GREEN MOUNTAIN FALLS • A vocal contingent of around 200 Ute Pass residents greeted the developers of the Bonsai Village project with a resounding “boo! Sunday afternoon at the Sallie Bush Community Building.
The meeting was meant to be a friendly get-together between developers and interested neighborhood residents, but it turned combative.
The problem is Life Size Tiny Communities’ proposed development for up to 200 cottages on 29.5 acres at 9620 Chipita Park Road in Chipita Park. The property, which includes an existing house, is listed for $ 1 million by Dena Bauer. According to the real estate website Zillow.com, there is a pending offer on the property.
According to a report from the Land Title Guarantee Company, there is a 30-year mortgage on the house on the property, which is owned by Bauer, who got the loan in 2003. Along with the loan, Bauer has a revolving line of credit with ENT Federal Credit Union for up to $ 100,000. According to the report, both loans are due on a transfer of ownership, unless lenders give permission in advance.
On the Life Size Tiny Communities website, Bonsai Village’s proposal is in the “pre-development” stage. The small houses in the “Bring Your Own Home” development would be on concrete slabs and would have water, sewage and electricity. The potential owners would buy the small houses and move them to the site leased from Life Size.
According to the developer’s website, there will also be a community center on the property, and leases for the blocks will be in the range of $ 650 to $ 850 per month. They cite an opening slated for fall 2022.
“I’m totally against it,” said Alex Dippel, a resident of Green Mountain Falls, speaking ahead of Sunday’s meeting. If approved, he said, the development would be a commercial enterprise in a residential area with an estimated monthly income of $ 130,000 per month for the developers.
The developers opened the meeting with a theme. “Mini-homes are new, achievable homes that Green Mountain Falls and the whole country need,” said Joe Callantine, general manager of Littleton-based Life Size Tiny Communities.
With a median price of a home in Colorado at $ 500,000, mini-homes are meant to combat rising housing costs, he added.
Callantine and Kevin Andrew, the company’s CFO, had prepared a video presentation that will be followed by development panel discussions.
But those in attendance weren’t in the mood for either, prompting questions about the proposal.
Callantine continued, “We can’t just put our little homes where we want. El Paso County was ready to work with us. We think Green Mountain Falls, Chipita Park, and Cascade would be the perfect place for tiny homes.
Before going ahead on the project, however, developers must secure a zoning change from RT, single-family residential on a minimum of five acres, to RVP, RV / mobile home fleet.
“It’s a trailer park, a motorhome ghetto,” a man shouted from the back of the room.
Development depends on the approval of the county planning commission and the county commissioners’ council after several public hearings. El Paso County Commissioner Stan VanderWerf represents the region on the board of directors.
The meeting was noisy, with people demanding answers to concerns about sewers, water and traffic. In an area hit hard by the 2012 Waldo Canyon fire, a woman wanted to hear about evacuation plans from developers in case another fire broke out in the area. Her question was unanswered.
Throughout the meeting, two reserve officers from Marshal’s office in Green Mountain Falls stood by.
In the audience, Tom Martin said he hired a real estate lawyer. “How are you going to pay me back when I lose $ 200,000 in the value of my house?” ” he said.
“Homes easily lose 20-25% of their value here,” said Chris Clark, broker / owner of Pikes Peak Homes and Land.
“I have already lost a potential buyer,” said Clark, referring to a house he put up for sale on Chipita Park Road. “This proposal is unlikely to ever be approved, but the damage is already done. “
In the audience, the parent of a kindergarten student raised concerns about the potential for an influx of students to Ute Pass Elementary School, which is adjacent to the mini-houses. “There is a kindergarten teacher at the school,” he said.
When CFO Andrew tried to tone it down, the effort backfired. “Joe (Callentine) is actually going to be living in the community,” he said, referring to Callantine’s little house already parked on the property.
“We are calling the code enforcement tomorrow,” said a male audience member.
Before proceeding with the development approval process, Life Size Tiny Communities is seeking to raise up to $ 1,070,000 from investors to start the project, including $ 38,500 secured, according to the company’s website.
“Currently, we have over 80 people who have expressed interest in our first community. People are ready to move into Bonsai Village, ”the website says.