Stagecoach property owners approve water wells, chickens and horses |

Stagecoach property owners approve water wells, chickens and horses

The deteriorating condition of Routt County Road 16 was one of the items discussed at the Stagecoach Homeowners Association meeting Saturday in Oak Creek.
Kari Dequine Harden

STAGECOACH — With strong voter participation of 67%, property owners in Stagecoach recently approved four covenant amendments.

Seeking to change current prohibitions, the amendments allow for the drilling of water wells by current individual property owners, the keeping of chickens, horses and pack animals and allow for the parking of one trailer outside of an enclosed space.

“Given the high level of owner participation and strong support for each amendment, the Association will now petition the District Court for approval of the proposed amendments,” according to the Stagecoach Property Owners Association newsletter. “The Association expects to know the results of this petition by the end of the summer.”

A significant amount of distress followed the 2017 announcement by the Colorado Division of Water Resources that it was suspending the issuance of well permits in unincorporated Stagecoach. Since then, the issue was given additional consideration, and the division announced it wants to minimize harm to rural areas and will continue to issue well permits in the affected subdivisions “under limited conditions.”

The Morrison Creek Metropolitan Water and Sanitation District imposed a moratorium on new water well and sealed sanitary vault permits in the fall of 2017, which was then rescinded in February 2018.

According to the newsletter, “With the recent ruling by the Colorado Division of Water Resources on water well permitting in the Yampa River basin, the Morrison Creek Metropolitan Water & Sanitation District has indicated they will stop requesting individual water well permits on behalf of owners whose lots are not served by the District’s water system.”

With 995 votes cast out of the Association’s 1,488 property owners, the water well amendment passed with 93% of the vote.

The amendment allowing a limited number of chicken hens to be kept passed with 66% of the vote, and the horse and pack animal amendment passed with 73% of the vote. Seventy-seven percent of voters approved allowing one trailer to be parked on an individual’s property.

Association Vice-President Rob Walker said he was impressed with the level of engagement from property owners. The votes took place during the association’s annual meeting, which was held Saturday in Oak Creek.

The amount of water currently available to homes in the area, and for future development, is always a significant concern, Walker said.

Another big topic discussed at the annual meeting was the coordination and integration of the trail system within and between neighborhoods.

Many are drawn to the area for the outdoor recreational opportunities, Walker said, and cited strong cooperation and collaboration with Stagecoach State Park.

Another issue always on the minds of residents, said Walker, is the condition of Routt County Road 16.

One homeowner recently put up a sign encouraging neighbors to call the county with complaints. The windy, narrow, dirt and gravel road is prone to washboards and deteriorating conditions.

“The road really takes a hit,” Walker said.

In addition to serving growing neighborhoods with daily traffic, the heavier sanitation, gas and logging trucks also take their toll on the road.

The primary culprit of C.R. 16’s washboards, said Routt County engineer/operator Zac Schaffner, is speed and traffic.

The road was not designed for the amount of traffic it now sees, and people have a tendency to drive relatively fast on the road, he said. The faster they drive the more problems they cause.

Future upgrades are always part of the conversation, Schaffner said, as it is one of the county’s most travelled gravel roads, but it isn’t an easy, or cheap, fix.

“It’s becoming harder and harder to find cheap gravel sources,” Schaffner said. He added that there is a limit to how much a road can be re-gravelled.

Paving, which is expensive, doesn’t require just asphalt, but material underneath the asphalt, he said. And paved roads still require maintenance and different equipment.

A redesign would take years and cost millions, Schaffner said, and would require major cutting into hillsides, most of which are located on private property.

He said the county does spend a considerable amount of time and resources to maintain C.R. 16, along with the more than 600 miles of paved and gravel roads under its purview.

To reach Kari Dequine Harden, call 970-871-4205, email or follow her on Twitter @kariharden.

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