With land parcels quickly becoming a rare commodity in Breckenridge, the town council decided to redevelop the Block 11 and McCain properties on the western side of Colorado State Highway 9 coming into town. The council this week gave the direction to move forward with soil testing on the McCain property. It also decided to look into how many units would be needed for housing and the feasibility of adding service commercial areas.
During its Tuesday work session, the town council reviewed master plans for the two adjacent parcels of land, which total approximately 201.4 acres.
Developed with Norris Designs, the plans outlined uses for both properties, such as workforce housing and a possible parking structure. The first plan for Block 11 was originally put together in 2007, while the McCain project had a more recent update in 2013. Town spokeswoman Kim Dykstra said that the master plans for the two pieces of land were originally developed separately, but the council now wants to look at them as a whole due to their proximity to each other. She added that the council will determine whether the housing and parking proposals on the two pieces of land make sense together.
"To have still any vacant property available to do some planning around is a luxury," said Councilwoman Wendy Wolfe. "We still do have room to build some great neighborhoods and keep more locals living in our community."
Councilman Jeffrey Bergeron agreed, adding that the large size of the property meant that the council had a lot of options to look at.
Denison Placer is only a small piece of potential developments that could find a home on the two pieces of property. Block 11, the smaller of the two developments at 18.1 available acres, has room for an additional 246 units after Denison Placer is completed. The McCain property sits on 128.6 acres, but already includes some planned projects such as the water plant and a proposal that would expand the solar garden area. Despite the other development projects on the land, the master plan estimates that 200 workforce-housing units will fit on the property.
While Wolfe said that she originally thought it was good to look at developing Block 11 as one chunk, it may be better to now look at it in separate pieces.
"You don't want the neighborhood to be too compartmentalized. You do want it to have a good feel to it; you want to build a good livable neighborhood," she said.
Part of this is due to the evolving needs of the town, such as overflow parking. She added that there is room for a relationship between the potential workforce housing neighborhood and Airport Road, which has recently seen more organic retail growth such as the expansion of Broken Compass Brewing. The interest in the area could draw future businesses.
"If we master plan the whole thing with no opportunity for that, are we doing ourselves a disservice?" Wolfe questioned.
Mayor Eric Mamula voiced similar concerns during the work session saying that he didn't want to have a strict plan before a developer comes on board. Flexibility would allow for more organic growth in the area.
Both Wolfe and Bergeron are also interested in the different possibilities for open space on the large parcels of land. Bergeron said that since the area is really the first view for people driving into Breckenridge, an open space area would be ideal.
The Breckenridge Open Space Advisory Commission recently received a grant of $350,000 for Oxbow Park, which is planned for Block 11.
Wolfe said that the area could be developed for beginner trails.
"That is such a beautiful place out there now that the river's restored," she said.
It is estimated the plant will cost $53 million. The proposal during Tuesday's meeting looked at potential designs for the plant, as well as the support buildings that accompany it. The plans include building and lighting designs for the water treatment plant, a pump station as well as four other buildings and parking lots. The planning commission held a hearing for the plant on April 18 and recommended to the council to move forward with the plan.