Stage set for northern Breckenridge build-out |

Stage set for northern Breckenridge build-out

The design plan for the McCain property which the town of Breck hopes will address housing needs while retaining the natural beauty of the land.
Courtesy of the Town of Breckenridge |

The stage is set for one of Breckenridge’s most ambitious community build-out projects.

Earlier this month, the town moved forward with the final go-ahead to develop the McCain property, which sets aside about 10 acres for affordable housing, a new water treatment plant, 23 acres of open space, a solar garden, nearly 5 acres of overflow parking and proposed restoration of the Blue River.

The vision was developed with the help of the public’s input delivered at two meetings over the past two months. Mark Truckey, Breckenridge assistant director of community development, noted about 50 residents who attended the first meeting, many of who were from the Silver Shekel neighborhood just east of Highway 9.

After listening to community members, the town decided to increase the space designated for service-commercial uses. The original plan designated a 1.5-acre parcel on the east side of the McCain property for existing businesses, but after further discussion a 10-acre plot on the northwest corner of the property, which is reserved for residential use, was reenvisioned.

“We left the existing 1.5 area service-commercial area in tact, but redesigned the 10.2 acres to residential/service commercial,” Truckey said. “I would expect the majority of that area would still be residential.”

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The residential area has been approved for a maximum density of 20 units per acre. Truckey stressed the level was set above anticipated need, but with future housing requirements continuing to grow beyond expectations, it’s difficult to accurately assess future requirements.

“We don’t know the density levels at this time,” he said. “Likely it won’t be that high but town wanted to leave some flexibility.”

Preserving the night sky views was a priority for many residents in attendance at the public input meetings. Truckey said there are no plans to install lighting at the nearly 5 acre overflow parking area designated on the south east corner of the McCain property. Also the plan does not call for lighting along a proposed road running through the property.

The final version of the plan also addresses sightlines by establishing building height limitations. Structures within 200 feet of Highway 9 will be restricted to two stories. Beyond that area buildings taller than two stories will be discouraged.

There is also a proposed river restoration project to introduce a new channel to the stretch of Blue River passing through the McCain property. The current river channel does not support year-round flows or extensive vegetation as a result of historic dredge mining up-stream. In its current state the channel is not capable of handling a 100-year flood. The proposed new channel would be capable of containing a century-mark flood as well as supporting year round water flow.

The Fairview roundabout and increased traffic flow resulting from future residential development was another area of concern raised at public input meetings. Tim Gagen, Breckenridge town manager, said traffic studies would be conducted to analyze the situation. He noted that the master plan is only the starting point of a lengthy step-by-step process.

“The real work is when there’s actually a proposal,” he said.

While not discounting the perspectives of neighbors, Gagen pointed out that residential development typically has a low impact on traffic congestion.

“That road is designed for a lot more traffic than we experience 85 percent of the time,” he said.

Reiterating that the master plan is a launching point for upcoming development, Gagen said the town will engage the community for input as progress moves forward to address dire needs, like housing, parking and open space.”

“That’s why we hold public meetings.”

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