Project could move forward after meeting two conditions
By: Jonathan Romeo, The Durango Herald
The U.S. Forest Service has dismissed objections raised over the Village at Wolf Creek and intends to give road access to the developer of the proposed project atop Wolf Creek Pass.
In July, the Forest Service announced it would grant Leavell-McCombs Joint Venture its long-desired road access to U.S. Highway 160, essentially paving the way for the resort, expected to be the size of Aspen.
Tamara Whittington, deputy regional forester for the Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Region, responded Monday to objections raised about the project. Acting as the reviewing officer of the objections, Whittington said the concerns raised were not valid.
She wrote that the Forest Service acted in accordance with federal law and regulations in issuing the developer road access.
“I find that the analysis in the project record supports the rationale contained in the draft (Record of Decision),” Whittington wrote. “Objectors’ suggested remedies are denied.”
Whittington did attach two conditions that must be met before the Village at Wolf Creek can move forward.
First, the Forest Service cannot issue a final Record of Decision until a “Biological Opinion” is received from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service about the Village at Wolf Creek’s potential impact to the threatened lynx.
Second, the Forest Service is not allowed to implement the new decision until the 2015 Record of Decision, which calls for a land swap, is undone.
Lawrence Lujan, spokesman for the Forest Service, said the agency expects a final decision in January 2019.
Lujan said about 900 letters were received in the objection period, but only 52 were valid objections.
“To object to a proposed project, citizens must have previously submitted timely, specific written comments during the specified public comment periods,” he said.
Read more at The Durango Herald.