Grand County wants Park wilderness bill to allow for Grand Lake bypass pipe |

Grand County wants Park wilderness bill to allow for Grand Lake bypass pipe

As the Rocky Mountain National Park Wilderness act is molded in the U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee, Grand County commissioners decided to put in their environmental two cents Tuesday, before it is too late.

In a letter to Rep. Mark Udall, D-Eldorado Springs, commissioners reiterated that in light of the beetle kill epidemic, Rocky Mountain National Park should continue to allow fuels reduction and vegetation control even in designated wilderness.

The county also pointed out environmental concerns relating to the water of Grand Lake, which borders the park.

In a section of the bill, HR 2334, it states: “nothing in this Act . . . shall be construed to allow development in the Wilderness of any reclamation project not in existence as of the date of the enactment of this Act.”

This language became a concern to county commissioners who relayed that a wilderness designation should not trump any possible underground water pipe through future wilderness for the purpose of diverting Colorado-Big Thompson (C-BT) flows around, not through, the lake.

Although no such plan has been accepted by water stakeholders, it has been tossed around as a possible long-term solution to bring the lake back to its original 9 meters or deeper of clarity.

Commissioners also pointed out that federal legislation authorizing the C-BT project contains specific protections for Grand Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park and the Colorado River.

“We believe the bill needs to allow for correction of this environmental issue by development of an underground pipeline through the Wilderness, if necessary,” the letter states.

Sterling Pointe in WP Ranch gets initial OK

Grand County commissioners approved the preliminary plat of Sterling Pointe Condominiums, a 164 unit multi-family development in Winter Park Ranch on Tuesday.

Commonly known as The “Colony,” the 18-acre area had already been platted twice under Grand County subdivision regulations, the first time in 1979 and the second in 1982.

In 2005, the property received sketch plan approval for 275 units from both the Grand County Planning Commission and the board of commissioners, but the project never went to preliminary plat.

Grand County Planner Kris Manguso noted that the present developer has reduced the number of units by 111 in comparison to the property’s former sketch plan.

Although buildings abide by the maximum height requirements of the county, they are proposed to be taller than the current homeowner covenants, Manguso pointed out. The developers indicated they were aware of this discrepancy.

Since there is open space off-site connected to the development, a public trail could be implemented on Sterling Pointe’s property to help connect neighborhoods for pedestrians.

A new 0.7-mile trail would connect pedestrians from County Road 8 to various communities in the Winter Park Ranch area. Trail Advocate Andy Miller has been working with Sterling Pointe’s managing partner Art Kleinsten about the new trail, which so-far has been designated in the approved preliminary plat.

The developer has also worked with the neighboring community Mountain Homes at Sundance and its homeowner’s association. Prior to the planning commission, Sundance’s attorney Rich Newton and Sterling Pointe partners came to an agreement on such matters as hours of construction, visual impacts and landscaping.

“We’re here supporting this development based on the agreement,” Newton told commissioners Tuesday.

Letters of support for the development written by Sundance homeowners were part of commissioners’ consideration of the plat.

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