Tollgate Canyon development project resurfaces
May 15, 2015
The future of a nearly seven-year-old residential development project in the Tollgate Canyon area is back in the hands of the Summit County Council, who seem divided in their feelings about the issue.
Council members contemplated the applicant’s request during a recent council meeting. Doug McAllister is asking for a Specially Planned Area (SPA) approval for seven units of density on approximately 99 acres. The property is currently zoned AG-100.
In the proposal, McAllister wants to transfer density from seven existing lots that are already platted in the Pine Meadows subdivision to the 100-acre parcel.
According to Pete Gillwald, a land planner who has been involved with the project since 2012, the density transfer "makes sense" because the lots in Pine Meadows will be difficult, if not impossible, to develop.
"Philosophically, I think the idea of taking platted lots that are unable to be built on and moving it somewhere else is exactly the kind of thing you read about in the General Plan," Gillwald said in an interview with The Park Record. "We are talking about putting development where development belongs. I think this is a positive step in the right direction and I would hope that the Council would see it that way as well."
Gillwald said he is optimistic the project will be approved eventually, adding that "we’re not creating any density, we’re just shuffling it around."
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County Council member Claudia McMullin said her perspective hasn’t changed since 2012, when the project was last before the council.
"For all practical purposes, I think this is fine," McMullin said.
However, County Council chair Kim Carson wasn’t as supportive of the project, especially the potential precedent the zoning change could set.
"I can’t say I share your feelings of not having a problem with it," Carson said. "There is a reason we wanted AG-100 in that area and I have a concern about this."
County Planner Ray Milliner said he hasn’t been able to come up with a special circumstance justifiable for rezoning that parcel,
"I assume you did that for a reason," he said of the AG-100 designation. "And I haven’t been able to come up with a good enough reason to go over and above what you as a council have done."
Carson and Milliner’s hesitations and comments were reminiscent of 2008, when the County Council originally denied the SPA request for the project. At the time, the County Council denied the application based on a failure to provide a benefit to the general community.
In 2012, when the project was proposed again, the County Council said ‘no’ and made the project contingent upon the applicant gaining the support of the Pine Meadows Homeowner Association.
But since then, several community benefits attached to the project have been proposed, including maintenance of 90 percent open space and a contribution in the amount of $5,000 per lot, to be paid to the Pine Meadows HOA for roads and infrastructure. The project has also received the full support of the HOA board.
"We officially support Mr. McAllister’s proposal because of the way he has shaped the development and worked with us, as the largest stakeholder in the area, to come up with a solution that works for everyone," said HOA board President Tony Tyler.
The biggest benefit from an HOA standpoint doesn’t necessarily have to do with money, Tyler said, because the project will dictate future development and relationships with surrounding stakeholders.
"We worked hand in hand to come up with a proposal that we felt comfortable with in shaping how development would happen in Tollgate," Tyler said. "It requires the developer to work with the HOA and to contribute to the maintenance of the road system, which currently they do not have to do.
"It keeps density neutral on the mountain and we had some lots that would essentially be retired perpetual open space," Tyler said. "In exchange, you get to build that somewhere else.
The county understands that the HOA maintains the roads "at our own cost and that others around us aren’t required to contribute to that maintenance," Tyler said.
"We’ve gotten quite a bit of support from the county and they are sensitive to the fact that these developers would be coming in and proposing things that would have impact on a third party," Tyler said. "And to require developers to work with the homeowners is a revelation. In our case, we wanted to be able to set a precedent that said if development is going to happen we reserve the right to shape the way it happens."
County Council members agreed to a site visit before readdressing the topic at a later date.
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