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"The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another. The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month."
– Henry Van Dyke  
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  Volume No. 16 Issue No. 3 March 2019  

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March Madness in Peyton: Peyton High School puts on an annual event to celebrate kids who participate in Peyton Youth Sports. This season's participants included basketball players and cheerleaders. Photo by Cara Lord-Geiser


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  Trying to preserve the “Old West” lifestyle
  By Lindsey Harrison

  Old West Ranch and Stagecoach Ranch on the Range are two covenanted developments aiming to preserve the rural lifestyle; the developers are currently creating infrastructure and selling parcels of land in eastern El Paso County.
  
  Located about 3 miles from the intersection of Highway 24 and Judge Orr Road, the first development, Old West Ranch, is about 4,000 acres and consists of three large ranches and smaller ranchettes, said Dan Carless Sr., property owner and developer.
  
  “Two of the large ranches are about 750 acres and the third is about 550 acres,” Carless said. “The rest of the property is 35-acre ranchettes.”
  
  The ranches are called Buckskin at Old West Ranch, Cowboy at Old West Ranch and Palomino at Old West Ranch, respectively, according to the development’s website. The ranchettes are situated in three neighborhoods: Winchester at Old West Ranch, Remington at Old West Ranch and Colt at Old West Ranch.
  
  “We have already developed and launched about 3,000 acres in phase one and plan to launch the remaining property in phase two this summer,” Carless said.
  
  Carless has been investing in development in Colorado Springs since the mid-1980s; he said he has never before seen development relegated to one direction the way it is in El Paso County. When he realized the growth was heading east, Carless said he began looking for property beyond Falcon.
  
  “Pulte (PulteGroup Inc.) was at one point interested in developing out here, maybe retirement communities,” he said. “It would have been about 6,000 to 8,000 homes, but when the financial crunch hit in 2007 and 2008, the developer lost the property to the bank. We purchased it from the bank, and thought this would be a great opportunity to develop something for the community.”
  
  Carless said the idea behind the larger plots and ranches is to preserve the lifestyle people associate with the eastern plains, while incorporating amenities like three-rail vinyl fencing and entry arches and gates. Additionally, the water rights for each property have been secured, allowing for 1 acre-foot of water per year to each parcel, he said. However, Carless said he owns additional water rights and could make that available for people who need it.
  
  The 35-acre ranchettes are about 70 percent sold; the properties have been available for less than a year, he said. “As people find out the property is out there, they are responding and buying,” Carless said. “These are really unique in their affordability and location. We are making it a destination master plan community that people can be really proud to live in. It is close to town, but they can still enjoy the ‘Old West.’”
  
  The other development, Stagecoach Ranch on the Range, is located about 3 miles south of the intersection of Peyton Highway and Falcon Highway, and is about 715 acres, Carless said. The plan is to have 20 lots available on that property, and about five home-construction companies have expressed interest in building there, including MasterBilt Homes Inc. and Powell Homes Inc., he said.
  
  Both developments have covenants, which Carless said is often viewed negatively. “These are wonderful rural covenants and the spirit of them is, ‘Be a good neighbor and enjoy good neighbors,’” he said.
  
  “The covenants are designed to allow you to enjoy the freedom of the land but also not have someone make a junkyard on their property, and to protect home values,” Dan Carless Jr. said.
  
  Jody Heffner is the real estate agent for the properties.
  
  Additional information can be found at http://oldwestranchco.com and http://stagecoachranchontherange.com.
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  County’s website boosts development process
  By Lindsey Harrison

  El Paso County Planning and Community Development launched an Electronic Development Application Review Program (EDARP) in April 2017; in 2018, the website won an Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties.
  
  Nina Ruiz, EPC planner II, said EDARP provides many benefits for both the county employees and the community. It establishes consistency among the planners because everything is filed the same way, using the same process, she said. Additionally, all the files are in one place, which saves plenty of previously wasted time tracking down the necessary documents, Ruiz said.
  
  “Anyone can use EDARP to find out about current active applications,” Ruiz said. “They may be scheduled for public hearing or in the beginning stages of the process. People can also see what applications are pending.”
  
  The EDARP system also has application archives, which pull data from the active applications. There are many different ways to get to the information, so even if someone has limited details about the application they want to find, they can still find it, she said.
  
  Ruiz said one of the best parts of the EDARP is that people can now apply for the permits they need through the county, without having to drive to the Planning and Development Center. “Once they have a user account with us through the application process, they can go to their homepage to see all the comments about their project and address them as they proceed instead of later on,” she said. “They do not have to wait to get those comments back.”
  
  Overall, the system has been met with positive feedback from the community; small changes have been made to address any concerns that crop up, she said.
  
  “We as a staff are able to respond to questions quicker, and it has helped with the review process,” Ruiz said. “It should help reduce the number of reviews we have to complete as well. We can also be on the phone with someone and walk them through finding the information they need. We will help in every way we can, but we must remain neutral.”
  
  Ultimately, the EDARP system will provide a higher level of transparency to the development process, which is always a good thing, Ruiz said.
  
  The award-winning website is http://epcdevplanreview.com.
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