Eagle County and the town of Gypsum are budgeting for a 2013 planning effort for Dotsero land use and utilities.
The anticipated cost of the extra planning is in the range of $100,000, which would be split between the county and Gypsum. Gypsum has more of a stake in Dotsero after its recent annexation of Dotsero Station at Sweetwater Ranch - property that contains a man-made water ski lake near the center of the area.
Meanwhile, the county planning department is currently wrapping up a six-year process of creating a formal Dotsero Area Community Plan. Senior Planner Cliff Simonton said that plan is about a month away from adoption.
"This is the first master plan for the area," Simonton told the commissioners during a recent meeting. "It doesn't say what has to happen but it will provide guidance for growth and development."
On Monday, Gypsum Town Manager Jeff Shroll and Town Planner Lana Gallegos met with county commissioners and staff to touch base on the collaborative plan. All agreed that Dotsero faces challenges in terms of land use and infrastructure.
Just getting a sewer system in place that can serve the whole area is among the first major challenges to overcome. More water rights will be needed and water quality is an issue. Some Dotsero residents rely on bottled water. Additionally, Dotsero's small, aging water treatment plant is not connected and far away from growing areas. Obstacles to that infrastructure include the Colorado River and an extensive layer of volcanic bedrock, which makes for tough digging.
Solving the infrastructure needs will likely help pull Dotsero's current piece-meal developments into a more cohesive one and hopefully set the ground work for a commercial core and a more viable community.
"We want to have Eagle County book-ended by nice things," Shroll said. "We want Dotsero to be every bit as special when you come out of the Glenwood Canyon as it is when you see East Vail from Vail Pass."
Simonton said he wants more input from Dotsero property owners but Eagle County Planning Commission meetings have been poorly attended by residents.
"There's still a big question mark on service and a big question on what you do with those properties out there that are so visible from Interstate 70 (a likely place for a commercial core) but they're sitting on top of basalt rock," Simonton said.
The county and Gypsum hope to answer some of those questions next year as they continue to collaborate.