County OKs delay of plan for Gateway project

This area has been designated for homes to be built in Gateway.

Developers planning to build high-end homes and residential neighborhoods on more than 400 acres east of Gateway Canyons Resort recently received roughly seven years’ worth of breathing room, gaining a lengthy extension from Mesa County commissioners to submit a final plan for the project.

A concept plan for the Experius Community at Gateway — an idea put forth by the development company of Discovery Channel founder John Hendricks, owner of Gateway Canyons Resort — was approved by the county in June 2010.

According to the county’s land development code, the concept plan would lapse if a complete final plan is not submitted within a year of the date of approval. An 18-month extension was granted in 2011, to stave off the initial drop-dead date, but developers now have a full seven years to file their final plan.

A depressed economy and lack of a real estate recovery seem to be to blame.

“There is no market for second, vacation homes in Gateway at this time,” the developers said in applying for the latest extension.

The Experius project plans homes, hotels, clubhouses and other amenities on 416 acres that straddle the Dolores River, just east of the current resort facilities.

Developers have carved out land for 340 homes, a 40,000-square-foot boutique hotel or lodge and a 60,000-square-foot clubhouse or recreation center. Housing types planned include 129 single-family estate lots, 71 cabins or casitas, and 140 units that are a mix of patio homes, cabins, duplexes and townhomes.

Other amenities discussed include an observatory, a greenhouse, a winery and a library or art studio.

Planners designated two distinct neighborhoods on either side of the Dolores River, to be built in different phases, and development is approved for seven phases over 30 years.

If all were built as planned, the Gateway Canyons Resort area would more than triple in size with the addition of Experius.

Also included in the extension granted last week were new plans for a five-stand outdoor shooting range on the far east side of the development property. The range that’s planned will be for the recreational use of shotguns and sporting clays, developers said. Shooters would fire into a canyon, away from Colorado Highway 141.

While not planned as a public shooting range, it will be available to guests of the resort, who will be shuttled to the site. It’s not clear when construction will begin on the new shooting range.

“We really don’t have enough opportunity for trap and skeet shooting here in the area,” said Commissioner Steve Acquafresca, in supporting the shooting range portion of the proposed project.


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