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The location of the 13-acre Uintah Bluffs is shown. Access would be from Manitou Boulevard.
Courtesy of City Land Use Review

New strategy for Uintah Bluffs: single-family, less density

       After eight years of frustration, developer Matt Craddock believes he's finally found a viable plan for his Uintah Bluffs project.
       He submitted his new proposal, calling for 35 single-family detached homes, to the city last week.
       The 13-acre location is on a plateau south of Uintah Street and west of Bristol School. Access would be from Manitou Boulevard, just to the west.
       Craddock had gained City Council approval for a 52-unit townhome plan in 2012, but held off on development because of a weak townhome market.
       He sees a more promising future at this time for single-family - so much so that he'd like to have at least a couple of the homes in the ground before the end of this year, he said in an interview this week.
       Craddock is with Craddock Companies, which is doing business as “Uintah Bluffs LLC” for this project. Submitted by the NES company on behalf of the LLC, the requests to the city are for a zone change and development plan. Geared for single-family, they would take the place of the townhome-related zone and plan approvals by the city in 2012.
       Those approvals would have allowed 52 units.
       Otherwise, the new plan looks much the same, in terms of street layout (a private road off Manitou Boulevard, leading to a cul-de-sac at the north end of the property), drainage improvements (in the southeast portion of the property), preservation of natural features and right of way for public trails to access the adjacent Bristol Park and Mesa Open Space.
       Mike Schultz, a planner with City Land Use Review, said the submittal might be on the March meeting agenda for City Planning Commission. City Council would also have to approve the zone change.
       Asked if he had a recommendation, Schultz said, “I haven't made a determination yet, but most of the issues such as access agreements, utilities, resident impacts and slope protection were hammered out during the original review; so I'll likely support this zone change.”
       Before sending his proposal to the city, Craddock presented the concept informally about three months ago to the board of the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN), the city-recognized advocacy group for the older Westside. The OWN board members praised the reduction in density, from 52 to 35 units. “This is great for the neighborhood,” President Welling Clark said.
       A Project Statement, which NES included in the submittal, also emphasizes the density drop. “This plan will reduce impacts on streets, parks, schools and utility capacity,” the statement asserts, adding that “a significant amount of the project site is preserved in open space.”
       Craddock's original development concept for the property in 2006 had suggested more than 50 attached homes, but issues arose about steep slopes, fire safety and extensive grading. He also considered an apartment concept before submitting the 2012 townhome plan. But until he was approached last year by a local builder with a strategy for detached homes in the $325,000 to $375,000 range, he had never thought single-family would make economic sense there. Now, “I think everybody is going to be pretty happy,” Craddock said. “It's worked out as a win-win.”
       The city is taking comments on the project until Feb. 18 at 385-5089 or mdschultz@springsgov.com.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 2/6/14)