Routt County is in the midst of revisiting the 1999 Stagecoach Community Plan | SteamboatToday.com

Routt County is in the midst of revisiting the 1999 Stagecoach Community Plan

— Unincorporated Stagecoach in South Routt County has grown from 250 dwelling units to 475 since 1999 when its community plan was created, but several of the issues that frustrate residents and absentee owners of the sprawling neighborhood that comprises 31 subdivisions are familiar.

Now Routt County is taking a stab at updating the 20-year plan to make certain it fits the evolving community that has just 530 full-time residents and many more absentee owners. Of the 1,938 platted lots in greater Stagecoach, 1,688 are vacant.

Many lots at Stagecoach, particularly unbuilt lots in subdivisions at the southern end of the area about 17 miles south of Steamboat Springs, lack water and sewer infrastructure, but mostly sewer. And Denver resident John Troka, who is president of the Stagecoach Property Owners Association, told the Routt County commissioners Tuesday his members are eager for better service.

"Water and sewer are the biggest issue our owners face," Troka said.

The availability of wastewater treatment varies from subdivision to subdivision. Some people are able to rely on vault systems that must be pumped out.

Stagecoach boasts many handsome homes that have been built on successful subdivisions with ready access to Stagecoach Reservoir State Park. Fishing, boating, biking and wildlife watching are all part of the lifestyle.

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An issue of an entirely different nature than wastewater treatment is that Stagecoach has no community center – even a convenience store – to offer a gathering place that would make Stagecoach a neighborhood. There is no village.

"I don't think we'll ever have a community out there until we have a community center," County Commissioner Doug Monger said, "a place where people have the ability to get a carton of milk, sandwich meat and some bread."

Yet, Monger said he isn't interested in expending county funds to enhance the role Stagecoach plays as a bedroom community to Steamboat.

"I am not in favor of incentivizing the development of Stagecoach so people can go to work and school (in Steamboat) along County Road 14 while we have an infrastructure deficit," he said.

Stagecoach has a complicated past.

On Tuesday, Assistant County Planning Director Kristy Winser told the commissioners and an audience of about 15 South Routt residents that Stagecoach was originally developed by the Woodmoor Corp. in the 1970s. Stagecoach was envisioned to be a retirement community with a small ski area. But Woodmoor's development, which was approved for thousands of condos and townhomes, went bankrupt and its water and sewer district went bankrupt along with it.

That hasn't prevented buyers from selling and re-selling the lots, which often come with bargain prices.

The Morrison Creek Water and Sanitation District has long since emerged from bankruptcy. And its wastewater treatment plant is actually underused, board president Bob Woodmansee told the commissioners. The problem lies in the fact the plant always was meant to be temporary.

"It's a real challenge to keep that system maintained at this point," he said. "It's out of the question to expand infrastructure. Right now we're probably not even one disaster away from a real disaster."

Winser said the effort to update the Stagecoach Community Plan will unfold throughout the coming year.

Ultimately, the Routt County Planning Commission will be the final adopting body for the plan.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1