Regarding Elkhorn Lodge Development And Proposed Bypass
The Estes Valley Planning Commission should be commended for all their hard work on the Elk Horn Lodge development proposal. The development plan had many good elements, but the plan’s flaws resulted from the Town’s desire for a “western by-pass.” The term “by-pass” is inaccurate, since this is not an easy route, and is at most a connection.
According to attendees, Planning Commission member Wendell Amos accurately criticized the road as two bottlenecks with a disaster in-between. The proposed grade will be much steeper than other Town roads, with 12 to 13% grades instead of the 10% maximum allowed by the Development Code. Also, the grade at one intersection would be 8%, when the code allows a maximum of 4% at an intersection. There were also problems with extremely deep road cuts needed for driveways, lot sizes smaller than the code’s requirements, and proposed lots on very steep slopes. Near Elk Horn Drive, the favored route for the road was just seventeen feet from fifteen condos. Although the Elk Horn property should be redeveloped, how many of us would welcome a new “by-pass” so close to our doors?
Why so much density with so many proposed deviations from the code? The Town is asking the developer to pay for a large share of the road costs. But if this road is so important for the Town’s future, the Town should commit funds to make it happen.
Also, a better western route must be found. The Town should go back and look at its older study of road routes. Using Rock Ridge would result in a much more direct route without such steep grades. The Rock Ridge property owners created a conservation easement thwarting the Town’s interest. But if this is the best route and the road is truly needed for public safety, doesn’t the Town have an obligation to proceed? Won’t fewer homeowners be disrupted with less damage to the Valley?
I ask that the Trustees give due consideration to the Planning Commission’s hard work, as well as the many comments submitted to the Planning Commission. Town staff should also be complimented for their detailed factual analysis of the proposal. Upholding the Planning Commission will also uphold our Development Code. Let’s not create more problems for the sake of getting a west-side connector road.
Estes Park, CO