By John Colson
Sopris Sun Staff Writer
Ranchers and other residents of the area around Garfield County Road 102 on Missouri Heights have been concerned for years that developers might build a large subdivision of homes on the 562-acre Hunt Ranch (located at 893 CR 102).
But Garfield County’s 2008 rejection of a development plan, which proposed construction of 93 homes, appeared to cool the interest of developers. The proposal was submitted in the name of an entity known as Hunt Ranch LLC, by planning consultants JAM Development LLC, OTAK and DDA, Inc.
The property was bought last year by a man whose formal address is in Hawaii, according to county records, and who reportedly has assured his neighbors that he intends to keep things as they are.
According to records accessible at the Garfield County Assessor’s website, David Carswell, whose home address is given in the records as a post office box in Hanalei, Hawaii, bought the ranch at the end of last year for $4.1 million, reportedly in partnership with another man who lives in the Roaring Fork Valley region. Carswell reportedly also has long-time ties to the Roaring Fork Valley.
The ranch, according to the records, had gone into foreclosure in 2013, and Carswell’s 893 Hunt Ranch LLC finalized purchase of the property on Dec. 30, 2015.
Carswell, according to his neighbors, currently is out of the country and could not be reached for comment on his plans for the property.
But he reportedly has told more than one neighbor that he plans to build equestrian facilities, including an outdoor riding arena now under construction and a large barn that has yet to be built.
Tamra Allen, acting planning director for Garfield County, told The Sopris Sun in an e-mail that there has been no development plan submitted to the county since the 2008 residential proposal, and that she was unsure whether any kind of permits would be needed for the current redevelopment activity at Hunt Ranch.
If the building meets the county’s code definitions of a “riding stable,” Allen noted, the building activities would be deemed a “use by right” and would not require any permits.
Published in The Sopris Sun on July 14, 2016.