Dumont residents oppose developing former LDS church property

Corinne Westeman
cwesteman@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 8/19/21

Rather than turning the former Latter Day Saints church property into housing, many Dumont residents stated they want the site to remain open space and, at most, have a daycare center in the existing …

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Dumont residents oppose developing former LDS church property

Posted

Rather than turning the former Latter Day Saints church property into housing, many Dumont residents stated they want the site to remain open space and, at most, have a daycare center in the existing building.

Clear Creek County officials hosted a virtual meeting Thursday about the future of the former LDS church site, which is now county-owned. Two developers pitched their proposals for the 4.5-acre property on Dumont Road, and community members provided feedback on the specific proposals and development ideas in general.

Officials clarified it was a “fact-finding” meeting only and weren’t making any decision on which, if any, proposal to pursue.

Blue Spruce Habitat for Humanity outlined buying the property for $450,000 and then building 20 units for seniors, while architect Michael Caistor and Realtor Tammy Marasia proposed offering 30-40 units of duplexes, small cabins and Habitat-built units.

Both proposals included renovating the former church building into a community center.

A third proposal had been on the agenda, but county staff confirmed the company had since withdrawn.

Speaking on behalf of approximately 20 residents in the Dumont-Lawson-Downieville area, Dumont Road resident Jodie Hartman Ball said she and her neighbors wanted the site to stay as it is.

Ball read a letter detailing nine major concerns, including water availability, traffic and environmental impacts. She also expressed that Clear Creek County’s character seems to be changing, as more development begets the need for more infrastructure and public services in a seemingly endless cycle.

“We are a community that likes to stay to ourselves; we don’t want to be in the city,” Ball read. “We’ve heard about a lot of ideas. When asked for our input, we don’t feel like we’re being listened to. … We remember when taxes were much lower, and we had much more for our community.”

Ball and her neighbors instead suggested that county officials fix the housing that’s already here and address the number of vacation rentals and second homes, which they said takes away from the housing stock for those who work locally.

Amy Saxton, director of the county’s Strategic and Community Planning Division, said some concerns about developing the former LDS property, such as traffic and environmental impacts, would be addressed in a rezoning application, “if it got to that point.”

Depending on how the county decides to proceed with the two current proposals, it could ask for more proposals, Saxton explained, saying, “Maybe your comments will result in us going in another direction.”

County Manager Brian Bosshardt added: “Whether we go with one of these proposals or ask for others, we got some good comments.”

Dumont Creek Park proposal

Caistor and Marasia outlined their proposal for Dumont Creek Park, which would include 30-40 units, a mini-community center and a park.

Caistor said he sees this as “the most bang for the buck,” as it would be housing for seniors, families and local workers, while the Blue Spruce proposal is only for seniors.

However, he clarified that this outline includes sharing units with Habitat for Humanity, saying, “We think Habitat coming in is great, just not the whole place. We’re hoping that we could divvy it up fairly among the two of us.”

He said he wanted to respect the neighborhood by using a historic design so that it feels like it fits in Dumont, as both the cabins and the duplexes would have a mountain-style look to them.

The cabins, he continued, would be 400 square feet but could be expanded up to 1,000 square feet. He saw the cabins as a stepping stone for those looking at home ownership, as monthly payments would be about $1,000 a month, which he said is comparable to apartment rent rather than a mortgage payment.

The duplexes, meanwhile, would be $200,000-$300,000 to buy, but owners could then rent out the other side to help with the mortgage payments. Marasia said this might be ideal for some seniors.

One resident wondered whether that many units was feasible given that most surrounding homes are on well water. He also wanted to see fire hydrants incorporated into the design, referencing a fire a few years ago that burned two nearby buildings.

Greenway Village proposal

Blue Spruce Habitat for Humanity leadership outlined the proposal for the Greenway Village project, which would have 20 permanently affordable units for independent seniors.

The homes would be about 1,100 square feet, have a ground-level floor only, and could be a standalone unit or a duplex. The home would also be pre-fabricated to reduce costs.

Overall, the project would maintain wildlife corridors, maintain the existing trees while planting new ones, and preserve the existing building as a gathering space for homeowners, Blue Spruce leadership said.

When a resident asked whether the proposal had to be for seniors only, Executive Director Kathleen O’Leary responded that the project is still in its early phases and could potentially change if that’s something the community wanted.

“There’s a big need for senior housing,” she said, adding that Blue Spruce is building workforce units elsewhere in the county.

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