The Discovery CORE project, a 105-unit development near the Weilenmann School of Discovery, was approved in 2011. Developers need the county to sign off on
The Discovery CORE project, a 105-unit development near the Weilenmann School of Discovery, was approved in 2011. Developers need the county to sign off on two exceptions to code before the project can move forward. (Image courtesy of Summit County)

The Discovery CORE project -- a 105-unit proposed development south of Kilby Road and the Weilenmann School of Discovery -- has been years in the making, but developers hope the county gives it the full go-ahead now that they have reduced the number of exceptions to the Development Code.

At the project's most recent public hearing last November, developers of the 105-unit project that would encompass 70 acres asked for numerous exceptions to code, including: road grades of 10 percent (8 percent is the maximum allowed), reduced building setbacks from right-of-ways, reduced distance of driveways from intersections and reduced pavement width.

The applicant, Glen Lent, president of Alpine Development, LLC, told The Park Record that the project would reduce its number of code exceptions down to two -- increased road grades and decreased building setbacks from property lines.

According to a county staff report, developers have not yet listed their proposed front setback exception but the side setback request is six feet (12 feet required).

"[The developer] is asking for fewer town homes, which creates a problem because town homes take up less space than single-family homes," Caus said, who added the project has changed both in layout and in the array of homes that will be built.

The Discovery project was approved in 2011 under the now-outdated Community Oriented Residential Enhancement (CORE) code, which sought to cluster development and maximize open space. Developers had said last November that, in order to maintain 80 percent open space and have 28 of the 105 units serve as affordable housing, exceptions to code were necessary.

Lorin Redden, whose 1.3-acre property is adjacent to where the Discovery CORE project would be built, said he is frustrated with what has been a prolonged application process.

"The developer has had months and months to deal with this," Redden said. "This goes back to the fact that the developer hasn't done his homework."

Redden, who is an engineer, is familiar with the CORE code and said the original proposal was for 212 units but was then reduced to 105. Even after that, he added, after setbacks were factored in each lot was only around 1,200 square feet.

"Once you take that itsy-bitsy lot and start applying setbacks to it, there's no room to build anything," Redden said.

The Discovery development would have a community park and Lent has said the neighborhood would have a speed limit of 15 mph and would be "walkable" but Redden thinks parents will not send their kids to the park, since backyards are deemed "safer." Thus, he thinks children will end up using his yard to play in, encroaching on his privacy and control over his property.

Caus said the proposal for road grades is still 10 percent but has not yet received the requested setbacks. The 30-foot setback requirement of structures from right-of-ways can lead to sprawling, he said, but setbacks reduced too much can lead to concerns with snow storage, safety and on-street parking.

Developers would need a "more of a finalized design" to gain approval of the project, Caus said. Redden said he would support development on the land if it features one-to-two-acre lots for homes.

Redden added that when the project was first approved, the densities allowed could not be any greater than twice the density of the surrounding neighborhoods. However, he said open space counted toward reducing the overall density for the Discovery project while open space could not be counted for the surrounding development.

"What I've seen them do with densities is an absolute atrocity," Redden said. "I'm not opposed to the property being developed. I'm opposed to it being developed at densities that are sometimes hundreds of times greater than the surrounding [densities]."

The Discovery CORE project includes 3-4 bedroom town homes starting around $250,000, Lent said, and market-rate single-family homes starting around $499,000. He added he expects there to be a lottery for the affordable housing units.

A public hearing for a special exception for the Discovery CORE project will be held by the Summit County Council on Wednesday, May 21, at 6 p.m. in the auditorium of the Sheldon Richins Building, 1885 W. Ute Boulevard. For more information, contact Amir Caus at 435-615-3157 or at acaus@summitcounty.org.