At least a year before Sentinel project starts

       Although the City Council vote Feb. 24 would let construction start on the 88-home Sentinel Ridge-West development, the Sunrise Company does not expect to break ground for at least a year.
       “Things are in such disarray in the economy,” said Dirk Gosda, president of Sunrise. “We just need a little patience, and at the first glimpse of stability in the market, we'll get started then.”
       Public improvements, including upgrades on Mesa Road and Fillmore Street and a new drop-off/parking lot for Holmes Middle School, will also have to wait until 2010, Gosda said.
       He elaborated that the timing will depend to some extent on a summer sales campaign by the Sunrise Company. “People think I'm crazy, but we'll see if we get a response.”
       He thinks the demand is out there. “The Westside is an infill location,” he said. “People ask us when we'll have houses.”
       A gated community, Sentinel will be on 28 acres south of Fillmore Street between Mesa Road (just east of Holmes Middle School) and Grande Vista Circle. Seventeen acres of private open space will be on hillier terrain south of the homes.
       The project was opposed by two neighborhood associations off Mesa Road, decrying the extensive grading needed to level property that had once been protected by a hillside overlay zone (the zone was removed as part of council's Sentinel approval). “In the end, it just comes down to different people liking different things,” Gosda said. The opponents “believed open space is more important than sidewalks and parks.”
       The current project is phase 1 of Sentinel Ridge. He envisions three more phases (in all, 286 homes on 60 buildable acres) on properties south and east of phase 1, but those too are on hold. “We'll wait and see how the sales campaign goes,” he said. “If it goes well, then we'll push that up.”
       During the sales campaign, people interested in buying houses at Sentinel can talk to Sunrise representatives at the Garden of the Gods Club on Mesa Road, he said.

Westside Pioneer article