Monday, May 19, 2003
Hayden The Routt County Commissioners asked the town of Hayden Monday night to keep the long-term needs of Yampa Valley Regional Airport in mind as it undertakes a major study of undeveloped land just outside the town limits.
"We're concerned about anything that could inhibit our activity at the airport," County Commissioner Doug Monger told representatives of the Town Board and Planning Commission.
The commissioners received a request Monday from the town seeking its in-kind financial support for a grant application that would help it undertake a new Hayden 3-mile area plan.
Town Manager Rob Straebel told the commissioners the new study was prompted by the proposed 900-acre Sunburst Ranch residential development that could add many new residents and a new school to Hayden over several decades. Straebel said 4S Development has agreed to pay for a $61,000 impact study. The town would like to use the money committed to that study to leverage a grant from the Gates Foundation, allowing the broader study of all land within three miles of the town limit. That includes the land surrounding the county's airport.
A memo prepared by grant writer Tammie Delaney shows the town would like to raise more than $158,000 in grants toward the overall project cost of $396,500. The total figure includes the $61,000 from 4S Development. Most of the balance would be in the form of in-kind contributions from local government staff. However, Straebel said the town proposes to spend $52,850 on a part-time town planner over the next several years.
Town Trustee Lorraine Johnson said she's optimistic the donation made by Community Viz software from the Orton Foundation will help community members grasp the impacts of the 4S proposal, as well as what the future holds for other undeveloped lands in the Hayden vicinity.
"I think we really have a strong commission that can visualize," Johnson said. "But the scariest thing to them was just 900 houses -- what would that look like?"
Commissioner Dan Ellison asked the town leaders to keep in mind the potential for noise conflicts from jet engines as developers bring proposals for housing subdivisions.
Beyond the potential for conflicts with new developments, the commissioners suggested working mutually toward an understanding of what kinds of commercial developments the town and county would like to see around the airport.
"We really need to figure out what we want to see in that area so we're not doing it one piece at a time," Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said. "I think we need to figure out how we're going to jointly do that."
"We've heard rumors of a hotel being looked at (for the airport site)," Johnson said. "Does the county have an idea what it would like to see out there?"
Stahoviak responded the commissioners feel that light industrial activities that could benefit from close proximity to the airport would be desirable.
Stahoviak was very clear about one thing the county does not want to see.
"We're opposed to through-the-fence operations," like airplane hangars built just off airport property, but accessing the runways from private land, Stahoviak said. "We're not in favor of that at all."