Snake River update adoption delayed |

Snake River update adoption delayed

DILLON – The Snake River Planning Commission decided to postpone the adopting of its master plan update after two unexpected requests surfaced at last Thursday’s public hearing.About 30 people attended the open house and public hearing, which planners had hoped would finalize the update process. But commissioners decided that both appeals needed more investigation.The requests came from two Front Range residents who own property in Summit County and want to have the option to develop in the future. If commissioners had adopted the update as it was presented last week, the possibility to build on the lots would have been eliminated.The first petitionThe first petition came from a Golden man who owns a lot in the Summerwood development, located just south of the Dillon town limit. John Hermanussen wants to build on a neighboring 2.5-acre parcel that currently is designated as open space.For Hermanussen to build the four, single-family homes on the parcel, owned by the Summerwood Homeowner’s Association, he would need to change the zoning from open space to residential. This requires utilization of the Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) program, which allows the county to keep density from creeping into the backcountry.He asked the commission to consider designating the adjoining lot as a receiving site for TDRs. Hermanussen offered to donate a portion of the property containing a trail to some of the county’s open space.One Summerwood resident said the homeowner’s association never took a vote on the sale, and that it bought the parcel with the understanding it would remain open space.Although Hermanussen had a letter of support from the president of the association, the commission also asked him to bring back notification of overwhelming support of the project from the entire group of homeowners.

The second petitionArt Fine, who owns a lot in Summit Cove near the elementary school, made a similar request. His lot is also zoned open space, but Fine doesn’t want to close the door on residential development.”It’s a private piece of land and I don’t want limitations on what I can do with it,” Fine said.Fine added that he would also welcome some sort of conservation easement that would protect Soda Creek, which runs through his property.After discussing both requests, the commission decided site visits would be necessary to make an educated decision.”We put an awful lot of time and effort into this and I’m not comfortable making a decision on something that comes up at the last minute,” said commissioner Craig Suwinski.Extra timeThe extra time will also allow the town of Dillon to review the update, which town manager Jack Benson had requested late last week.Other comments from the handful of attendees who spoke included concern that the TDR program wasn’t fully addressed, which might allow developers to abuse the system.The Board of County Commissioners had expressed concern that the leeway given to the Keystone Science School could set a precedent that other organizations in the county could ask for down the line.After much discussion, the commission was able to hammer out most of the issues that arose and expects to make a decision on the land use requests at its March 10 meeting.Nicole Formosa can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 229, or at

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