Summit County officials table request to make changes to neighborhood on Bald Mountain near Sally Barber Trail due to concerns

Sunrise over Bald Mountain taken from Illinois Gulch Road. Jeff Dixon/Summit Daily News Archive. The Ranch at Breckenridge, a neighborhood toward the top of Bald Mountain, looks to make make minor modifications to their planned unit development, but Summit County Commissioners lack enough information to approve the resolution.
Jeff Dixon / Summit Daily Reader |

Summit County Commissioners have decided not to immediately approve minor modifications to the planned unit development outlined for the Ranch at Breckenridge, near Bald Mountain.

Suzanne Sabo, principal of Allen-Guerra Architecture, purchased a 212-acre plot of land called the Ranch at Breckenridge and wants to fulfill the original purpose of the planned unit development. 

According to the project description that was submitted to the Board of County Commissioners, “The vision for this development was to create a low-density community which preserved the natural features and mining heritage of the area.” 

At the Ranch at Breckenridge, there are only 12 homes. There are also multiple trails that either run along or through the area.

Because it is a planned unit development, there are specific zoning requirements. Therefore, even though there will be a minor changes, the Phase II project that adjusts the development of the neighborhood requires collaboration between the Summit County Planning Department, Open Space and Trails and the Board of County Commissioners. 

Jessica Potter, the senior planner of the Summit County Planning Department, described the planned unit development minor modification as a way to modernize the Phase II development from how was intended to be in the early 1990s. There will be updated road access, added fire suppression technology, reallocation of trails and some added benefits like four land parcels that will be given to the Open Space and Trails department. Overall, there will be no major differences like changes in density. 

However, there are still some in the public who are concerned about how the changes will effect them. 

At the meeting, some expressed worry about septic tanks, wells and other concerns about the reallocation of trails in the area. 

The Board of Directors for the Phase I Development expressed concern, specifically about the Spiral Stair Trail. In a letter to Sid Rivers of the Summit County Planning Department, the board wrote the following.

“We struggle today with our sections of the trail, as they currently exist, coming down from the undeveloped Phase II area onto our main road, through and between two closely built homesteads, onto another road, and then again between two more homesteads, before truncating at Sally Barber Road. This is certainly not a pleasant hike through the “wilderness” for pedestrians, nor is it pleasant for the homeowners, who often find hikers lost and confused on our lots. The saving grace has been that the numbers have been few,” the letter said. 

The letter continued, saying the addition of a new trail through the neighborhood would make foot traffic more intense, exacerbating the problem. In response, one of the residents brought a plan for how a trail could be routed differently than how it was proposed by department officials. However, because this was such a last-minute proposal, it brought hesitation to the Summit County Board of County Commissioners. 

Though Commissioner Joshua Blanchard approved the motion, Commissioner Elisabeth Lawrence said she felt as if she did not have enough information to second the motion.

“I’m just nervous. I just want to see this all together,” she said.

She did not approve the resolution. Similarly, Summit County Commissioner Tamara Pogue also did not approve the resolution. 

Lawrence made a motion to revisit the issue at the next Summit County Commissioners meeting on July 12. 

“It’s continued for two weeks with the direction to analyze the future trail easement in more detail,” Potter said.  

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Summit Daily is embarking on a multiyear project to digitize its archives going back to 1989 and make them available to the public in partnership with the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection. The full project is expected to cost about $165,000. All donations made in 2023 will go directly toward this project.

Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.