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Developers in front of county for “hybrid plan” north of town

Proposal includes Crested Butte annexation

by Mark Reaman

Cypress Foothills LP has officially submitted a sketch plan application with Gunnison County to develop the 44 acres just north of Crested Butte.

The major impact review process of the county Land Use Resolution (LUR) will be used for the proposed residential Slate River development. Ultimately, the hope is to coordinate with the town of Crested Butte for a “hybrid” development plan that utilizes the overall property for civic and private uses between a Crested Butte annexation of 14 acres and private home sites that would remain located in the county jurisdiction on 30 acres.

Essentially the developers are asking for 23 residential home sites on the 30-acre parcel east of the Slate River that would be in the county. All of the homes built would tie into Crested Butte’s sewer system. On the 14 acres west of the river, the developers have a pre-annexation agreement with the town that would include some free market home sites, land for affordable housing, open space, park land and land for potential civic uses such as an emergency services center or school facility.

“Cypress hopes it will be an exemplary demonstration of cooperation and coordination between Cypress, the County and the Town,” the sketch plan application states.

The application also makes clear that “Cypress and the Town have been careful to acknowledge and preserve the County’s exclusive jurisdiction over the Project.”

Gunnison County community development director Russ Forrest said the process is not a quick one and will take at least 12 to 18 months. “Right now we are sending the application out to referral agencies including the town of Crested Butte and Crested Butte Fire Protection District,” he said. “We do not have dates yet for work sessions or a hearing. This will be a major impact review that includes sketch plan, preliminary plan and final plan phases. All need approval and all those steps will include opportunity for the public to comment on the proposal.”

Cypress plans to clean up some of the old landfill property on the west side of the property if the development is ultimately approved.

Under the proposal, water to the project would be supplied by wells located on or in close proximity to the property. In the event the wells cause depletions to the Slate River upstream of its confluence with Washington Gulch, Cypress’s plan for augmentation will include a small off-channel augmentation pond located on or in close proximity to the property.

Trails and river access

In the event the project is approved, Cypress has agreed to construct a public river trail along the west bank of the Slate River through the west parcel in order to provide potential connectivity to the existing Rec Path south and east of the property.

According to the proposal, Cypress also will allow public boating on the Slate River through the property and provide public boating access to the Slate River from its west bank, immediately south of the “Road A” bridge.

In conjunction with the construction of the river trail, Cypress will move the Crested Butte sewer outfall to facilitate boating along this stretch of the Slate River and construct fencing between the river trail and the town’s public works yard.

In addition, Cypress’s proposal contemplates a private river park for the benefit of the residential lot owners on the east parcel. The bridge across the Slate River is anticipated to be approximately 10 to 12 feet above high water levels to avoid interference with boaters using this stretch of the Slate River.

Cypress has agreed that the traffic study it prepares pursuant to the county LUR will include the proposed uses on both the east parcel and the west parcel. The traffic study will not just include the impacts of the proposed development itself but will also evaluate the Gothic Road intersection with increased background traffic on Gothic Road from general growth projections at the upper end of the valley.

As for the herd of elk that sometimes occupies that area, the proposal acknowledges there is some elk impact. “Like the Town of Crested Butte, Mt. Crested Butte, the Buckhorn Ranch subdivision, the Skyland subdivision, and the Crested Butte South subdivision, the Property is located within the winter range of elk, and elk have been observed on the Property. However, there are no mapped elk migrations corridors on or through the Property,” the application states.

If all goes as proposed, “Cypress is proposing to cleanup portions of the old Town landfill for the benefit of the Town, its residents, and nearby residents of the County,” the application states. “Once the cleanup has been completed and approved by CDHPE (Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment), Cypress will convey this land to the Town of Crested Butte to be used for various public purposes. The Town Agreement also gives the Town the option of further cleaning up Town Parcel 4 in the future so that it can be used for additional public purposes such as a recreation center.”

The county review process will take at least a year and if approved, the town would begin an annexation process for the lower 14 acres.

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