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Wapiti Crossing Condominiums Development

Dear Editor,

Last year this development was denied due to the “significant impact” to wildlife using Lot 22, and the matter has now been remanded back to the Town Planning Commissioners to evaluate the Wildlife Conservation Plan, and Development Plan, submitted by the developer at the request of the Town Board of Trustees.
That this may be the first time such a Wildlife Conservation Plan has been submitted in support of a development project in Estes Park is quite significant – and surprising – since the EVDC (Estes Valley Development Code) makes provision for such a plan to be submitted whenever a development might impact the wildlife using the property in question.

I have reviewed this particular Wildlife Conservation Plan, in conjunction with the revised Development Plan, and have to say that I am very disappointed at how little has been changed. I believe the ‘minor’ alterations are nothing but an attempt to achieve the original goals, whilst giving up as little as possible, and I will be very disillusioned if CDOW (Colorado Division of Wildlife) accept this “conservation plan.”

If the previous Development Plan constituted a “significant impact” to this treasured wildlife habitat, then this one is no better. Merely stating that construction activities will be initiated between certain dates, in order to give wildlife an opportunity to find other suitable calving and fawning areas, will not lessen the impact of the development.

Furthermore, CDOW’s desire to have larger buffer areas has almost been ignored, explained away by a list of issues as to why this cannot be accomplished.

In the final analysis, this development still comprises 42 units, a road, and countless motor vehicles, all of which will still have a “significant impact” on this wildlife habitat.

The following quotes are taken directly from the Wildlife Impact Assessment (2 January 2008) prepared by the developer’s wildlife biologist, Christopher Roe – Section 4.2 (page 9):
“the Development will significantly alter the character of the property and negatively impact a wildlife viewing area cherished by local residents”
“the Development will transform an open park-like field into an area similar to other developed areas within Estes Park and the surrounding neighborhood”

I appeal to all concerned citizens of Estes Park to carefully consider this re-attempt by the developer to brush aside valid concerns, and to remember the adverse effects similar projects have had on other wildlife sanctuaries in the area.

Please attend the Planning Commission Meeting on May 20 to show, and voice, your disapproval of this development, and let’s do all we can to preserve one of the last wildlife habitats in this beautiful town.

Sincerely,
Dirk Knobel

© 2014 Estes Park News, Inc

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