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Sun, Feb. 23

Forest Canyon Estates creates a stir at city council
Preliminary plans for area subdivision tabled

Members of the Williams Planning and Zoning Commission expressed some frustration during the regular meeting of Williams City Council Oct. 11 after learning that changes were in store for the Forest Canyon Estates subdivision - changes not blessed by commissioners when they approved the subdivision's preliminary design Sept. 20.

Commissioners with Planning and Zoning attended the Thursday night meeting in order to follow councilmembers' decision on the project's preliminary plat, only to discover that access into the subdivision had been altered to allow for dual access into the property, among other changes. The subdivision has gone through a number of alterations since council originally denied it in March of this year.

Included in the new changes, spearheaded by Williams Vice-Mayor Bernie Heimenz Oct. 11, were updates to the subdivision's access route and possible zoning changes. One change in particular called for an alteration to the subdivision's emergency access, widening the roadway from its original specification of 20-feet to 52-feet.

Planning and Zoning commissioners, meanwhile, were not happy about the changes, as they felt the alterations had not gone through the proper review process.

"It would be nice to see a preliminary plat or a revised plat come through Planning and Zoning," said Commissioner Bill Baptist. "We didn't see any of this (and) we've been answering to a lot of people. There are a lot of people sitting here in this audience that we've seen and the discussions that have gone on went on (over) the telephone this morning. I don't want to get stopped on the street and hear, 'Hey, how did it all change (from) us giving it to you (councilmembers) and making this change right now.' It has to be explained and put to the public in the normal format."

"I think legally we need to send it back through with that kind of change," said Commissioner Karen Peters of the roadway and possible zoning changes.

Peters recused herself from participation in any decision due the fact that she lives near the property in question.

Council members agreed to table any decision on the project until Planning and Zoning commissioners could discuss the alterations. A special meeting of the Williams Planning and Zoning Commission is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 1.

"I certainly have a lot of respect for the men and women on our Planning and Zoning. They're expressing some very real concerns," Councilman Andrew Hamby said during the Oct. 11 meeting.

Barring a huge public outcry from residents in the neighborhood surrounding the proposed subdivision, Hamby said he would be willing to pass the project in the preliminary phase.

"But we have some very qualified people on the Planning and Zoning and I would hate to just go right by them based on some recent changes - that are for the better," Hamby said.

The Forest Canyon Estates subdivision originally called for 120 lots, located on 60 acres, but has since been scaled back to 70 lots ranging from 15,000 square feet to over one acre.

"Last time this came forward it was 120 lots. At this point in time we have reduced the number of lots to 70 lots," said developer Mason Cave with the TMD Group, owners of the Forest Canyon Estates property. The property is currently zoned R1-7, Cave said, which allows for a minimum lot size of 7,000 feet.

"We're actually reducing this property to estate size lots with a minimum square footage of 15,000 square feet. We still allowed for plenty of open area within the project and have also assigned some no-build areas along some lots to protect some of the more beautiful areas of the property."

Plans for Forest Canyon Estates currently show access into the subdivision through Allston Way.

"We've allowed for future access to be connected via what's called Amarillo Court, which would head to the north, eventually getting to Route 66," Cave said. "We have also allowed for a connection eventually should the city be successful in getting the Buckskinner property. Basically what we've agreed to is that we would not pull any building permits until we have this connectivity."

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