After complaints from homeowners, Summit County officials eye remedies for Antlers Gulch Road in Keystone
Concerns around flooding, traffic have increased since development of nearby workforce housing apartments at Village at Wintergreen
Roughly a month after hearing public testimony from Keystone property owners concerned about the impacts a nearby workforce housing complex has had on flood mitigation and traffic, the Summit Board of County Commissioners is eyeing ways to remedy potential issues.
Discussed during a Feb. 7 meeting, county staff presented an update on ongoing efforts to survey Antlers Gulch Road off U.S. Highway 6 after area homeowners, during a Jan. 10 meeting, said flooding and traffic issues have stemmed from the recently-developed Village at Wintergreen apartments.
Commissioner Tamara Pogue, during the Jan. 10 meeting, had asked staff to deliver reports within 30 days on both the area’s flood mitigation infrastructure and the cost of road maintenance. During the Feb. 7 meeting, staff said some progress has been made on those fronts but asked for more time to provide a detailed picture.
In particular, an analysis of the site’s drainage capabilities “is somewhat limited in our ability to complete,” due to snow coverage, said Robert Jacobs, road and bridge director and county engineer, who added the county has contacted the Colorado Department of Transportation, which he said is willing to also look into the issue.
“I think it would be perfectly reasonable to expect to have something in front of you by mid-July,” Jacobs said.
Jacobs said county staff have also reached out to Wintergreen’s developer, Gorman & Co, but have yet to hear a response.
He added: “They’re certainly not obligated to provide any of the information we’ve requested” but said it would be helpful to understand “what part their development may or may not have played in the drainage and flooding impacts that were reported.”
Homeowners in neighborhoods near Wintergreen, such as Lodgepole, have blamed the development for exacerbating flooding of those properties in July 2021 — a month that saw flash flood warnings and elevated flood risks for areas along the county’s rivers and streams. Wintergreen and its surrounding neighborhoods sit adjacent to the Snake River.
Some homeowners have criticized the “impervious surfaces” that have resulted from the added density of the apartments. Those surfaces have made the area unable to absorb stormwater, they claimed. Gorman & Co. has maintained that the Wintergreen development was not responsible for any impacts on flooding.
Commissioner Josh Blanchard said he felt the county should have a sense of urgency around mitigation efforts for the area — especially since higher-than-average snowpack levels could lead to a high volume of spring and summer runoff.
“Is there an option that we can look at in terms of being proactive so that we don’t see something happening in this runoff season,” Blanchard said, later adding that he would like the county to “closely monitor” the area.
Pogue agreed, adding: “It seems like we ought to do something.”
Jacobs said runoff is “virtually impossible to predict,” adding that, despite the above-average snowpack levels, a myriad of factors could influence how much and how fast it actually melts.
“We’re certainly attentive to runoff and snowmelt countywide,” Jacobs said, “that’s part of our normal practice.”
Jacobs also said that some of this analysis will need to be handled in tandem with CDOT and reiterated that “there’s only so much that we can do” while the ground remains frozen and covered in snow. But Jacobs said the county will continue to monitor the area ahead of flood season and said officials will be able to provide resources such as sandbags to help mitigate flooding if there’s “cause for concern.”
Along with flooding, another issue raised by homeowners during the Jan. 10 meeting revolved around traffic and the strain the Wintergreen apartments may be having on the integrity of Antlers Gulch Road — which the neighborhood homeowners associations manage.
Jacobs said a traffic count was conducted on Antlers Gulch Road last year but said a more in-depth analysis will be needed to better understand the area’s traffic needs.
“We didn’t collect enough data to show what traffic had a destination in Antlers Gulch Road coming through Wintergreen or generated from Antlers Gulch Road towards Wintergreen,” Jacobs said.
Options included making a one-time financial contribution to the HOAs to upgrade and maintain the road as well as the county itself taking over maintenance of the road — though the latter could require a change to the county’s code given its relation to workforce housing, Jacobs said.
County staff have not consulted with homeowners about either flood mitigation or road maintenance since before the Jan. 10 meeting, according to Jacobs.
Pogue said more outreach is needed and said homeowners should have the opportunity to weigh in on the suggestions county staff have made. She added that, while a decades-old plan for the area outlined the potential development of more housing, homeowners at the time may not have been prepared for the current impacts of such development that was approved by the county.
“The traffic on that road has increased because we added density right next door,” Pogue said, adding that the HOAs are “a partner in this conversation.”
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