State Health certifies Gold Hill’s Filing 1

       There was never any doubt, according to D. Wendal Attig of Gold Hill Mesa, but now it's in writing: The development atop the former gold mill is a safe place to live.
       The project's limited liability corporation (LLC) got the word this week from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment through a “No Action Determination” letter pertaining to the LLC's first filing of 167 housing lots. The certification means that no further action is needed to remediate the land under the Voluntary Cleanup (VCUP) agreement between the state Health Department and Gold Hill Mesa.
       “If I'm a homeowner, this says the EPA is not going to come in and dig up my yard,” Attig explained. He noted also that there are no restrictions about homeowners planting gardens - which had previously been an issue for the development - although a homeowners association will be charged with making sure people aren't “willy-nilly digging things up,” he added.
       LLC manager and lead developer Bob Willard had told the Westside Pioneer last spring he was going to talk to the state about the garden question. The restriction had existed when he only planned to put a cap of 1 ˝ feet (plus 1 foot by the builder) under houses being built over the gold-mill soil, but he won state favor by doubling the cap amount.
       The state decision followed soil inspections at random locations in Filing 1, which is a 27-acre area north of Lower Gold Camp Road and west of the separately built Crown Hill Mesa subdivision. A 20,000-square-foot community center began being built in Filing 1 last summer.
       Future filings will need their own No Action Determina-tions, but Attig said this should not be a problem because the LLC knows what to do now to make the ground safe.
       Filing 1 is part of the development's two-filing Phase 1, a development plan for which was approved by City Council in October 2004. At 52 acres in all, Phase 1 is the start of Gold Hill Mesa's eventual 210-acre commercial-residential development that is to include about 1,000 homes on 143 of the acres and an as-yet- undetermined amount of commercial and office space on the remaining 67, Attig said.
       LLC plans now call for the builder (John Laing Homes) to start erecting the first of several Filing 1 model homes in November, with the goal of having them ready to show to the public by January.
       Construction of model homes had been slated earlier this year, under the thinking that an interim OK could be obtained from State Health. But having the certification in hand works out better, Attig believes, because it emphasizes the LLC's successful VCUP efforts over about eight years on a site where gold ore had been chemically treated for most of the first half of the 20th century. These efforts have included bringing in tons of fresh soil to cover the old ground, testing for contaminants blowing off the site and shutting down construction work anytime winds got over 30 mph.
       “This is a big deal,” Attig said of the No Action Determination. “It's what nobody thought could be accomplished.”

Westside Pioneer article