“A lot of work has been done”
Judging from the volume of the crowd at the public meeting earlier this month, progress is being made toward righting the troubled Buckhorn Ranch subdivision, located south of Crested Butte.
Gunnison county commissioners called the meeting in order to update the public on county efforts to address a multitude of problems that have afflicted the development—including easily frozen water lines and substandard road surfaces.
The complaints from Buckhorn Ranch property owners were noticeably fewer, compared to previous updates. At the first meeting in June regarding the county’s role in the Buckhorn Ranch development, commissioners were barraged with a litany of complaints and heated emotions from disgruntled property owners.
During the October 8 meeting, Jerry Burgess, an engineer hired by the subdivision’s developer, Richard Landy, to oversee the remedies said progress is being made.
“A lot of the work has been done,” he said.
Still, according to Burgess, there are several outstanding issues that need attention, including final grading, landscaping and tests to make sure that new chip seal layers adhere to the road surfaces.
Gunnison county attorney David Baumgarten explained the county still held a significant amount of the developer’s money in the form of a security deposit, and the money would not be released until the county building department ascertains that all the necessary work has been completed.
“If it’s not up to par, we’ll go back to square one and bring it up to par,” he said.
Property owner Helene Brown, who explained her lot is probably the lowest in the subdivision, said she is worried about drainage issues.
“Do we have an overall plan of where, in general, the water is supposed to go?” she asked.
Burgess said that the current drainage plan for the subdivision was done several years ago, and it may not be adequate.
“I can see three spots that need attention, and yours is one of them,” he said.
Burgess said he would be glad to show property owners the way the drainage plan was supposed to work and he said he had the blessing of developer Landy “to come up with some improvements.”
Buckhorn property owner Pat Wiesner thanked the commissioners and their staff who hosted the evening update at the Crested Butte Town Hall.
“The tenor of this meeting is wonderful,” said Wiesner. “You guys have been doing a good job of getting things organized and calmed down.”
Attorney Peter Bogardus, who represents property owner Michael Wiener, asked whether the county was going to approve the budget of the Stallion Park homeowners association.
Stallion Park is the affordable housing component of the development and according to developer Landy, its management structure is separate from the rest of the Buckhorn Ranch subdivision.
County Housing Authority director Denise Wise explained that the county’s only role in the management of Stallion Park is to make sure that potential occupants of the affordable housing meet the requirements mandated by the subdivision’s covenants.
Everything else, according to Wise, has to be worked out between the homeowners and the developer.
“It’s outside our purview,” she said.
Lot owner Mindy Sturm complained that property owners had never seen the covenants regarding the affordable housing component.
“We have people driving up and down our roads, using what little amenities we have, taxing the system, and yet they’re not part of our association,” she said.
At the behest of county attorney Baumgarten, Landy agreed to meet with Buckhorn property owners and explain exactly how the relationship between Stallion Park and Buckhorn Ranch is supposed to work.
County commission chairman Hap Channell wrapped up the meeting by reiterating that Landy agreed to meet with Baumgarten and all interested parties regarding the management of the two homeowner associations—Buckhorn Ranch and Stallion Park.
Channell also promised that county staff would continue to work with the developer to address ongoing issues, and that the county would hold another public meeting in the spring.