Derek Franz

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January 25, 2012
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Gypsum braced to get bigger

Gypsum Town Council members moved forward with proceedings to annex the "Dotsero Station at Sweetwater Ranch" at their Tuesday meeting.

If everything continues along the present course, the 56-acre annexation will be finalized at the Feb. 28 council meeting. The parcel is 2.7 miles west of the town's current boundary.

Mike Young owns the property, which includes a water-ski lake he built in 2006. The lake is now owned by 15 members.

Through phased development, Young plans to build a commercial complex that includes a gas station, restaurant - likely a Subway sandwich chain, and retail, storage and residential units. The gas station/commercial complex would be built first, basically as one structure.

Young said he has been trying to get started on the development for six years and was working with Eagle County, since Dotsero is an unincorporated area. He and Steve Isom, the project's planner, approached Gypsum Town Council on Dec. 13 and asked for the property to be annexed. They cited a long, frustrating process with the county as part of their reasoning.

At the December meeting, Isom said the county was concerned about creating another large unincorporated area such as Edwards, which is among the largest in the state. He and Young hoped that Gypsum would help move things along by taking the property under its wing.

In a letter to the town of Gypsum, Eagle County stated, "the county views this proposal before the town as a clear example of jurisdiction shopping, which should be discouraged." However, the letter acknowledged the decision was up to the town and listed some considerations, such as consolidating public water and wastewater treatment facilities.

As part of the deal, Gypsum stipulated a half-acre be set aside for a future wastewater system. The half-acre might be saved as two quarter-acre portions in different places on the property.

"The town will have continual access and utility easements all the way to the river (which borders the property)," Isom added.

There are also some access issues with the property due to a small Colorado Department of Transportation building that is nearby. Permitting is already in place with CDOT to build a turn lane, however.

After presenting detailed plans, Young asked the council members if the town would consider allowing a tall sign as well.

"I'm kind of down in a hole there and a sign that was maybe about 40 feet tall would help the place be seen by people on the interstate," he said.

Council members didn't object to the idea but said it would be up to the town's planning staff.

"Overall, I think the main building looks very nice," said council member Tom Edwards, who is a former architect. "I would like to see something nicer for the storage units, though."

Young expressed a willingness to work with the town.

"I'd be open minded with the town of Gypsum because no one knows what's going to happen," he said, underlining the fact that he is building the development one phase at a time and isn't sure of everything that might be built there one day. "Maybe a hotel," he said.

Gypsum Mayor Steve Carver was the only member absent from the meeting.

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The VailDaily Updated Jan 25, 2012 01:55PM Published Jan 25, 2012 01:54PM Copyright 2012 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.