Open house for ‘Village’ scoping process

A new public scoping process has begun for the Village at Wolf Creek — the Wolf Creek Access Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) — and Pagosa Springs area residents can attend an open house-style meeting tonight at 5 p.m. in the Pagosa Springs Community Center.

The scoping and analysis processes are a response to an application from Leavell-McCombs Joint Venture seeking transportation and utility corridors across National Forest System lands to their private property slated for construction of the controversial project.

The new application and initiation of a new environmental analysis process are the result of a legal settlement involving Colorado Wild, the San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council, the Forest Service and village developers — Leavell-McCombs Joint Venture.

The groups sued the Forest Service in October 2006, challenging the agency’s decision to authorize construction of two access roads across public land for the purpose of building a 10,000 person village adjacent to Wolf Creek Ski Area.

In the suit, the groups said the environmental impact statement (EIS) authorizing the roads was fundamentally flawed because it focused almost exclusively on the impact of the access roads and not the village as a whole. In the settlement, the Forest Service and developers agreed to undertake a fresh EIS, hence the recent application submittal.

Public input concerning the proposal helps the Forest Service to identify issues and develop alternatives to be analyzed in the EIS.

Information about the EIS can be found at: www.fs.fed.us/r2/riogrande/projects/forcomment/index.

Although previously proposed as a 10,000 person village on a 287.5 acre parcel atop Wolf Creek Pass and adjacent to the Wolf Creek Ski area, the developer has indicated a willingness to scale back those plans. However, it remains unclear what a modified village plan might look like.

james@pagosasun.com