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After 10-plus years, grading work starts on 31-home Uintah Bluffs development

A view east from a short rise close to the western edge of the Uintah Bluffs property reveals recently started grading activity on a portion of the 13-acre property Aug. 19. The scene can be compared with the "before" photo below, shot from a similar angle.
Westside Pioneer photo
More than a decade after Craddock Companies bought a Westside hilltop property with the intent to develop residential housing, grading started there this month.
       The 13-acre project, called Uintah Bluffs, is mostly out of view, on a hilltop plateau west of Walnut Street, south of Uintah Street, east of Manitou Boulevard and north of Monument Street.
       City Council gave final approval in 2014 to plans for 31 single-family homes on the site. The final plat, providing construction details, is still under city review, but “it's only little technical things,” according to developer Matt Craddock.
       “It's finally starting to happen,” he said. “It's great.”
This photo, taken in December 2014 before any grading occurred, looks east over the Uintah Bluffs site from a similar vantage point as the current photo above (note some of the similar terrain and buildings in the background).
Westside Pioneer file photo
The grading contractor is Dwire Earthmoving. The heavy-equipment ground preparation is expected to last into the fall.
       By a construction coincidence, the Uintah Bluffs activity is occurring at the same time as the more visible construction of the Colorado Springs Utilities water tank just to the west, also off Manitou Boulevard. (For the Westside Pioneer coverage of that, go to this link.)
       According to the approved plans, the homes will be constructed around a single road, Uintah Bluffs Place - which itself needs to be built - connecting from Manitou Boulevard, just north of Monument Street, and ending at a cul de sac in the northwest part of the site.
       The plans also show that less than 20 percent of the Uintah Bluffs property will actually be built on. Still, “significant grading” will be necessary on the site (which is in a hillside overlay zone), according to a previous city project analysis. Two non-use variances, approved by the city in 2012, will allow cuts on 2.5 acres that have slopes of 25 percent or more, the analysis points out.
       The development took an unusually long time to get into the ground, in large part because Craddock's building concept changed several times since acquiring the propesrty in 2005, going from varying densities of attached housing to the final version of detached, single-family homes. Over the years, Craddock sought to work with the neighborhood on his ideas, and no opposition ever emerged, although the resident nearest to the access from Manitou Boulevard continued to argue that the traffic would be too intrusive.
       With the final, single-family iteration, the goal for Uintah Bluffs is to have “more of a neighborhood or community rather than a straight-up subdivision," Craddock said in 2015. "It will be more like a little enclave back there.”

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 8/20/16; Land: Construction)

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