Wild Divine application to be addressed at HPAB

Wild Divine application to be addressed at HPAB
Barbara Lawlor
Boulder County

Next Wednesday, April 5, the Boulder County Historic Preservation Advisory Board will meet to discuss the Wild Divine Special Use Application. This will be the second time the Board will take input on the Horning Reception Hall and Committee Meeting Facility that has been proposed for the historic Scates’ Ranch property on Magnolia Road.
In the first meeting with HPAB earlier in March, the Board decided they needed more information from the applicants. The special use process is in the staff review stage, which is a time for the Land Use Department to get referral comments from the necessary agencies involved in the application, the HPAB being one of them.
The meeting will take place at 6 p.m. in the Commission’s Hearing Room, on the third floor of the County Courthouse at 1325 Pearl St., Boulder.
Hannah Hippely of the Boulder County Land Use Department said public comment will be allowed, although speakers may be limited to a few minutes depending on how many attend. The purpose of the meeting is to gather and process the information to determine a recommendation to go to the planning commission. The application was sent back in the last meeting because the HPAB needed more information about traffic impact and more historical input.
The Scates’ Ranch has been named a Centennial Ranch but does not, as of yet, have historical landmark designation. Hippely said, “The Board may say the property could be eligible to become an historical landmark site, in which case, the board would have to look at the cultural impact in the special use application and draft a recommendation.”
Depending on the planning commission recommendation, the application would then go on to the Boulder County Board of Commissioners. Hippely said that before there are any more public hearings, the affected residents will receive notice in the mail. Since the special use review process began in January, the Land Use Department has received a flood of e-mails, the majority from neighbors opposing the application, with a ‘handful’ of messages in support of the wedding hall and meeting facility.
Denise Grimm of the Boulder County Land Use Department, said the soonest the application would move on to the planning commission would by May 3, and meanwhile, letters and emails may be sent to Hannah Hippely, 2045 13th Street, Boulder, 80306.
Tad and Kimberly Horning of Boulder purchased the ranch in 2007 and remodeled the old homestead to be able to accommodate a bed and breakfast type business, with guests renting the facility as a vacation site, a relaxing trip into the past in the midst of pristine meadowland.
Neighbors express concerns that the establishment would bring traffic, noise and a huge impact on the historic preservation of the land. Neighbor Maryanne Stillson of the Twin Sisters Ranch was one of the people who helped Edith Scates develop a conservation easement that goes with the land in perpetuity.
Scates granted the Colorado Cattleman’s Association the Agricultural Land Trust, which also goes with the sale of the land. The special use application has to comply with these easement values, and many of the neighbors are concerned that it doesn’t.
One of the conservation values is to perpetuate that the ranch has the ability to engage in agricultural endeavors and to protect the wildlife habitat and scenic value of the area.
Stillson said, “This application does not in anyway comply with Edith’s wishes. There is no mention of agricultural activities. They rebuilt the house very nicely, but I feel that these people are developers, and are not using the land like Edith meant it to be used. If the special use is granted, the permit would go along with the sale.”
Stillson said the Conservation Easement with the County is separate from Cattleman’s Land Trust, but until the county makes a decision, the Cattleman’s Association doesn’t have a say in the matter.
Long-time Magnolia Road neighbor Bunny Spangler said the HPAB meeting is paramount at this point. “Every person in the area could be affected. The caterers and guests and event providers will travel on Magnolia Road. They plan to have 156 weddings a year. A commercial entity like this is incompatible with mountain residential zoning. The bottom line is that area is not meant to be used for a commercial venue.”
According to the plans for the facility, there will be a 4,200-square-foot tent, which would impact the elk migratory path and the grounds for up to 100 yearlings every spring.
The Advisory Board meeting on Wednesday begins at 6 p.m. with one other agenda item on the docket before that.