Article Last Updated: 01/31/2008 04:44:08 PM MST
A judge has put a stop to controversial plans for a new development that would have increased the number of homes in Elbert County by nearly 70 percent. Elbert County District Court Judge Jeffrey Holmes ruled Wednesday that the County Commission abused its discretion by approving RCI Development Partners’ applications for a project called Spring Valley Vistas. The commission exceeded its jurisdiction by authorizing a development with housing density that would surpass limits permitted by the county’s master plan, Holmes said in the eight-page ruling. The development would have brought 5,466 homes to a county that had 8,154 in 2004. The 2,371-acre Spring Valley Vista community would have set a benchmark for development density in its northwestern Elbert neighborhood: a home for every four-tenths of an acre. Commissioners also applied improper criteria when categorizing the life expectancy of a nonrenewable aquifer, he wrote. Holmes sent the matter back to the commission for further consideration. The plan had raised hackles among residents who felt it would destroy the quality of life in the county. A group of them formed Citizens for Responsible Growth-Elbert County and sued to stop the development. If the commission takes the matter any further, the developer will have to scale back the plan to comply with the county’s master plan, said Denver lawyer Joseph Dischinger, who represented the citizens’ group. “Obviously we are elated,” he said. “There was huge opposition to this development, and (residents) were very frustrated that the commissioners didn’t seem to be listening to their concerns,” Dischinger said. Calls to the county were referred to County Attorney Mark Scheffel. He couldn’t be reached for comment.
Tom McGhee: 303-954-1671 or firstname.lastname@example.org