The Grand County Planning Commission Tuesday, Oct. 23, reluctantly tabled an action plan for the Sandstone Cliffs Subdivision, a more than 24-acre parcel designed to allow for approximately 15 rural residential lots in the area between Murphy Lane and Munsey Drive in Spanish Valley. The hold-up is due to a grey area in the language of the land use code regarding unconfirmed trail easements, particularly on public lands just east of the proposed development.
The tabled action stalled the application process for landowner Diana Carroll, and resulted in some frustration for her and at least one of the planning commissioners, Cricket Green. “I don’t understand why you’re picking this apart,” said Green. “I’m against dragging this out again.
But Planning Commissioner Kevin Walker, who made the initial motion to table the item said, “I think the manuscript is pretty clear, that where the trails appear on the map, there should be a dedicated right-of-way. The trails are built into the county policy; we want more trails, and this is how we do it.”
Addressing the board, Carroll said, “It’s been a burden. It’s been going on over two years now…I’ve spoken to the neighbors; no one wants that trail.”
To Walker, Green said, “You didn’t reanalyze everything this way for [other projects], I feel like this is a pet peeve of yours.”
Planning Commissioner Emily Campbell said, “To Kevin’s point, from a pragmatic perspective, the point of this body is to try to encourage community-friendly development, not just landowner-friendly development, by choosing to ask decisions to be made in good faith and the best interest of the community.”
But Green argued, “How many times do we send ‘things subject to things’ forward? Every time. Every time… Make sure you get my frustration in the minutes.”
Campbell, despite showing an understanding for Walker’s preference to make it “cleaner procedurally,” was among the board members who, initially, along with Green, voted against Walker’s motion to table the item. Campbell likened it to “holding it hostage” and wanted to provide the subdivision “the ability to move forward in the short-term” thus, to approve the plan under the condition that compliance will occur when exact trail requirements are officially determined.
Throughout the meeting the board also deliberated confusion over a previously indicated second trail near the potentially required easement, loosely determining it was still pending approval from Trail Mix.
When Campbell questioned Carroll about the reasons or concerns for excluding the original trail Carroll said, “There’s been some existing trespassing…I’ve sent photos of damage.” When discussing trail possibilities, Walker said, “You can get to it [The Mill Creek Rim Trail network] from the Power Dam two miles up the valley, but there’s not really any other practical access.”
But Carroll countered, “If they want to maintain trail access, I don’t care where.”
After Walker’s initial motion to table the matter, Green’s motion for an amendment, and Campbell’s motion to amend Green’s amendment, all failed to receive a majority vote. Carroll walked out just as the board unanimously voted to table the action plan.
“I’m sorry, Diane,” said Campbell in parting.