Plan for Escondido subdivision goes forward

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MEEKER — They’ve been working on it for more than a year, and the lengthy process has left property owners and developers frustrated, but the preliminary plan for the Escondido subdivision was approved Aug. 19 by Meeker’s board of trustees with numerous conditions. The board refused a request from the developer to begin construction prior to approval of the final plan.
“We have no mechanisms in the code to allow for that,” said Mayor Mandi Etheridge. “It would have to go through public process.” By the time the public process for revising the code was complete, it would be a moot point for the developer, she added.
In January 2008, Pegge and Regas Halandras annexed a 27-acre parcel north of Sage Hills subdivision with the intention of creating a subdivision. After successfully re-zoning the parcel as rural residential, developer Jim Joy and the property owners submitted a plan for the creation of the Escondido subdivision in March.
Following extended public hearings, planning commission meetings, withdrawn and revised plats, variance requests, engineering studies and concerns from many of the neighboring property owners in Sage Hills, the preliminary plat for the seven lot subdivision was approved by the trustees.
Developer Jim Joy and project engineer Joe Nigh echoed concerns expressed in previous meetings over the continued delays to the project. Gus Halandras, representing the property owners, said, “There’s a lot of paper shuffling going on over seven lots … the problem with the process is that it needs to be streamlined. I don’t quite understand the necessity of all this.”
Joy agreed, and said he would be happy to sit down with the planning commission once this project is finished and discuss needed amendments to the town code.
Mayor Etheridge commented about the whole process. “The report was extremely detailed. If you’re not a planner or a developer, it really goes over your head.” She thanked town planner Anna Smith for her attention to detail and thoroughness. Etheridge also said she understood the developer’s frustration, but said she “believes it will create a better project in the end.”
In other business, the board approved a tavern liquor license renewal for AC’s Bar at 206 Sixth St.; approved a retail liquor license renewal for White River Liquor; and approved a special review use permit for Raul and Ricardo Ortiz to operate a Mexican drive-through food service trailer at 1033 Market St., property owned by Onea Miller. The drive-through food service trailer, doing business as Mi Taqueria, plans to be open Monday through Thursday from 4 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 4 a.m.-10 p.m. The applicants must obtain their state health department license and the lot needs to be paved, cemented or graveled for the permit to become effective.
Police Chief Bob Hervey said July was a “fairly busy month.” Of 13 arrests made, 11 took place during the fourth of July weekend. Hervey also said the department has filled their sixth officer’s position with a 17-year veteran of the Englewood, Colo., police department. The new officer started work Monday.
Etheridge encouraged the public to attend the town hall meeting Wednesday, Aug. 27 at the Fairfield Center. A panel of community leaders from Pinedale, Wyo., will be present to discuss the ways their community has handled the changes and challenges created by energy development in their region.