Lincoln County’s Board of Commissioners rendered their final verdict on the contentious Shea Homes development at its meeting Monday night.
The board voted unanimously to approve the rezoning request with only a slight alteration to the plans previously submitted. Commissioners also unanimously approved the proposal to allot Shea Homes five years to complete residential building.
The Times-News previously reported that neighboring residential communities had expressed concerns about potential traffic problems and safety issues the development could bring, but Shea Homes has since made improvements to prevent excess traffic from developing as a result of the new community.
“This is the kind of development Lincoln County needs to truly take advantage of our infrastructure,” County Commissioner Carl Robinson said. “I don’t think people understand how this will benefit us 10 years from now. It’s going to put Lincoln County on the map.”
County Commissioner Chairman Alex Patton echoed Robinson’s approval of the retirement residential community.
“This is a big day for Lincoln County,” Patton said. “I am very excited for the opportunities this will bring to East Lincoln.”
The Lincoln County Planning Board voted 8-0 to recommend approval of the case.
County Commissioners held a heated debate regarding another East Lincoln project Monday night.
At their February meeting, County Manager Tracy Jackson had been instructed to explore methods the county could potentially use to assist in the funding of Phase One of Rescue Squad Park in Denver. At this month’s meeting, Jackson stated that at this time, he was unable to identify a way to give funding to the park, based on this year’s budget.
According to Jackson, the bidding process for the first phase of the park opened in January, and they were higher than anticipated. Because of this, the county would have to give a significant amount more than the $150,000 previously budgeted this year for the project.
County Commissioner James Klein proposed relocating the construction of the multipurpose building to a later phase of the park’s development, but Jackson explained that the building could not be removed from the bid because the cost of the building is such a significant portion of the bid itself.
Klein then asked Jackson if he would have a better picture of next year’s budget by April. Jackson stated that while it was possible, he was not optimistic.
County Commissioner Carroll Mitchem disagreed with approving additional county funding into the park.
“We’re committed to both Denver’s Rescue Squad Park and the East Lincoln Community Center,” Mitchem argued. “But, we have a problem if we can’t take care of what we’ve already committed to for years and years. We need to help our other parks.”
Mitchem then submitted a motion to limit the county’s contribution to the $150,000 previously allocated and to not consider any more monetary contributions until next year’s budget. After Mitchem’s motion failed 4-1, Klein made a motion to delay a final decision on the park until the mid-April County Commissioner meeting. Klein’s motion was approved 4-1, with Mitchem in opposition.
Public Works Director Don Chamblee said he would also look into cutting back on certain items listed in the first phase of the park to reduce the additional funding costs.
During their closed session, county commissioners unanimously decided to approve a contract with Denver Construction regarding the construction of a shell building in Airlie Park on the condition that the decision is subject to final negotiation with the construction company.