On April 10th, the County Planning Commission will review the Preliminary Plat for Byers Peak Ranch Filing 1. Located on 12.7 acres of the 25.5 acre plat just west of the Town of Fraser, the submission outlines plans to develop a community of 123 micro-cottages (more commonly referred to as “tiny homes”). The remaining 12.8 acres of the plat has been divided into 3 future development parcels not included in this initial filing.

According to the applicant, Byers Peak Ranch, LLC, “Micro-Cottage communities have been growing in popularity around the country. Younger generations are moving away from expensive large homes into smaller spaces that meet their basic needs while being affordable. Grand County, just like many other mountain communities, is struggling to provide workforce housing locally. These neighborhoods have proven to help bridge the housing gap”.

A sketch plan for the proposed project was presented and approved by the Planning Commission and County Commissioners in 2018. While the concept and design was well received, concerns expressed during the hearings were related to construction traffic through Fraser, homes accessing directly off Mill Avenue, and drainage impacts along Mill Avenue. The proposed plan submitted addresses the concerns by shifting the project south to allow for drainage and no longer access homes off Mill Avenue. A second road from the south, off Fraser Valley Parkway, has been added to accommodate construction traffic.

The plans show a density of 9.7 dwelling units per acre. The homes will have an average footprint of 12’ x 40’, a 16’ x 20’ driveway, attached single car garage and a generous porch for outdoor living. There is also extensive open space covering about 31% of the site. According to the applicant, potential amenities could include include lawn, community gardens, fire pit, pavilion, grilling stations, lawn games, dog facilities and trails.

The Fraser Board of Trustees discussed the project at Wednesday night’s meeting in order to provide comments, if any, to the Planning Commission prior to the April 10th meeting. During discussion, a variety of topics came up, including whether the homes would be owner-occupied workforce housing (vs. open market/short-term rental investor), affordable, accessibility via Norgren Drive and Leonard Lane, construction traffic through Old Town Fraser, additional parking for visitors, lot purchase/owner build and voluntary annexation to the town. Some concerns had full agreement from the trustees and others fell short of moving on. The trustees unanimously agreed that an updated traffic study should be completed, since the analysis submitted by the applicant had been conducted in 2011 and was not reflective of current growth.

Town Manager, Jeff Durbin, told the trustees he would submit a letter with the trustees’ comments on the project to the Planning Commission prior to next Wednesday’s meeting.

While still in the preliminary stage, once approved by the County Planning Commission, the development looks like it could be a step forward to solving the local workforce housing conundrum.