<B>By JACKIE SANCHEZ</B>
Ten months of neighborhood consen-sus building culminated with the Aug. 25groundbreaking at Stratton Preserve, a luxury gated community in southwestColorado Springs.
In the process of getting approval for Stratton Preserve, Schuck Communities,a local neighborhood developer, consulted with the Skyway Homeowners’Association.
"This is a model for the way development should occur," said community activistand Skyway Homeowners’ Association board member Vivian Darden. "It showsthat developers and citizens can work together and iron out differences andconcerns."
Darden said Schuck involved neighborhood representatives long before planningever began.
"They [Schuck Communities] asked our opinion and listened to what we said.If something wasn’t viable (from a business standpoint), we talked andcompromised," she said. "They [Schuck Communities] understood thecommunity’s position and honored it so we could come to completion for bothsides."
Darden said the homeowners’ association was concerned that the area cannothandle huge amounts of growth. Cresta Road cannot be expanded. Stratton Preserveand the school district will add 3,000 road trips daily.
To broaden citizen input, the Skyway Homeowners’ Association held meetingswith adjacent homeowners and invited the 1,300 households in the three Skywayneighborhoods to review Schuck’s initial plan.
Based on peoples’ response and suggestions, Schuck made minor adjustments,such as moving the location of the public trail at an adjacent propertyowner’s request.
As a result, area residents publicly supported Schuck’s plan for StrattonPreserve, Darden said, because it reduced the original master plan’s densityby almost two-thirds; preserved the visual openness of the pasture area;created estate size lots of 1 to 3 acres for 31 custom homes; preserved treesnormally lost in the development process; created public street and trailaccess between the estate homes and 27 clustered village homes; and maintainedthe integrity and privacy of surrounding neighborhoods.
Just as Darden sees Stratton Preserve as a model for development —citizen consensus building — Schuck Communities President Bill Schucksees it as an opportunity to introduce new, higher design standards intothe Colorado Springs area.
Stratton Preserve is planned to be an environmentally friendly, luxury homecommunity.
"Streets will drain naturally with native landscaping, not concrete. Largesections of each lot will remain untouched. Detached cottages may accompanysome estate homes. And the concierge service will be something never-beforeexperienced in Colorado Springs," Schuck said. "Quality is the watchwordfor this entire neighborhood."
The desire for quality spurred Schuck to handpick long-time, local customhome builders Larry Nichols and Claude Comito as Stratton Preserve’s exclusivebuilders. Nichols and Comito, the new joint-venture company created for thisproject, will break ground on its first estate home by October.
Schuck closed on the 75-acre parcel, located west of Cresta Road betweenConstellation Drive and Cheyenne Boulevard, Aug. 23 but declined to disclosethe amount paid to the Myron Stratton Home.