Development of a 154-lot subdivision south of Laramie has begun clearing some regulatory hurdles.
Albany County’s Planning and Zoning Commission members signed off on the final plat for 21 lots at their meeting last week. County commissioners will consider approving the final plat for those 21 lots at their first meeting in November.
Commissioners already approved the preliminary plat for the entire 154 acres at their Aug. 6 meeting. At that meeting, the county board also voted to change the zoning of all 406 acres from “rural residential” to “urban residential.”
The planned subdivision is an extension of the “Paddocks at Fort Sanders” subdivision that developer John Evans began roughly a decade ago off Howe Road, which runs east of U.S. Highway 287 about a half mile south of the Cavalryman Steakhouse.
The 21 lots currently under consideration by the commissioners comprise 59 acres and would be accessed by Bastion Road, which lies to the north and was already constructed as part of the first Paddocks subdivision.
As the second phase of Paddocks subdivision develops, the primary access for the southern half will be City Ranch Road, an existing dirt road that sits to the south of the subdivision.
Rob Fisher, the county’s road and bridge superintendent, has also recommended that the road be widened.
Evans has agreed to pave and maintain City Ranch Road up to the entrance of the Paddocks.
Evans said he plans to have the road paved “as soon as the construction season starts” in 2020.
“It’s hard to say that it will be done by a certain date, but it will be done next year,” Evans said.
Albany County Fire District No. 1 board members have expressed concern about the unlocked gate at the northern entrance to the subdivision from Howe Road.
At last week’s planning board meeting, ACFD No. 1 director Art Sigel said he’d like to see an automatic triggering mechanism to be installed at the gate — one that wouldn’t require firefighters to leave their truck to open the gate.
“We need to get into subdivisions of this nature in the middle of the night, in a snow storm and in a wind storm,” Sigel said. “We don’t have to feel like we should have to stop at a gate. That time could be pertinent.”
That type of gate is already in used at the Wild Horse Ranch Subdivision east of Sheep Mountain and is able to be opened by either a siren or cell phone, Sigel said.
“We’re having more and more gated communities,” he said. “It’s one thing to have to cut a lock on a remote gate out on a ranch, but it’s something when you’ve got hundreds of people behind that gate and you want to get in there.”
Planning board chairman Shaun Moore urged Evans and Sigel to meet to discuss a compromise.
Under the proposed final plat, the average lot size for the 21 lots would be 2.3 acres.
Wyoming Game and Fish had recommended that lot sizes be increased to 10 acres to “decrease impacts and minimize fragmentation across the landscape.”
Under Evans’ current plans, each lot would be dependent on individual septic systems, and water hookup is expected to be provided through the South of Laramie Water and Sewer District.
The development of the Paddocks subdivision has been opposed by some residents in the South Knoll subdivision, which lies immediately to the west of the Paddocks. Residents said that the Paddocks subdivision, and the gate installed on the north side of the subdivision, have put more wear-and-tear on roads in the South Knoll Road Improvement District, like Chaparral Drive.
“This is going to fundamentally change our neighborhood. We don’t live outside of Laramie to live in an urban residential zone,” said Chad Hutchins, who lives near the intersection of City Ranch and Chaparral. “Ever since the gate was closed up at the Paddocks, there’s been noticeable increase in traffic on Chaparral.”