Breck plans open space, government use on McCain
April 12, 2013
BRECKENRIDGE – A clearer picture of the future layout of Breckenridge’s northern McCain Property is coming together, as the town works to finalize plans for open space and government use on the parcel.
Town leaders agreed Tuesday to leave as much of the property as possible undeveloped, but debated whether to set aside part of the property for overflow parking.
“I’m getting frustrated with the way town looks with cars parked on every vacant piece of land,” Councilman Ben Brewer said. “We shouldn’t reserve places to park on this parcel. It’s the last place we could conceivably say no.”
But others said the parking was necessary for a resort community. The town plans to put an affordable housing development on the lot currently used for overflow skier parking in the next few years.
Officials agreed, however, to set aside space for snow storage, a solar garden, water storage and a Gateway Park, nodding to feedback from locals’ that the McCain property is the entry to Breckenridge for visitors and should be kept green and open.
Councilman Gary Gallagher said the town should “landscape and buffer to the maximum extent” around the solar garden to hide it from view on Hwy. 9.
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A long, thin 38-acre section along the Blue River will be improved and kept as open space.
The council agreed to pull plans for a service commercial segment on the property given objections from the community, but said they would uphold the leases of current service commercial businesses operating on the property.
“I am not in favor of service commercial being a part of this master plan,” Councilman Gary Gallagher said Tuesday. “I certainly would honor the (current leases) until such time as the town or community was prepared to move forward.”
Among the tenants on the property is Breck Bears, formerly High Country Furniture and Gallery, a long-time local business that makes and displays iconic wooden bears adjacent to Highway 9.
At recent public hearings on the future of the McCain property, Breckenridge residents demanded that “the bears” be allowed to remain on the parcel. Breck Bears is on a year-to-year lease with the town. Management has made it clear the business would have to close its doors if not permitted to continue operating in the current location.
Breckenridge purchased the McCain property – a 126-acre rectangular strip of land that runs adjacent to Highway 9 on the north end of town – from a private owner in 2000. One third of the parcel’s approximately $1 million price tag was covered with open space funds, as the town intends to preserve the portion of the property along the Blue River corridor.
Breck officials say there are no plans in place to sell off the section of land that runs adjacent to the river for development, but there could be. The town is permitted to sell land purchased with open space dollars as long as the money from the sale is returned to the open space fund.
“The intent is for it to stay open space,” Breckenridge spokeswoman Kim Dykstra-DiLallo said in November of the river corridor, which is also a key wildlife migration area. “But it isn’t like a land trust.”