Grand County approves use permit for Adventure Park near Fraser
August 25, 2009
In a 2-1 vote, Grand County Commissioners granted the Colorado Adventure Park LLC – Ellie and Daisy’s Adventure Park in the Fraser Valley – a three-year renewal on its special use permit.
Uses permitted at the park now include snow scoots in addition to tubing, ice skating, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, mountain biking and horseback riding. The tubing park is adjacent to the Fraser Tubing Hill.
The special use permit was contingent on a commissioner mandate that a permanent septic solution be implemented at the park. An October 2009 deadline had been put in place for necessary septic improvements – whether an individual sewage disposal system adequate for at least 250 visitors-a-day traffic to the site, or a connection to the Fraser Sanitation District service.
But an Aug. 17 letter from the Fraser Sanitation District board, signed by secretary Robin Wirsing, influenced commissioners to relax on the deadline for one year.
The Fraser Sanitation District opted to table the Byers Peak Colorado Adventure Park request to connect to its service because the district is undergoing dissolution.
“The district board voted to table the Byers Peak inclusion petition until the dissolution was complete,” the letter states.
District officials, town of Fraser officials and Adventure Park representatives David Walters and Clark Lipscomb have indicated that connecting to the district is a better solution than installing a septic system.
“We are fully prepared to put in an ISDS. We told you we would do that. But we would hope we don’t have to throw good money after bad,” Lipscomb said.
The Colorado Adventure Park sought a five-year extension on the permit in order to secure financing for capital improvements such as electrical upgrades for lift power and Polaris 120cc snow scoot purchases.
“Taking the approach of one year at-a-time doesn’t help to justify the investment confidence,” Lipscomb said.
Commissioner James Newberry was the dissenting vote on the adventure park special use renewal, saying he disagreed with the three-year extension – set forth in a motion made by Commissioner Gary Bumgarner.
Newberry said he preferred a one-year renewal to allow for a public review of the park after one full season of operation, he said. A one-year extension also would have coincided with a septic deadline of Nov. 2010.
Commissioners originally granted the Adventure Park a one-year special use permit in October 2008.
Several audience members who neighbor the adventure park voiced concerns about light pollution and potential noise at the site. Each advocated a one-year extension to allow testing of noise and traffic at the site during high season.
A condition in the approved three-year permit calls for noise levels that are in compliance with state statutes.
Newberry advocated that Grand County take a look at regulating the height of light poles, since it has been established that the county does not have a law regarding the height of light poles. The park’s lights stand 50 feet from the ground.
Lipscomb explained the height of the poles allows the park to light larger areas with direct downward lighting using fewer poles and fewer lights.
Adventure Park representatives were credited for personally visiting the Powers residence near the Byers Peak property to see and hear concerns about that household’s view of the park’s lighting. Adventure Park officials then addressed Louise Powers’ concerns by painting lighting hoods and adjusting lights.
“I like the idea that you tried to work with the community,” said County Commissioner Nancy Stuart.
The scope of the Aug. 25 Colorado Adventure Park application was scaled down compared with a May 12 hearing during which the applicants sought paintball, zip-lining, summer tubing and ATV touring in addition to the park’s original activities. Commissioners denied those amendments to that use permit on May 26.
– Tonya Bina can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail email@example.com.