If approved in January, new Stagecoach plan broadens potential for community store | SteamboatToday.com
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If approved in January, new Stagecoach plan broadens potential for community store

The view from high on the Stagecoach Ski Area looking northeast across Blacktail Mountain to the Priest Creek trails of the Steamboat Ski Area. The prospective buyers of the Stagecoach Ski Area declined to discuss the status of the delayed sale this week.
courtesy photo

Stagecoach Ski Area partners attend meeting

Don McLean, CEO of Stagecoach Communities LLC, was accompanied by his partner, Scott E. Sober, president of Red Bear Holdings LLC, at the Dec. 1 Routt County Planning Commission meeting, but declined to discuss the status of their anticipated purchase of the dormant Stagecoach Ski Area.

McLean announced at the Sept. 1 Planning Commission meeting that the sale was under contract and set for a closing in October. That did not happen, and McLean would not comment this week except to say, “We’re under contract and bound by confidentiality.”

If the original sale contract expired after the buyer and the seller (the Wittemyer family) missed the original closing date, McLean’s comment could mean that the property is back under contract.

County Planning Director Chad Phillips said this week that earlier this fall he asked McLean: “If you get this property on Oct. 20, what are you going to do the day after you close?”

McLean’s reply included remodeling a cabin at the top of the ski area to serve as a sales center and building a community market at the base.

What’s new in the Stagecoach Area Plan?

Residents of unincorporated Stagecoach have long wished for a community store, and when the update of the Stagecoach Community Plan comes up for approval in January, there may be new reason for hope.

County Planning Director Chad Phillips said Dec. 1 that instead of limiting the site of a future store to the base of the ski area on land controlled by the Wittemyer family, the new plan will allow property owners elsewhere in Stagecoach to seek approval to create a “town center.” That implies that a number of locations on the south shore of Stagecoach Reservoir could be considered for the development of a community store not unlike the Clark Store in North Routt.

“The old plan has a store on the map where the community (previously) said they wanted it,” Phillips said. “Now, the community is getting frustrated — it’s been 17 years and nothing has happened. So we decided, let’s just (create) standards for a town center and open it up to more than just one landowner.”

— The update of the Stagecoach Community Plan, already two years in the making, won’t be finalized until 2017, but Routt County Planning Commission inched closer to the goal Dec. 1 even though final adoption was tabled until Jan. 19.

Going into Thursday night’s meeting, the hope was that the Routt County Board of Commissioners would consider ratifying the plan Jan. 10. Now, that won’t happen until later in the new year.

Stagecoach Ski Area partners attend meeting

Don McLean, CEO of Stagecoach Communities LLC, was accompanied by his partner, Scott E. Sober, president of Red Bear Holdings LLC, at the Dec. 1 Routt County Planning Commission meeting, but declined to discuss the status of their anticipated purchase of the dormant Stagecoach Ski Area.

McLean announced at the Sept. 1 Planning Commission meeting that the sale was under contract and set for a closing in October. That did not happen, and McLean would not comment this week except to say, “We’re under contract and bound by confidentiality.”

If the original sale contract expired after the buyer and the seller (the Wittemyer family) missed the original closing date, McLean’s comment could mean that the property is back under contract.

County Planning Director Chad Phillips said this week that earlier this fall he asked McLean: “If you get this property on Oct. 20, what are you going to do the day after you close?”

McLean’s reply included remodeling a cabin at the top of the ski area to serve as a sales center and building a community market at the base.

“The commissioners wanted to see a clean copy,” of last-minute changes to wording that describes the intended future use of two large parcels, the “Stahl property” and the “Wittemyer property,” Planning Director Chad Phillips said.

The latter is currently under consideration for the revival of the old Stagecoach Ski Area. In the case of the former, the Stahl family has indicated to the county through its attorney that they no longer believe the long anticipated uses of a golf course and a marina are realistic.

What’s new in the Stagecoach Area Plan?

Residents of unincorporated Stagecoach have long wished for a community store, and when the update of the Stagecoach Community Plan comes up for approval in January, there may be new reason for hope.

County Planning Director Chad Phillips said Dec. 1 that instead of limiting the site of a future store to the base of the ski area on land controlled by the Wittemyer family, the new plan will allow property owners elsewhere in Stagecoach to seek approval to create a “town center.” That implies that a number of locations on the south shore of Stagecoach Reservoir could be considered for the development of a community store not unlike the Clark Store in North Routt.

“The old plan has a store on the map where the community (previously) said they wanted it,” Phillips said. “Now, the community is getting frustrated — it’s been 17 years and nothing has happened. So we decided, let’s just (create) standards for a town center and open it up to more than just one landowner.”

Assistant County Planner Kristy Winser told Planning Commission that she and Phillips had agreed to describe both parcels as future recreation developments in the plan anyway.

With no new information forthcoming on the anticipated sale of the ski area, Winser said, she and Phillips agreed the assumption is that any future applications for either property will require an amendment of the community plan land use map.

Unincorporated Stagecoach is a diverse neighborhood that today has almost as many rooftops as the nearby town of Oak Creek, according to Phillips.

In 2009 and 2010, developer Ji-ang Song went through a series of public hearings, seeking a permit to go forward with 272 home lots on Woodchuck Mountain at Stagecoach before the Great Recession overtook his plans. Phillips said this week that he has been in touch with Song, who had indicated interest in revisiting his “Song Mountain” development plan.

And the revision of the Stagecoach community plan? The work actually began in 2009, but like Song Mountain, it was interrupted by the recession when staff reductions at the county left the Planning Department without a long-range planner in the role that Winser fills today.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1


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