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Developers looking at master plan for north side
2/15/2008 By: Carole McWilliams
A potential several hundred homes and large areas for commercial development are included in a master plan for the northeast edge of Bayfield, put together by the affected landowners.
Dove Ranch developer Brad Elder and landowner Scott Fleming led the effort. Elder presented the plan to the town planning commission Tuesday evening.
Elder said some of the owners want to develop in the next few years, while others might not do anything for 20 to 30 years, or ever.
Fleming (40 acres), Elder (77.52 acres), and Oscar Byrd (43.43 acres) own the parcels that are contiguous to town limits.
Fleming has town on three sides and has been trying to annex and develop his land since late 1993. Now he is in serious talks to do a land trade with the school district. His 40 acres, just south of the middle school, could become another school site.
Elder told planning commissioners, “We’ve done a lot of analysis in the closer area. We know the road alignments and grades work. Farther out, the alignments are conceptual.”
The plan also looks at what might happen along the north side of the highway, Elder said. The plan area is bounded by the highway as it goes east of town and turns north.
Elder said most of the parcels have very limited highway access. “Some of this may never happen, but it’s important to see how it all connects,” he said.
As for the topography, he said, “It all works. We put down what we thought was possible everywhere. … We have more questions than you do at this point. We want this to be a cooperative effort, since we’re all pulling in the same direction.”
Elder mentioned the possibility of a Special Improvement District to put in the streets and utilities, with a vote of the property owners in November.
Town planner Joe Crain commented, “It’s very seldom that you see private parties coming together to look at things on a regional basis. I appreciate Brad and Scott getting the owners together.”
He said the town’s comprehensive plan doesn’t have any detail in that area. “The master plan will show the ultimate that could be developed there for the traffic study” that will be required as part of getting a Colorado Department of Transportation access permit for a north side highway access, something the town has wanted for years.
On Feb. 6, town trustees authorized Crain and Town Manager Justin Clifton to apply for the permit. It’s a long process, Crain said. It has to be the town that applies, not the landowners.
Even if the process starts now, “we aren’t contemplating construction of anything for a few years,” Crain said. It’s likely to get done in phases.
The access is necessary for the development proposed in the master plan, as well as giving the town another north-south connection. An arterial street would go north up the hill and connect with Dove Ranch Road.
Elder will make the master plan presentation to the town board on Feb. 19.
Crain wants the planning commission to have sessions specifically on this proposal, with the idea of having it ready for a formal public hearing in about three months, to make it part of the town comprehensive plan. Planning commissioners agreed.
Some planning commissioners worry that CDOT might close or restrict the Commerce Drive access once the east end access is built.
Crain and Clifton indicated they aren’t that worried about it. Any change at Commerce would be accident driven, they said. If anything, restricting turn movements would happen first. But they think the new access will reduce pressure on the Commerce Drive intersection.
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