Mt. CB reviews Hunter Ridge subdivision preliminary plan

Three community housing units proposed, 14 total residential units 

[  By Kendra Walker  ]

The Mt. Crested Butte town council has begun reviewing a subdivision preliminary plan for the 10.28-acre Hunter Ridge parcel that sits adjacent to the town along the south side of Hunter Hill Road in unincorporated Gunnison County. On September 6, the town council held a public hearing and reviewed the preliminary plan and will continue the review and discussion at the next council meeting on October 4. 

The property has a pending annexation application with the town, and the applicant, Hunter Ridge, LLC, is required to go through the subdivision process prior to final consideration for annexation. The applicant is proposing to subdivide the parcel into eight residential lots that would be zoned with four single family lots, two duplex lots and two triplex lots for a total of 14 residential units. The town denied a similar proposal and annexation that was submitted in 2018, and the Mt. Crested Butte planning commission has been reviewing the new proposal since February.  

Community housing

The proposed subdivision includes three community housing units located on two of the low-density multi-family lots. Two of the community housing units on Lot 7 would be built concurrent or before the first free market unit, and the third community housing unit on Lot 8 would be built concurrent or before the third free market unit. 

“The timing for the construction of these units has been discussed quite a bit between staff and the applicant,” noted community development director Carlos Velado. 

“The community housing timing requirement would be prioritized and built the fastest, per the request of the council and staff,” said Sasa Watt of Hunter Ridge, LLC. “This provides the requested metrics and triggers that not only provide safeguards for the town to get the community housing units built the fastest, but would also allow the developer the traditional logical opportunity to counter development expenses.”

She also noted that the construction of the buildings on both of those lots would be contracted and developed by the developer Jamie Watt of Hunter Ridge, LLC or a mutually agreed upon contractor. Each two-bedroom community housing unit is proposed to be deed restricted, at a minimum of 850 square feet that target the 100% Area Median Income (AMI) category. 

Slope stability

The project would be accessed from Hunter Hill Road with a feeder road serving the eight lots, which has been approved by the Crested Butte Fire Protection District. Several public comments addressed concerns regarding the slope stability of the parcel once development occurs. “Concerns have been raised regarding slope stability,” noted Velado. “Multiple studies have been undertaken on site to further analyze these concerns.”

Geotechnical engineer of record Daniel Lambert also provided a geotechnical investigation including a slope stability analysis considering the design of the feeder road. His report found that the factor of safety does not change and remains in acceptable range of 1.5, an industry standard, said Lambert. 

“In reevaluating that slope with the proposed road, it did not create a failure surface that had a lower factor of safety than the previously determined lowest factor of safety,” said Lambert. 

Velado also noted, “When and if we get to the approval stage, the civil engineer needs to get with the geotechnical engineer and make sure the mitigation measures are satisfactory to keep the integrity of that slope intact. Additionally, we have built into the code to have a town engineer review it as well.”

Bonding

“I think it’s helpful to look back historically and see what previous projects have been started and not completed,” said Bob Colvey during the public hearing. “Andesite Point, Bridges at Columbine, Wildhorse at Prospect, Villas at the Summit and most recently, Homestead. The central question becomes, what did we learn from those review processes and how can we apply that going forward to make sure we don’t have another project that goes off the tracks the way the ones that I mentioned did?”

He continued, “The track record of those strongly suggests that we need bonding in an amount that would remedy any and every deviation of malfunction in this project going forward so we’re not left with the scarred landscapes that we’ve seen with some of the other ones.”

Velado explained to the council that if the subdivision preliminary plan were to pass, it would go to final plan review and a subdivision improvement agreement would have to be submitted. “We would collect an engineer assessment of how much valuation of that work would be. The required bond would be 125% of that estimate,” he said. “If it fell through, the bond should cover the completion or reclamation of the project.” 

“Concerns were raised about other projects, does this bonding approach sufficiently alleviate those concerns?” asked council member Roman Kolodziej. 

“It should,” said Velado. “We’ve made multiple code amendments to try and cover each of those situations to make sure they don’t happen again.”

Council thoughts

Mayor Nicholas Kempin recused himself from the Hunter Ridge public hearing and discussion as he sits on the Mt. Crested Butte Water and Sanitation District board. Council members Steve Morris and Alec Lindeman were not in attendance. 

“I’ve spent hours reading through this…there’s still so much in this process that it’s a lot to make a decision tonight,” said mayor pro tem Janet Farmer. “Can we have more time to process this?”

“A lot of work has been done and a lot of satisfaction has occurred from the work that you’ve done and the money you’ve spent,” Kolodziej said to the Hunter Ridge LLC representatives.

Kolodziej suggested the discussion be moved to the next council meeting with a focus on staff and planning commission recommendations when council members Morris and Lindeman are present. Staff also recommended the town council discuss short-term rental limitations for the proposed units.

“I want to make sure we’ve crossed the things off the list because you have done a lot of work and you have satisfied the concerns that were brought up by the planning commission, the general public, etc.,” said Kolodziej. “I personally feel I need to perform all the due diligence to answer some of the topics that were brought up.”

The council agreed and voted to continue the Hunter Ridge discussion to the October 4 meeting.

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