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June 27, 2017

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The Planning Commission meeting opened with the pledge of allegiance led by Robert Rowland. All 9 planning commissioners were present. PC chair Dan Rosales indicated that he would be doing some education throughout the meeting regarding PC protocol and procedures for those unfamiliar with the process.

Purpose of tonight’s meeting was to hear the preliminary plat, final plat and 6 special district service plans for Independence Subdivision.

Kyle Fenner, CDS director, reported that no updates will be reported on tonight due to full agenda.
Minutes from 5/16/17 approved.

Of note....approximately 250 individuals in attendance including Diane Miller (Nyquist's attorney in the attempted water grab of 2011) who is now part of Tim Craft's Independence staff, and Kurt Schlegel.

Dan Rosales stated that much of the information being presented was "too complex" to understand, so specialists would be assisting with presentation.

Baseline introduced staff/individuals involved with this project. Went through entire process from PC duties through Bandera PUD. Showed relevant maps and pertinent ownership/utilities data. Preliminary plat: 920 dwelling units on 1012 acres, 433 acres of open space, 454 acres for single family homes, also land for school site, sheriff and fire district. Plan to extend Rd 5 thru development. Listed referral agencies; reviewed regulations for acceptance of subdivision by EC.

Final plat: creates lot lines, dedicates roads to county. Went thru lot/tract sizes and recommendations from referral agencies.

6 proposed special districts: 4 infrastructure districts, 1 water/sanitation district, and 1 overlay metropolitan district (operation/maintenance).

Staff recommended approval, with conditions, on preliminary and final plats and the 6 special districts.

TJ Steck, Elizabeth fire chief, reported on impact of services - more efficient in clustered developments.

Elizabeth School District representative stated that growth would help the schools, currently operating under capacity.

Tim Craft presented his company's philosophy, vision and team. "Inclusive neighborhoods" with variety of home types, deeply rooted in county. Claims 1 unit per 1.1 acres; however, they're clustered (since homes will not be spread out across the entire property….open space is about 40%…the homes will actually be approximately 1 unit per .62 acres) . Native grassland for open space. Water system first of its type in Colorado; sustainability covenants.

In favor: more rooftops to attract businesses, 500 year water supply, will not compete with existing wells, swimming pool, growth is inevitable, property rights, need affordable housing, smart growth, creates 500 permanent jobs

In opposition: not enough time for PC to review documents because over 2,000 pages were only provided to PC last week, initial conditions of approval not met in 2009, need to complete Master Plan and water studies currently in progress before making any decisions on growth, benefits of rural lifestyle would be lost, marketing research questionable (done by developer), overstated median income of EC and houses unaffordable to target audience (teachers, firemen, county employees) as presented by developer, (Dan Rosales shut down one citizen who attempted to address the zoning issue although CDS, the developer, and the developer’s attorney were allowed to address zoning), roads inadequate, consideration of existing property owners' rights, inconsistencies in developer's reports, future phased development can be "flexed" per developer

- disclaimers buried in documents, visual display presented of what dense development would look like, developer may not fulfill promises/need escrow account to force compliance, for every $1 of property taxes taken in - it costs $1.16 for the county to provide residential services (per COCS - cost of community services study), vested property rights for this property expired in 2012 so it reverts back to ag, who will maintain this "state of the art" septic system once the developer exits….would the county have liability?, other developments in the county have failed, aquifers interact with each other (contrary to what developer says), letter from a land use Atty states that vested property rights expire after 3 years (per state statute) unless extension was made by county - no such extension exists, developer’s reports misleading and full of disclaimers, majority of new residents will patronize neighboring counties, this type of growth would be better suited if located near town centers, Craft has publicly stated in the press that residents of his development can take advantage of shopping in neighboring counties, who assumes risk for as yet undiscovered items/pitfalls, PC needs to take more time researching this project, lack of time lines in developer's plans


There were 7 speakers in favor of Independence and 29 speakers against.

Post meeting discussions: why was the developer’s attorney allowed to address zoning after the PC chair had specifically stated that zoning would not be discussed? Noticeably defensive posture by Mr. Craft during the rebuttal. A statement was made during public comment that a number of Independence project supporters had arrived together in a white van…..interesting observation.

Continuance of discussion of project until July 11 @7pm in Ag building.

Adjourned at 10:48pm.

-Jill Duvall