Caribou Ridge deadline extended

John Scarffe, Nederland.  The deadline for an amended Planned Unit Development (PUD) for homes at Caribou Ridge was extended after the Nederland Board of Trustees asked for more information during a regular meeting at 7 p.m., November 21, 2017, at the Nederland Community Center. Town Administrator Karen Gerrity introduced the public hearing proposing to amend the PUD, with the associated Vested Rights having expired on January 4, 2017.


Gerrity said the applicant proposes changes to the development for a more traditional layout and wants the Caribou Ridge Homeowner’s Association to take over road maintenance. The applicant, Keenan Tompkins, proposes to change the building-footprint based subdivision platting to a more traditional layout, which will require changes to the notes contained within the Replat, according to background information. The pedestrian path through the subdivision is proposed to be fenced, along with the water tank contained in the subdivision.


Additionally, Tompkins would like to request the Caribou Ridge Home Owners’ Association (CRHOA) take over ongoing road maintenance and snowplowing operations, and for the roads within the subdivision to remain unpaved, which is not in keeping with a requirement of the Caribou Ridge Replat Agreement.


Additionally, this agreement specified the requirement to construct and dedicate a park including a gazebo on Block 1, which was not undertaken. The applicant had spoken to staff about altering this requirement.


Current zoning is Mountain Residential (MR) with the First Amendment to the PUD Caribou Ridge Replat A allowing for a maximum of 35 lots, up from the original agreement allowing for 33 lots. Being as Lot 1 was dedicated to the Town within the First Amendment and sold by the Town for private property, the number of lots proposed by Tompkins will not change.


It will remain 34 buildable lots within the subdivision, according to background. The Planning Commission reviewed the application on October 25, approving it unanimously with 10 conditions. The Town has received a draft DIA and is awaiting submission of the final Agreement and the improvement performance bond.


David Nassar, of Marketwise LLC owns the majority of the lots within the subdivision, besides those sold privately after completion of new home construction, according to background. He purchased the Caribou Ridge Subdivision in Fall 2013.


Nassar has contracted Cornerstone Homes to complete the construction of homes within the subdivision. Nassar’s legal representative, Ed Byrne, came before the Board of Trustees on January 10, 2017, to request an extension of the PUD Agreement with an extension granted if the application was received by June 30.


No application was submitted, but subsequent legal discussion occurred in the interim, while Cornerstone worked to complete some of the improvements required within the agreement. Previous owner James William Guercio had undergone annexation in 1989, with subsequent approval for a Planned Unit Development Agreement in 2007, and an amendment in 2008 to increase the lots from 33 to 35.


Tompkins told the Board he has been in the Boulder area for about 15 years. Cornerstone Homes would be a good fit for the real vision of Caribou Ridge, which is a full-year around community with the town.


Cornerstone Homes has built more than 25 homes within a 15-minute drive of Nederland, Tompkins said. He has spent a lot of time here and has a hunting property close. “When the opportunity came up to purchase from David Nassar, I was really excited about it.


“My company manufactures our own timber frames based out of Lafayette, Colorado, and the company is constructing a neighborhood in Lafayette with 300 houses,” Tompkins said. We are locally minded, and it was a real shift when I first bought this from David.


“I was very pleasantly surprised that we sold nine homes, and they were first-home buyers and not second-home buyers,” Tompkins said. They have three full-time residents living in the neighborhood and have several other houses under construction to be completed in the fall next year. They can build it out in the next two years.


Their accomplishments so far have included constructing an entrance gate, but it blew down and had to be reinforced. The infrastructure had basically been done. The biggest outstanding item was new roads.


They put together a deal with Century Link to pull in high speed internet off a trunk from the school, Tompkins said. Proposed changes to the PUD are amending the building footprints to traditional lot lines.


As Tompkins got feedback from residents, they liked buying a home in the natural environment and don’t want to pave the roads. The neighborhood wasn’t properly designed to pave the roads.


They would have to do some major changes, and sticking with the vision and our concept was to maintain roads through the HOA and stay for snow removal up there, Tompkins said. The public has expressed a concern about the public trails in the area and how that was going to work, Tompkins said.


People would walk down the road and then they will punch out public access in the back to the main trail. They plan to fence the public trail on both sides with split-rail, four-foot high fences. “Basically, we want to support the public being able to continue to use the neighborhood,” Tompkins said.


“We’re pretty excited about the neighborhood and have been working hard to clean this up and finalize the loose ends. We’re asking you to approve these tweaks,” Tompkins said.


In answer to a question from Trustee Julie Gustafson, Tompkins said he wants fences around the trails because people walk their dogs through the property. It is a higher end neighborhood. Gustafson said trails are not typically fenced.


Tompkins said that when they submit the plan the trails will be on it. Public Works Director Chris Pelletier said he likes that trade of leaving the roads unpaved and not having to plow the roads. “The wind is unbelievable up there and it’s hard to maintain.”


Trustee Kevin Mueller said that if you don’t have maximum lot coverage, the HOA dissolves. What happens then?


Trustee Dallas Masters said the goal is to increase housing in this neighborhood. Tompkins said he is going to stick with 34 lots. “I would make more money if it were higher density, but the only opportunity to do that would be on the east side where you could have town homes. They would be really nice townhomes.”


Masters said: “I’m saying you should consider changing lot size. Can we make it contingent that they not have six foot fences?”


Mayor Kristopher Larsen said that you’re asking to have road maintenance be the responsibility of the HOA. What happens if the HOA goes away? We’re looking at a change that we platted in 2007 that increases lot size and allows you to make more money. The deadline was four months ago.


Caribou Ridge Attorney Ed Byrne said that the road is a challenge for the Town to maintain, and it’s better off managed by the people who live there. “I don’t see this as adding value to the homes. It makes more sense to build for a residential development that is more standard, and the people there now are telling us that is what they want.”


Larsen said, “I have a lot of concerns about that changed nature of the setting where people can put up fences. You’re asking for changes and our town needs affordable housing and this doesn’t address affordable housing. That’s my biggest concern.”


Tompkins said, “I’d be glad to come at a later time and discuss that. That could be a conversation. I don’t want that to be contingent on this approval.”


Masters said: “I don’t think we have everything worked out tonight. I hope you take the message this board is serious about affordable housing. Maybe you can make a couple of townhomes where appropriate. I’m in favor of tabling this. I would vote in favor of letting you increase density.”


Larsen said the Board has enough concern over language that the Trustees would like to see more detail and bring this back to a future meeting. He made a motion that they extend the deadline to January 22, and the Board approved the motion.



(Originally published in the November 30, 2017 print edition of The Mountain-Ear.)