Guest ranch on county planning agenda

Plans for a small guest ranch south of Stagecoach that would cater to horseback riders will come before the Routt County Planning Commission tonight.

The 326-acre ranch, proposed by Mike and Beatrice Marienau who have a contract to purchase the land, is about four miles south of Stagecoach and is surrounded by U.S. Forest Service lands. The property historically has been used for cattle grazing and some hay production.

Those agricultural uses would be continued through the proposed guest ranch, said Routt County Planner Mary Alice Page-Allen.

"They are maintaining and enhancing the agricultural elements of the property," she said, a use that some county residents consider more attractive than dividing the property into nine 35-acre home lots.

The proposed ranch would be close to High Meadows Ranch and Mount Elim Bible Camp, which allow up to 26 and 60 guests, respectively. The proposed ranch would have five guest cabins with two bedrooms each, an employee cabin, an owner's residence, two horse barns and indoor and outdoor riding arenas, according to the planning report.

Plans coming before the county also include requests for permits to build a water supply and treatment center for the ranch.

The Marienaus would build the guest ranch in phases, first upgrading the only existing cabin on the property by installing plumbing and building a new owner's residence, according to the planning report. Next, equestrian facilities will be built, with the work on the first phases of trails and roads, and a water and wastewater system. Then, the cabins will be built, along with final phases of the trails and roads.

One forseen impact on the area, according to the planning report, is that traffic along Routt County Road 16 could increase.

There also are concerns from the Colorado Division of Wildlife including impact on elk that use the area year-round, bears being a potential problem and that a proposed pond with a fishery should be isolated from other waterways, according to the report. The owners plan to create a wildlife mitigation plan to address those concerns, according to the report.

The Routt County Planning Commission also will hear a request from Twentymile Coal Co. to increase annual coal hauled on C.R. 27 by 160,000 tons, an increase of about 11 percent, Page-Allen said.

Also on the agenda is a presentation of amendments to the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. master plan and plans for the South Routt Nursery in Phippsburg.

The Routt County Planning Commission will meet at 6 p.m. today in the hearing room of the Routt County Courthouse Annex.

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