Frost Creek plan denied
The Eagle County Commissioners will have the final say on the plan, which will reach them on Feb. 4.
The planners voiced concerns development in the Salt Creek area would create too heavy an impact on wetlands and riparian areas. Commission members Evelyn Pinney-LeVine, Pat Hammon and Steven Rose voted to deny the proposal; members John King and Sandra Donnelly voted in favor of the plan.
As proposed, the planned unit development would include 60 home sites with the possibility of 30 accessory units, as well as a private golf course and clubhouse on about 1,100 acres at Frost Creek, and 21 single-family homes on 520 acres at Salt Creek.
The two parcels are part of a larger plan for the Brush Creek Valley holdings of St. Louis-based developer Fred Kummer. That plan also includes a 135-unit subdivision downstream from Frost Creek along the east side of Brush Creek. That plan has yet to be submitted to the county.
Earlier this month, planning commissioners lauded Kummer and his representatives for the work done so far on the project, but the three planning commissioners who voted to deny the plan voiced reservations about issues including wildlife, wetland and riparian area impacts.
“While there are many positives to this plan, there are too many unresolved issues, including disruption of riparian areas and the Salt Creek development,” said Rose, in making a motion to deny the proposal.
Rose and Pinney-LeVine both said any development in the Salt Creek area would create too heavy an impact on wetlands and riparian areas.
The vote for denial came after several meetings, starting last year shortly after Kummer and the town of Eagle completed an agreement for water service to his Brush Creek holdings. That agreement settled a suit Kummer had filed against the town, setting numerous limits on home numbers and locations throughout the Brush Creek Valley. While that agreement has been an important part of the county approval process, Planning Commission members had numerous issues of their own to discuss.
One of the primary issues involved wildlife. Wildlife Officer Bill Heicher of the Colorado Division of Wildlife presented a new plan for mitigating at least some of the impacts the projects along Frost and Salt creeks would create.
The mitigation plans included moving some property lines on the subdivision map, as well as redesigning some building envelopes. Heicher also asked for an education program for homeowners and a fairly strong fine system to be imposed by the homeowners association.
In addition, “wildlife protection zones” have been established in the area that will be off-limits to residents during critical times of the year. The exceptions to that ban would be golf course play and required maintenance. Even allowing for golf course play, though, some of the protection zones would be off-limits to humans, meaning golfers would have to leave balls hit into those areas.
County planner Bob Naracci said similar education plans and wildlife zones are currently in use at Cordillera and Red Sky Ranch.
The mitigation program includes creation of some habitat in ponds at the subdivision, and placement of a conservation easement on sensitive areas at Salt Creek.
The planners asked Heicher if he was satisfied with the plan forged with Adam’s Rib representative Randy Cloyd and attorney Boots Ferguson.
“Personally, I don’t want any of it,” said Heicher, “Realistically, similar compromises have been done with other projects. … I said the same things about Red Sky Ranch and Cordillera.”
While the project ultimately failed to pass muster with planning commission members, Kummer said he will bring the project to the commissioners as it was presented to the commission Jan. 9.
Responding to the call from commission members to re-think the Salt Creek development, Kummer said, “If one doesn’t do (Salt Creek), one doesn’t do the project at all.”
This story first appeared in the Eagle Valley Enterprise.