WASHINGTON COUNTY – A golf course under construction near Hurricane now lies idle after county officials stopped the development for failing to comply with county code requirements.
County officials put a stop to work on a golf course located near Sky Ranch and the Cliff Dwellers subdivisions after the development company failed to comply with county requirements.
The property is the site of a 900-acre planned development owned by Copper Rock Properties.
The original proposal for the project was approved by Washington County officials in 2002 and included 1,100 single family residences, 500 multi-family residences, commercial space, an RV resort and a 27-hole golf course on about 290 acres.
However, design work on the project was halted due to the economic downturn and housing crisis, Washington County planner Scott Messel said.
In the interim, county code governing planned developments changed although previously approved projects could continue under the old regulations provided there were no substantial changes – more than 5 percent.
Planned developments have stricter requirements than regular subdivisions, Messel told the county commission at a public hearing held during a regular commission meeting Feb. 7, and require more detailed plans. Planned developments often allow higher density areas in exchange for parks and open space.
Copper Rock started grading the planned golf course earlier this year, Messel said, and the county became aware of it during the summer of 2016.
After finding out that the golf course was about 100 acres less than the original plan and there were plans for almost 600 additional single family condos, county staff contacted the developers and asked for a new planned development agreement to be submitted.
That was not provided and the planning commission issued a stop work order on the golf course Nov. 9.
Copper Rock manager Gordon Zitting appealed the planning commission decision, but it was upheld by the county commission at a regular meeting Feb. 7.
The biggest issue is utilities, Messel said, or rather the lack of specific plans for utilities such as power, sewer and water.
“We need to know there’s enough water for development and if there’s a plan for waste water,” Messel said.
Mike DeMille, representing Copper Rock, told commissioners that developers were just trying to complete 18 holes of the golf course as originally planned.
“It’s on the approved plan, as part of the golf course,” DeMille said but stated that other aspects of the project have changed.
“We feel like we’re bringing a subdivision that benefits the county. It doesn’t require a culinary system because it’s only a golf course. It doesn’t require a sewer system, it’s only a golf course.”
However, Commissioner Dean Cox pointed out that Copper Rock is trying to operate under a 2002 planned development agreement that has been substantially changed; the commission denied the application.
Residents of Sky Ranch and Cliff Dwellers subdivisions who spoke at the commission meeting expressed concerns about lot size, density, traffic and preserving the quiet and the night sky.
Others were concerned about dust from the area disturbed by grading; the developer will be required to keep the dust suppressed, Messel said.
Developers have initiated the process of getting the property annexed into Hurricane City. If that happens, the project would no longer be subject to county codes but would have to comply with Hurricane regulations.
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