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The Poncha Springs Planning and Zoning Committee and the Board of Trustees met Sept. 10 to hold a public hearing and a vote on the preliminary plat for the Tailwind Major Subdivision. After a vote to recommend approval by Planning and Zoning, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to approve it.

The hearing opened with a presentation by developer Joe DeLuca of the Crabtree Group on behalf of Tailwind Group, LLC. The major subdivision is located on the east side of Poncha Springs Lane on a 27.5-acre lot north of Little River Ranch and south of U.S. Highway 50. The plat calls for the property to be subdivided into 68 lots: 30 for single-family housing; 32 for duplex townhouses, or 64 units; four for T5 mixed-use or commercial purposes and two retained by the original owner. Regarding the project’s current status, DeLuca noted approval of the annexation, annexation map and zoning; submission of the CDOT permit application; ditch owners’ agreements are in place; and the final engineering design is 90 percent complete.

DeLuca then outlined the proposed phases of the project. In Phase 1, lots 7-13 will be the townhouses that face Poncha Springs Lane “because infrastructure is already there.” Phase 2 will be improvements on Poncha Springs Lane and development of lots 14-20 and 39-68 along Poncha Avenue. Phase 3 will be development of lots 21-38 and the commercial mixed-zone lots 3-5.

Trustee Thomas Moore asked when Phase 1 and Phase 2 were to begin. DeLuca said, “Phase 1 could start this fall if we can get utility companies in, although we are getting a little late in the year to start construction.”

Mayor Ben Scanga then opened the hearing to questions from the public. In response to a question about the proposed street cuts for the sewer lines and whether they could be done quickly, DeLuca said, “We won’t have to close the street for any longer than a couple hours – it’s all part of Phase 1.”

Kathy Gates, whose property borders the proposed subdivision, was one of the audience members with questions and concerns about the amount of privacy fencing and screening that developers were going to be putting in. Since there will be a fence along the southern border of the development, she wondered if fencing would be placed along the western border as well. “The concern for me is headlights – they are going to be going right into my windows.”

DeLuca said he didn’t know yet what was going to be on those lots, so fencing or other screening such as landscaping might be put there later. “It’s our intention to sell those lots; at this phase, it’s open dirt. It’s very onerous to say ‘fence it now’ – (let’s) wait til it’s developed.” Committee member Dave Ward asked, “Can we make a note that when these multi-family house lots are sold, we can say that the issue of fencing be addressed?” Mayor Scanga replied, “Notes call for screening that has to be approved at the time – we don’t need to put it in preliminary plat.”

DeLuca concluded his presentation with an appeal to the town officials to “tame the highway” with lower speeds by the streets leading into the subdivision. “It’s critical for pedestrian traffic and business.” He then requested preliminary plat approval.

After Mayor Scanga closed the public hearing, the Planning and Zoning Committee meeting convened to make a decision on the recommendation. After some discussion, Scanga moved to approve the preliminary plat. Steve Rust seconded, and the vote was 4-1 to approve, with Ken Donovan casting the dissenting vote, saying that “as a resident of Little River Ranch,” he was still “not happy with it (the plat design).”

The Board of Trustees then convened to vote on the recommendation to approve. Trustee Edwards spoke in favor of DeLuca’s recommendation that the town pursue the issue of changing speed limits on U.S. Highway 50. Mayor Pro-Tem Adrian Quintana moved to approve the preliminary plat; Darryl Wilson seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

In other business, the Board approved money to buy a swing set as part of the Hoover Park improvement and voted to allow a butcher shop/deli as an approved business for a T5-zoned building next to Firehouse Liquors.