Few Residents Object to Cluster Home Bid
~ by Bob Volpe ~
The first Woodland Park City Council meeting of the year was capped by a public hearing on the highly contested Highlands in Paradise subdivision development
This project is the last filing of the entire subdivision, which consists of 56 acres and 190 home sites. The land in question has been the subject of community controversy for several months.
Earlier this year, the developers, North Peak Properties, LLC, wanted to construct 13 cluster homes on the 7-acre parcel, which was once part of the Paradise Ranch dude ranch that operated from 1950 through 1969.
That proposal was vehemently opposed by residents of the area. When the proposed cluster home project went before the WP Planning Commission last September, many residents of the area turned out to oppose the project. When the cluster home proposal went before the planning commission, they voted 8-1 to deny the request.
The developers went back to the drawing board and came up with the current nine homes on seven acres plan for the land. This time the commission was inclined to approve the plan, and the proposal went to city council.
Council debate and questions regarding the plan were similar to those raised by the planning commission. The issues of drainage, the formation of an HOA (home owners association), and the designation of Highlands Court (the 400 foot long dead end road) as private were the major concerns raised by council.
The developer, Mark McNab, addressed each question to the satisfaction of council members.
Only two residents of the area spoke out against the project. Both were concerned about the private road. They argued the private road is not consistent with the feel and “friendliness” of the neighborhood.
The other concern of residents was that heavy construction vehicle traffic is disturbing the neighborhood. They also mentioned possible problems with speeding, and damaging their roads.
McNab said he would take steps to mitigate the problem by installing a 20 miles-per-hour speed limit radar sign and would speak with vendors about the issue.
In the end, council voted unanimously to approve the project. McNab estimates the development will be built out in about 18 months.
City Rolling In Dough
In other issues, City Finance Director Mike Farina addressed council on the state of the city’s third quarter finances.
Farina told council that revenues are meeting or exceeding expectations. Sales tax revenue is up 6 percent over last year. Farina said, “Overall, in the general fund we are 4 percent ahead of 2017. We expect to come in under budget as we modify the budget.”
Expenditures are at 66 percent of the total budget, which according to Farina, is normal for this time of the year. The Cultural and Recreation revenues are also meeting or exceeding projections, but
utility costs, particularly for the aquatic center are higher than estimated.
A number of appointments were also made to a variety of committee at last week’s meeting. Jim Olsen was appointed as a regular member to the board of review and Jeff Smith and Matt Cockroft were appointed as alternates.
Kerri Kilgore, meanwhile, was appointed a regular member of the board of adjustments and Jerry L. Smith was appointed as an alternate member.
Susan Branham was appointed to the Keep Woodland Park Beautiful committee.
Ken Hartsfield, Ellen Carrick, and Lee Brown were reappointed to the planning commission. Larry Black was reappointed to the historical preservation committee and Jim Unruh was appointed to his first term on that committee.
A liquor license was granted last week to WP Beverage LLC, for the Valero gas station on Hwy. 24 to sell beer, and council granted a request by the Woodland Park Hockey Association to serve alcohol at Meadow Wood Sports Complex during their hockey tournament. This is not a liquor license, but is only permission for the players to drink beer.