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Proposed subdivision near Black Forest

Representatives from the Land Development Corp. and N.E.S. Inc. hosted a meeting March 21 at the Black Forest Lutheran Church in Black Forest, Colorado, to present information on a proposed subdivision ó The Retreat at TimberRidge. Members of the El Paso County planning department also attended.John Maynard, designer with N.E.S., said the proposed subdivision will be located on the east side of Vollmer Road, with a portion of the land to the north of Arroya Lane and the majority to the south of it. The Sterling Ranch development borders the property to the immediate south, he said.The proposal requests a rezoning of about 300 acres from rural residential to planned unit development and establishes 470 plots, ranging in size from about 6,000 square feet to 5 acres, open space and a central neighborhood park, Maynard said.ìThe higher-density portion is located to the south, and the plots get bigger as you go north,î Maynard said. ìThe farthest portion to the north is just open space. We will also have a 50-foot buffer along Vollmer in which we plan to create a berm and plant pines trees.îPaul Howard, principal with LDC, said the design was intentional since the area is considered a transition area. According to the Black Forest Preservation Plan, ìThe area transitions from industrial uses in the south to open rolling terrain with gentle drainage in the north.î The plan also states that this area is considered the visual entry point to the timbered area.Judy von Ahlefedlt, resident and former owner of the ìBlack Forest News,î said she does not feel like the plan is a gentle transition, which was what the Black Forest Preservation Plan intended for that area. ìI do not feel this is compatible with the preservation plan,î she said. ìThe plan has worked very well for a long time, since 1974.îAbout 45 other residents attended the meeting and voiced concerns about the proposal, mainly regarding water supply, traffic and lot size. Maynard said the water will come from a metropolitan district the development will form and from wells on Sterling Ranch, through an intergovernmental agreement. The water comes from the Arapahoe aquifer, the deepest of the aquifers in the area, or the Laramie-Fox Hills aquifer, if necessary; the private wells the residents now have all tap into the Dawson or Denver aquifers, he said. The Arapahoe aquifer is considered municipal water, so large developments like this are permitted to use it, Maynard said.The subdivision will have three access points off Vollmer Road and two off Arroya Lane, he said. A resident voiced concern that she will not be able to easily exit her property off Arroya Lane, with hundreds of additional vehicles driving up and down that street. She also expressed concern about having to leave quickly in the event of another fire like the Black Forest Fire of 2013.Howard said LDC will make improvements to the roads impacted by additional traffic; and, because people will likely use various ways to get into the proposed subdivision, they will not all filter through the same entry point. All in all, the roads are going to be better once the project is complete, he said.The proposal has not been submitted to EPC yet but Maynard said he anticipates it will happen in the next few weeks. Since it is in the early stages of the planning process, changes could be made between now and the time the project gets under way, if it is approved, he said.

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