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Gibson Ranch now proposed as Planned Unit Development

JANE STEBBINS

BRECKENRIDGE – The owners of Gibson Ranch – now known as Eureka Estates – have decided to develop their project as a planned unit development (PUD) rather than individual home sites as originally proposed.

The difference is a PUD can be creative zoning, but has to include public benefits.

The Breckenridge Town Council will discuss the issue at its work session Tuesday afternoon. Although the project is in unincorporated Summit County, town officials are concerned because it would overlook the valley below and because Upper Blue Valley master plans discourage sprawl into the backcountry.

The project comprises 93 acres atop Gibson Hill, just above the French Creek and Huron Heights neighborhoods east of Breckenridge.

The Upper Blue Planning Commission first saw Danny Middleton’s proposal last August.

At that time, he said he wanted to develop the site as part of a 72-acre PUD that incorporates 17 mining claims into 17 reconfigured parcels on the face of Gibson Hill.

Middleton then asked the county for a variance for a 5.14-acre parcel atop the hill. He proposed to work within a 13,500-square-foot building envelope that encompasses the summit of the 10,476-foot mountain.

It came under much scrutiny – and criticism – last fall when the plans were divulged.

Town officials opposed the project, saying it went against everything in the Joint Upper Blue Master Plan (JUMP) because of proposed ridgeline development and sprawl.

Another issue was that the owner wanted to build a home on a five-acre site in an area of the county zoned for one unit per 20 acres.

The issue eventually found itself in front of the county Board of Adjustments, which denied the proposal on those grounds.

At that point, the owners and their agent, Rodney Allen, had the options to sue the county or redesign the project as a PUD.

Now, the proposal is to rezone the property to allow 20 single-family homes on 93 acres. The sites vary from 2.2 to 5.8 acres in size.

Although zoning still allows only one unit per 20 acres, the county has determined additional density is permissible because the mining claims predated that requirement, noted town planner Laurie Best in a memo to the council.

Despite the improvements to the proposal, she still has some concerns.

The first is with zoning there, which currently would allow four units. And it doesn’t comply with one of the primary goals of the JUMP, which is to reduce the remaining density in the Upper Blue Basin by 75 percent.

Others concerns, Best said, include the visual impact, site disturbance and ridgeline development associated with the project. Most of the development has been clustered around existing county roads, but some sites are still high on the ridge or will require new road and driveway construction and result in significant site disturbance, she said.

Best also would like the developer to consider the impact of its new wells on those belonging to households below.

– Jane Stebbins

Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or jstebbins@summitdaily.com.


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