Elbert County Planning Commission recommends growth of subdivision

Independence plan will be weighed in March by commissioners

The Elbert County Planning Commission voted 6-0 on Jan. 24 to recommend approval of an amendment to the Independence subdivision planned unit development. The amendment would increase the total number of lots in the development as a whole from 920 to 1,400, and a 16-acre area of commercial uses would be permitted.
The vote means the panel is recommending approval of the amendment by the Board of County Commissioners at the commissioners’ March 8 meeting.
At the Planning Commission meeting from Dec. 6, six conditions were laid out for the Independence developers — Craft Companies LLC — to receive commission recommendation for approval:
1. The public hearing sign shall be removed within seven days of a decision by the Board of County Commissioners.
2. The PUD shall not become effective until all fees are paid, conditions of approval are met, and the PUD zoning exhibit is recorded.
3. Recordation of all appropriate documentation to occur within 180 days of the Board of County Commissioners’ approval.
4. The applicant shall amend the PUD exhibit to include the planned access to the adjacent property to the north as well as add the existing east-west right-of-way on the northern property line.
5. The applicant will be required to repave County Road 158 between County Road 1 (Delbert Road) and County Road 13.
6. In addition to existing obligations regarding County Road 1 (Delbert Road), the applicant will be required to construct County Road 1 (Delbert Road) between County Road 5 (Hancock Parkway) and County Road 158.
At both the Dec. 6 and Jan. 24 Planning Commission meetings, several Elbert County and eastern Douglas County residents were in attendance to voice their concerns. The most frequently discussed issues at the Jan. 24 meeting were traffic concerns, particularly the impact on nearby intersections.
The lawyer in attendance for Craft Companies LLC aimed to put the residents’ concerns at ease, explaining that the development would comply with Elbert County zoning regulations and would work to mitigate the general traffic impact by the Independence development. He also indicated that Douglas County has committed to making capital improvements to Hilltop and Singing Hills Roads. Some members of the Planning Commission further discussed the possibility of including turn lanes and roundabouts to mitigate traffic.
Prior to the meetings, several Elbert County residents sent emails to members of the Elbert County Planning Commission urging them cast a vote of “no” when determining recommendation to the Board of County Commissioners. Arguments against the proposal included increased traffic, perceived limited water supply, and losing the rural feel of the county.
“The Independence development at 920 homes will put a strain on well water supply for Western Elbert and Eastern Douglas County that rely on the upper and lower Dawson aquifer. An additional 480 homes will further that strain,” said Alex Flor in an email from Dec. 7. “Another concern as an Eastern Douglas County resident living along Hilltop Road is the traffic impact. Such a huge development (1400 homes) will have a huge impact on an already congested Hilltop Road.”
“We moved to Elbert County to get away from the sprawl and hustle and bustle of the city. Increasing the density will bring more traffic, more light pollution, and more people to the area,” said Elbert County resident Crista Mann in an email from Dec. 6. “Please don’t sell out your current Elbert County Citizens to the developers.”
Elbert County resident Greg Lopez, a former Parker mayor and GOP gubernatorial candidate, had raised concerns that the amendment plan was moving forward improperly after modifications and joined others in arguing that the public notice had been insufficient, but those claims did not prevail. County Attorney Bart Greer, in a Jan. 4 memo, defended the notifications of the process and pointed out that the presence of members of the public at the Dec. 6 meeting indicated they had received notice.
To read related documents or view the Planning Commission meeting, visit elbertcounty-co.gov/129/Agendas-Minutes.
Elbert County, development, Independence subdivision, planning, Colorado


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