Eight issues, including one public hearing, were on the table for the Feb. 26 Town of Poncha Springs board of trustees meeting. Salida School District Superintendent David Blackburn addressed the board, requesting a letter of support for a proposed partnership between Salida Schools and Colorado Mountain College (CMC). Blackburn outlined the many benefits a close relationship with CMC would bring to the community.

Poncha Springs has made an appeal for a possible CMC campus, due to its projected growth and location in the valley. There were some questions and subsequent discussion from board members concerning specific benefits, burdens and infrastructure required. The board chose not to make an official motion, but Mayor Ben Scanga led an overall agreement to approve and complete a letter of support from the Town of Poncha Springs.

The agenda included a public hearing on the modified DeAnza Vista multi-family site plan addition. The original site plan was changed from a single two-story, six-unit apartment to two one-story apartments, a duplex and four-plex. Trustee J.D. Longwell asked, and trustees were assured that the plan still meets the affordable housing requirement. The largest and most expensive units will lease for approximately $800 per month.

Scanga closed the public hearing and Trustee Adrian Quintana recused himself from any decision due to the location of his home to the proposed site plan. Trustee Thomas Moore was concerned about the impacts on the current residents in adjacent lots and wanted the board to consider those persons in any future site plans and modifications.

Trustee Dean Edwards moved to approve the new site plan and Longwell seconded it. The board unanimously approved the updated site plan.

Lot sales restrictions were released for two other developments in various stages of construction. The first release: lots within the Crossroads Village development located the west side of Poncha Springs adjacent to the Hoover subdivision.

The second lot sales release involved commercial lots 3 and 4 of the Tailwind Development located on the east side of Poncha Springs along U.S. Highway 50. This development is still in the earliest stages, however, according to town correspondence with the developer, there is an interested investor with a letter of intent from an Anytime Fitness franchisee. Both releases were voted on and approved unanimously by the board.

Town Administrator Brian Berger requested the board approve the final settlement to Phase I of the Water Infrastructure Improvement Plan. Berger outlined his work in finding and administering grants associated with the plan including the completion in May of a new high production well. He also showed the board significant savings realized through grant administration, allowing the town to potentially start another well project at little to no cost. The mayor and trustees unanimously approved the settlement, with praise to Berger for his work on the grant administration.

The board considered bids submitted for the construction of a new Crossroads Welcome Center in the same area where the existing visitor center is located and made a unanimous decision. With a projected overall project cost of $487,377, the town received three subsequent bids for the actual center. The board awarded the contract to the lowest bid of $348,306, submitted by ACA.

The final action item was consideration of a parcel agreement for land located in the old “flyway” portion of the Highway 50 and U.S. 285 interchange. This property is located in the northeast corner of the intersection and is adjacent to the current grocery store and hardware store being developed by Sam Mick.

Mick had been working on ownership questions for the parcel. He discovered it is still owned by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) who informed him that first right of sale for the approximate 2.5-acre parcel was given to the Town of Poncha Springs. Mick presented the town with his CDOT correspondence and a conceptual drawing of the parcel’s potential use. His concept includes two, smaller, one-story commercial buildings along the highway frontage and the vast majority of the land becoming green open space. Mick said his intention with the parcel and the concept was to work with the town to highlight the pending grocery store and help provide the town with an appealing town center.

Trustee Dean Edwards commented that the concept was in line with the town’s comprehensive plan for the highway corridor. One public comment concerned general aesthetics but affirmed the idea of more green open space. Moore said he liked the concept but wanted the town to have more say in what was done with the parcel.

Edwards made a motion approving an agreement with Mick to continue negotiations with CDOT to purchase the land. Trustee Daryl Wilson seconded the motion and the vote was 6 to 1 approving the agreement with Moore dissenting.