Public given opportunity to evaluate Whetstone parcel for potential housing

Immediate concerns nothing out of the ordinary

By Mark Reaman

The process of gathering public input on how best to use the 13-acre Whetstone parcel south of Crested Butte for affordable housing has started. Several stakeholders have been contacted to provide their thoughts and a public tour of the land was held Thursday, July 8.

About two-dozen people attended the tour led primarily by housing consultant Willa Williford. Immediate citizen concerns included the need to mitigate traffic access given the busyness of Highway 135; How to handle water and sewer services; how dense the project should be; connectivity with town; wetlands protection; pedestrian and bike safety; and impact on institutions like the school given an increase in population.

Gunnison County community and economic development director Cathie Pagano said under county regulations, various professional studies will be required to study many of those issues. “We won’t have all the definitive information this year, but we will be working on it,” she said. 

While brainstorming opportunities, some of the tour participants wondered if there would be room for some light industrial lots that would complement the adjacent Riverland Industrial Park. Others suggested a small convenience store being allowed and there was some discussion to permit some business opportunity such as artist studios. While this summer will be focused on reaching out to the community to gather public ideas, the formal county process could start possibly at the end of this year but most likely next year with the beginning of a formal Land Use Change permit review. The county plans to eventually ask for proposals from developers interested in partnering on the project. 

Representatives of Gatesco Inc., the development team that tried to get approval for the Corner at Brush Creek project, attended the tour and expressed interest in working on this parcel. Williford made clear that no developers are attached to the project yet and specific meetings and tours would be held for all interested development firms later in the process.

“The process puts us a ways out,” noted Pagano. “There are a variety of ways for development to occur and we want to be open to a variety of options including public-private partnership. It will probably be a few years before something concrete happens here.” 

Another public tour of the site is scheduled for Tuesday, July 27 at 4 p.m. The property is located just north of Riverland on the west side of Highway 135.

Check Also

Gunni police shooting under review

“These things take a lot of time…” [ by Mark Reaman ] The investigation over …