Los Leones is a proposed, full-amenity development in Southern Colorado of approximately 1000 acres, which could yield between 500 and 1000 lots.
After our work from about 1996-2001 and then with T.C. from about 2001-2005, the status in the spring of 2005 is as follows (text taken from marketing literature we had developed at that time).
Los Leones is a proposed, full-amenity development in Southern Colorado of approximately 1000 acres, which could yield between 500 and 1000 lots. (Dear Reader, please bookmark those numbers.)
The property is an ideal location for retirement or second homes. The opportunity for a local market also exists. This property boasts excellent features, such as:
- Views of the Wet Mountains, the Sangre de Cristos, and the San Juans make it aesthetically appealing.
- At an elevation of 6100 feet, the climate is considered “high desert,” and is generally dry and comfortable year-round.
- The subject property is nicely undulated, providing pleasant natural variation for future lots. Natural vegetation includes scrub cedar, scrub oak, piñon, juniper, and several varieties of cacti.
- The cost of living is lower than in Denver or Santa Fe, and yet is within reasonable driving distance of both metro areas.
- While there are many so-called “subdivisions” in southern Colorado, the majority of them are merely large tracts that have been subdivided into 35-acre sites, with electricity pulled to the lot-line, gravel roads and no other improvements. Buyers must drill their own wells and build their own homes. While this may be attractive to a certain buyer, many people looking for retirement or second homes want more amenities, a guarantee of water, and do not want to deal with building their own home.
The subject property has some other inherent benefits:
- It straddles Exit 49 on I-25, providing easy access and some developable (and potentially profitable) commercial acreage.
- It is bisected by a single, well-maintained county road.
- A transferable water/sewer agreement with the City of Walsenburg for the first 41 lots has already been consummated.
- The development is close to the City of Walsenburg (it has a contiguous border with the City), which is also the County seat, providing easy access to merchants and governmental entities.
- There is a regional medical facility nearby.
- There is a State Veteran’s nursing home nearby.
- The existing art community (an arts council, theater, and writing group) is healthy, active, and growing.
In summary, the proposed Los Leones development has much to offer to the local community, to future homeowners, and to interested developers.
Initial planning for the development has been done with the county, with the first two filings approved and the third one in process. A cordial relationship exists with the county commissioners, the county planner, and the zoning enforcement officer/building inspector. In addition, we have a water/sewer agreement with the City for the first two filings.
- Filing 1 consists of 50.046 acres and was designed to allow the completion of two single-family residences in the County prior to obtaining a change in zoning allowing smaller lots.
- Lot 1 of Filing 1 of Los Leones Subdivision contains 3.952 acres of land and there is already a single-family residence on it.
- Lot 2 of Filing 1 contains 4.456 acres of land and has a single-family residence on it.
- Tract A of Filing 1 contains 30.568 acres of land that has been rezoned from A, Agricultural, to UR, Urbanizing Residential, under the 1999 Edition of the Huerfano County Land Development Guide. Tract A is included in the subject property and will eventually have to be re-subdivided according to future development plans.
- Filing 2 of Los Leones Subdivision in its final approved form consists of 22.806 acres upon which 41 single-family lots are located. Filing 2 has also been rezoned from A, Agricultural, to UR, Urbanizing Residential, under the 1999 Edition of the Huerfano County Land Development Guide.
The land lies adjacent to the south City boundary of the home-rule City of Walsenburg, Colorado. Walsenburg is approximately 43 miles south of Pueblo, Colorado, and approximately the same distance north of Trinidad, Colorado.
The land is bisected from north to south by a county-maintained gravel road designated as County Road 330 (also known as Ideal Road).
The land lies a few hundred feet south of State Highway 160, and to the west of Interstate 25, and actually spans Interstate 25 at Exit 49 (the intersection of State Highway 160 and Interstate 25), an excellent advantage providing for approximately seven-to-twelve acres of commercial development on the east side of Interstate 25.
In addition, a frontage road runs parallel to Interstate 25 (on the west side of the interstate) for several hundred yards along the entire length of the easterly boundary of the property.
According to the recent land surveys, the available land for development amounts to 992.036 acres in total. For ease in discussions, presentations, and proposals we refer to the project as a 1000-acre development.
County undermining maps indicate no mining or mines have ever existed upon the property. (Readers, this is significant in this area.)
Zoning of the property was originally A, Agricultural District, under the 1999 Edition of the Huerfano County Land Development Guide. However, Los Leones Filing 1, Lot 3 and Tract A, included in the subject property, and all of Filing 2 have been rezoned to UR, Urbanizing Residential District, pursuant to the Land Development Guide. Urbanizing Residential District requires:
- Minimum district size: 10 acres
- Minimum lot area: 6,250 square feet
- Minimum lot width: 50 feet
- Front yard setback: 20 feet
- Side yard setback: 7.5 feet for walls and 5 feet for building projections
- Rear yard setback: 25 feet
- Maximum building height: 45 feet
- Minimum dwelling size: 600 square feet
- Maximum lot coverage: 50 %.
Two-family dwellings are allowed by right in this zone, and multiple family dwellings, commercial businesses and office buildings are allowed as conditional uses.
Natural gas and electricity exist upon the property, and several easements have been granted for these improvements and improvement surveys completed.
And finally, as a result of all our projections, we thought we were looking at approximately $13 million in total profits for the first 200 lots per year over five years (or possibly more). I tried to insert one of the charts here, and it didn't reproduce well -- and the details don't matter. But please understand that this was a legitimate subdivision of great value.
In conclusion, from reading a description of the amazing natural benefits of the land, the improvements we had made, the plans for a beautiful and affordable amenitized community, and projections of our future profits, you can see why we were wildly enthusiastic about the project. And the above marketing material was written in 2005 – just before we had ever heard of a conservation easement. © Sharon Cairns Mann