‘The future of Hayden’ presented | SteamboatToday.com

‘The future of Hayden’ presented

Town Board hears plans for future development; no decisions made

Autumn Phillips

— Six men stood one at a time and introduced themselves to the Hayden Town Board. They described themselves as plumbers and electrical contractors working men. Despite what they said, all the trustees saw were developers trying to change the face of Hayden.

“We’re not here out of Los Angeles,” began Tom Fox, partner in 4S Development Limited and owner of Fox Construction in Steamboat Springs.

“These are local folks here,” he said, pointing to his partners.

Board members listened to the introductions while shuffling papers full of the questions they planned to ask the men who wanted to build on land south of Hayden.

According to the meeting agenda, 4S Development Limited was going to request that their property be annexed into Hayden, but Fox started the meeting by announcing the group would be doing no such thing.

“There has been no formal request made for annexation,” Fox said. Instead, he simply hoped to present his plan. Information was to be discussed and digested, he said. No decisions would be made.

With a pointer and flip charts, Fox showed the Town Board what he hoped to be “the future of Hayden.”

Fox walked trustees through a 25- to 30-year plan to develop 902 acres into more than 2,000 dwellings, a golf course, lake and “town center.”

The development, known as Sunburst Ranch, is a planned community, basically self-sufficient at completion except for needed links to the Hayden water and sewer systems.

Housing options would range everywhere from high-end homes on large lots to a trailer park, “tucked away” and invisible from Hayden.

A small commercial area is planned, but, Fox assured, “It will not compete with downtown Hayden.”

Fox said Town Manager Rob Straebel made it repeatedly clear Hayden was not in a position to finance the development.

“We will pay our own way,” Fox said.

Land planner and consultant to the development, Peter Patten, was next with the pointer, the promises and the explanation of a phased plan he has been working on for two years, he said.

At the end of his presentation, Trustee Ken Gibbons expressed concern.

“This still kind of scares me a bit,” he said. “I’ve been in politics for a while and I’ve learned not to trust developers bearing gifts.”

Trustees, Hayden planning commissioners and residents took turns searching out the developers’ motives and their personal qualms with expanding the town’s boundaries.

By the end of the meeting, most in attendance seemed to acknowledge Hayden was destined to grow in the near future, and it would be positive to consider growth under one landowner rather than through small, scattered developments.

“I need to sit back and digest all that I heard tonight,” Mayor Chuck Grobe said. “This is the first time I’ve seen all this.

“I like the idea that someone is offering us a big picture, but I don’t know any town in Colorado that could handle doubling its size in one swoop.”

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