Warrior’s Preserve gets preliminary OK | SummitDaily.com

Warrior’s Preserve gets preliminary OK

by Jane Stebbins

BRECKENRIDGE – Craig Beardsley and his father George hope to begin work this summer at Warrior’s Preserve, a project that has been more than two years in the making and one that created an uproar from residents in the Warrior’s Mark area.

The Beardsleys plan to build 11 homes on 8.3 acres along Broken Lance Drive.

County commissioners approved the project in a preliminary hearing Tuesday afternoon, despite the fact the Upper Blue Planning Commission denied it 4-3 at a Feb. 28 meeting.

Only one resident spoke out in favor of the project Tuesday afternoon.

“I’d much rather have 11 homesites there than another condominium complex,” said resident Gordon Herwig. “I am, believe it or not, a resident in favor of it.”

Craig Beardsley breathed an audible sigh of relief when county commissioners unanimously approved the preliminary plat.

“We’re delighted it’s over,” George Beardsley said. “It’ll be a good project.”

Others aren’t so sure.

Citizens have protested the project throughout Upper Blue Planning Commission proceedings, asking commissioners not to allow a variance that will be needed for a road into the area and saying the land on which the Beardsleys want to build is too unstable for homes, is home to valuable old-growth trees and sensitive wetlands.

Independent geological surveys backed up by the Colorado Geologic Society, however, indicate the land has not moved in a long time and that the likelihood of a slide there is remote, county planner Lindsay Hirsh told county commissioners.

The eight-acre parcel is partially on a steep slope marked by old-growth trees and wetlands so saturated they sometimes overflow onto the adjoining street. The Beardsleys propose to place the homes at the lower, less steep, portion of the property.

Some residents have said they want county officials to wait and see if voters will approve an annexation request that would bring Warrior’s Mark – where Warrior’s Preserve is located – and Warrior’s Mark West into town boundaries; that election date has yet to be set by the courts. If the subdivision were to get annexed prior to the project getting approval from the county, the Beardsleys would be required to resubmit their plans to the town, which operates under stricter land use guidelines.

Other considerations the Upper Blue commissioners took into account this winter included the number of houses proposed – even though the land was zoned in the 1980s for 60 homes or multi-family units – a sidewalk along Broken Lance Drive and how visible the project would become if numerous trees are removed.

“It makes me laugh when it’s said this land was approved for 60 units,” said resident Anyes Adams. “That’s ridiculous. And 11 homes is very dense. Don’t let Southern California happen right here.”

As part of the approval process, the Beardsleys must comply with a dozen conditions set forth by the county.

Among other items, they must obtain a variance for the grade of the road, which is proposed to be steeper than is allowed under county standards; provide a bond that will be released once retaining walls, slope improvements and drainage control facilities are built; submit a final geotechnical report to be reviewed by an expert selected by the town; submit a revegetation plan; and provide written verification from the Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding lynx habitat.

Architect Bobby Craig of Arapahoe Architects asked commissioners to strike the condition addressing lynx habitat.

“The Army Corps of Engineers and the Fish and Wildlife agree this area is surrounded by development,” he said. “Common sense would tell anyone this property is not suitable to lynx.”

Commissioners kept the condition in place, however, agreeing with planner Hirsh that if the parcel were in a more remote location, it could be considered viable lynx habitat. But, Hirsh said, an Army Corps report indicates development on the site “may affect, but was not likely to affect” Canada lynx, a species federal agencies have listed as threatened, one step below endangered.

“It’s not important if that particular piece of property has ever seen lynx,” said County Commissioner Gary Lindstrom. “We have to protect lynx habitat; it’s our greater responsibility. I realize that puts the developer under the gun, but I think it’s important.”

Hirsh also warned that projects with numerous conditions attached to a development permit are more likely to become the norm in years to come.

“You’re going to see more projects like this,” he said. “The easy lots are gone. These are the kind of conditions we’re going to have to do on these kinds of lots.”

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

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