Breckenridge opposes planned development on Little Mountain
A development application for a single-family home with an access road on the ridgetop of Little Mountain could make its way to Summit County’s planning department, and the town of Breckenridge isn’t happy about it.
The town is sending a letter to the county with a list of its concerns about the development — including visual and environmental impacts as well as practicalities like sewer and fire truck access — along with a request for the applicant to look at alternative sites.
The development plan was reviewed by the Upper Blue Planning Commission at a work session in November. Summit County Planning Department Director April Kroner explained in an email that there is not an official application for what’s known as the Lizzie Lode Development, but that the work session was held to discuss the possibility of the proposal.
At the work session, Kroner said the applicant was advised to address two issues before submitting an application: seek an alternate location on the site with less disturbance, and cooperate with the town of Breckenridge regarding open space offerings.
Despite not being within city limits, the development was discussed at Breckenridge Town Council’s Dec. 22 special meeting. Community Development Director Mark Truckey said the town has received a referral regarding the development from the county — which means a development proposal has come up that is near the town’s borders — so the town gets updates on the proposal from the county planning department and can offer comments.
Truckey said town staff has “serious concerns” with the development because of visual and environmental impacts, including that the development would be visible from many locations in town and that the proposal includes a switchbacking road that climbs several hundred feet to the site.
“It’s going to create several acres of disturbance, removal of the existing trees and vegetation, and is really, we feel, going to change the whole open space character of that hillside, which … right now is undeveloped,” Truckey said. “So it’s a significant concern to us, and it conflicts, we believe, with a lot of the master plan policies both in the Joint Upper Blue Master Plan and in some of the master plans that the county has.”
Truckey said less impactful building sites should be considered, such as the bottom of the hill adjacent to Lower Boreas Pass Road. During the council meeting, council member Kelly Owens expressed concerns that the development would create a wildlife roadblock.
“Building a road with retaining walls would really interrupt any sort of animal movement, especially ungulates like moose,” Owen said. “… It’s all the same species that we’re spending a lot of time and energy on in the (Cucumber) Gulch. It’s just putting up another roadblock.”
If approved, Owens said the county should require the property owners to get fire insurance, meaning a fire truck should be able to get up the road to the site. Council members also questioned how the sewer system would run to the homesite. Truckey said this has been identified by the county as an issue because sewer lines might have to be run up the hill.
Truckey drafted the letter to the county, which is to be signed by council, but council members said the letter should use stronger language to better convey their concerns.
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