In a major victory for Friends of Wolf Creek, State District Court Judge John Kuenhold on Oct. 13 2005 threw out Mineral County’s approval of the massive Village at Wolf Creek development. Kuenhold ruled that Mineral County’s “decision to abandon a requirement for meaningful year-round access was arbitrary and capricious”, and that they “misconstrued the state statute and the Mineral County Subdivision Regulations”. The judge also critically questioned Mineral County’s lack of public involvement, hurried process, and inattention to vital details. The ruling requires that the developer not only gain Forest Service approval for full year-round access, but obtain an access permit from the Colorado Department of Transportation – an agency that has thus far objected to the project’s major impacts to highway traffic and safety, not to mention the developer’s refusal to pay the cost of road upgrades.
Despite the developer’s claims in the media, rejection of Mineral County’s approval is no mere “speed bump”. Why else would they ask the judge for reconsideration of his decision? It will be a long, arduous, and very uncertain process for the developer to gain all of the approvals necessary for this massive development. Even with numerous impacts on local communities, traffic, wildlife, air quality, water quality, water supply, valley agriculture, and recreation likely, the developer wants the public to pay for highway upgrades needed to accommodate huge projected increases in traffic.
Unfortunately, at the direction of County attorney John Wilder, Mineral County continues to do the developers’ bidding. They too filed a motion for reconsideration, and even voted to appeal the judge’s decision should the motion for reconsideration fail, assumedly at the expense of their own taxpayers.
Unfortunately, Friends of Wolf Creek knows nothing of their deliberations, as they undertook all such discussion behind closed doors in executive session (barring the public).