintendent Scott Mader to draft a letter to developers requesting that the district receive land or cash in lieu of public sites.

According to design standards of Routt County subdivision regulations, "the county shall require the dedication of land and/or payment in lieu thereof for public sites such as schools, fire stations, or other necessary public facilities as determined by the board. Such dedication shall be 5 percent of the gross land area of the proposed subdivision."

There is a caveat, however. The district couldn't use the cash paid instead of getting land to construct a school, said Routt County Assistant Planning Director Ellen Hoj, who gave the presentation to the School Board.

At a meeting last month, the development's land planner, Peter Patten, of Patten Associates in Steamboat Springs, said 46 acres at the site had been set aside for a future Oak Creek Fire Protection District station to satisfy the public site requirement.

There's no reason the 5 percent land dedication couldn't be split between the district and fire station, Hoj said.

She said the site set aside for the fire station, toward the southeastern portion of the development, was very steep, had very little developable area and wouldn't be ideal for a school.

She suggested that board members approve a motion directing Mader to draft a letter indicating what the district wanted from the developers. Hoj also suggested that Mader meet with Patten to discuss the district's proposal.

If the district wasn't able to reach an agreement with the developers of Song Mountain for land as part of the 5 percent dedication for public sites, it could try to negotiate a different deal. The only downside to that, Hoj said, was it wouldn't be required to do so by the county.

She suggested that the letter be drafted and the district meet with Patten before Song Mountain will go before the county next Tuesday to request approval of the conceptual planned unit development and sketch plan - before all the flatter areas of the proposed development were approved for homes.

"At first glance, it seems a dollar settlement would be better," said Board President Tim Corrigan. "But if I had my druthers, I'd love to have a nice flat 20- or 30-acre site. That's what I'd really like to have."

Mader said he also would make a presentation to county commissioners Tuesday about the district's desire to receive land or cash from the developers.

Song Mountain is a proposed development that could include 272 residential lots on nearly 900 acres overlooking Stagecoach Reservoir. Patten has said an estimated 142 students could move there. But he also said he thought the steepness of the site didn't make it an ideal place to locate a school.

In other action

Also Thursday, Mader said he toured the recently repaired gymnasium at South Routt Elementary School in Yampa, which caught fire when it was struck by lightning in June.

The $150,000 to make the repairs was covered by the district's insurance.

He said it looked "10 times better than it did before" and elementary school students could use it today.

Finally, the School Board approved a policy that dictates relations with district charter schools in preparation of an application. A group proposing a charter school in Stagecoach has said it will submit its application to the district Oct. 1, the deadline to potentially open a school for the 2010-11 school year.

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