County Offices and Courts will be closed on Monday, February 15, 2016 in observance of the President's Day Holiday. The Landfill will be open. Critical services at Larimer County are not disrupted by closures.
Chapter 1 - The Planning Process
Chapter 2 - Our Changing Society
Chapter 3 - Economic Overview
Chapter 4 - Land Use
Chapter 5 - Mobility and Circulation
Chapter 6 - Purpose and Use of the Plan
Area 1 - The North End
Chapter 7 - Action Plan
Appendix I - Summary of Interviews
Planning Area 3 - Carriage Hills/Marys LakeENVIRONMENTAL CHARACTERISTICS
The Carriage Hills/Marys Lake Planning Area is geographically the largest planning area within the study area. It can generally be described as a low central valley with rolling topography surrounded on the west, south and east by rugged, steep hillsides. Fish Creek flows from south to north through the center of the planning area. As the creek flows north, the topography becomes more rolling, and groves of aspen give way to intermittent stands of pine and open meadow.
Marys Lake is the second largest body of water within the study area. The drainage below Marys Lake flows from west to east, draining into Fish Creek. This drainage forms the northern boundary of the study area.
There are open, rolling meadow areas around Marys Lake, interspersed with large rock formations, creating an unusual and spectacular landscape. The Crags and Twin Sisters are rugged rock outcroppings visible from most of the valley. On the eastern boundary of the planning area, The Finger is a very prominent rock outcrop. Kruger Rock is another prominent outcropping visible on the steep, heavily wooded mountainside to the east.
Wildlife is abundant within the entire planning area. The diverse topography and vegetation, combined with Fish Creek Drainage, create excellent wildlife habitat. Elk as well as deer can be found in the area on a year-round basis. During the summer months, the animals retreat to the higher elevations.
The entire planning area lies within one large viewshed. The large, open valley floor, surrounded to the west, south and east with high ridges, clearly defines the limits of the viewshed. The different vegetation types create a high quality visual setting. The valley floor, with its open, rolling topography, meadow areas, and interesting rock outcroppings, creates a wide diversity in the landscape which adds interest. Distant views to the major rock outcroppings and other points of visual interest further enhance the visual quality of the planning area.
EXISTING LAND USE SUMMARY
The entire planning area lies outside the Town limits of Estes Park. All development regulations, zoning, and other regulatory requirements currently fall under the authority of Larimer County. RMNP recently acquired the area which forms the southwestern boundary of the planning area including Lily Lake. The southwestern and eastern boundary of the planning area is bordered by Forest Service property. The primary use within the planning area is single-family residential development.
Other uses include Marys Lake Lodge and a commercial campground adjacent to Marys Lake. Lily Lake and the new Lily Lake Visitors Center are part of RMNP. Cheley Camp is a nationally recognized summer camp for children and young adults, and has been in the Valley since the early 1900s.
A large percentage of the valley floor is currently undeveloped. Depending
on specific design and uses, development within the open valley floor will
have major impacts on the physical setting of the Valley.
The Highway 7 corridor bisects the planning area. To the south, Highway 7 extends to Allenspark, and provides access to Lyons down the Middle St. Vrain Canyon. Highway 7 is part of the Peak-to-Peak Scenic By-way.
Fish Creek Road is the other main road within the planning area. Access control is a problem at the intersection of Fish Creek Road and US 36.
The Fish Creek corridor is a logical trail location as it connects Lake Estes to Marys Lake and Lily Lake. There is the potential to tie a trail from the Lily Lake Visitors Center down Aspen Brook, to Spur 66 and provide access to the RMNP. However, this proposed trail crosses several pieces of property in private ownership, so access must be secured.
Another potential trail link would connect Marys Lake to Fish Creek. The natural drainage that separates Planning Area 2 and Planning Area 3 could be a natural open space and trail link to create another looped trail segment.
Highway 7 at Lily Lake is a gateway into Estes Park, and an entry to RMNP. The National Park Service has built a visitors center there to relieve some of the congestion at the main visitors center.
Both the valley floor and hillsides are very sensitive. Due to the lack of vegetation on the valley floor, any development will have an impact on the visual quality of the area. There are few trees to screen development, and the multiple rock outcroppings found there are also visually sensitive to development. Development pressure will increase in the area around Marys Lake, including Marys Lake Lodge. The lodge has historic significance, as it was one of the early bus route stops which took visitors from Denver to Grand Lake, over Trail Ridge.
MARYS LAKE/CARRIAGE HILLS
The neighborhood guidelines listed below are unique to the Marys Lake/Carriage Hills sub-area and are intended to address the various issues of the Marys Lake area which were identified throughout the future land use process.
ML 1. Lighting should be kept to a minimum, and use cut-off fixtures.
ML 2. Develop comprehensive wildlife preservation standards.
ML 3. Identify site within the Marys Lake/Carriage Hills area as affordable housing for future development.
This planning area provides a transition between the core commercial and residential portions of the community and rural development within the County. It includes a variety of steeper slopes and key visual resources.
There are a number of water resources including Lily Lake, Marys Lake and associated drainageways. Development within the area should be sensitive to these resources and maintain the drainage corridors.
Also found in this area are key recreation and visitor facilities, such as the Lily Lake Visitor Center for RMNP, and a number of potential trail connections to the community and the Park.
The majority of this area is above the current water service elevation. As a result, there are only limited opportunities for small lot, affordable housing or accommodation uses. Marys Lake Lodge represents an innovative and affordable housing opportunity.
This planning area is adjacent to Rocky Mountain National Park, Forest
Service lands, and Bureau of Reclamation property. This combination of
property ownership and the range of unique environmental and scenic resources
help to support the use of this area as a transition from the more intensively
developed portions of the Valley.
Next chapter - Chapter
6-4 - Spur 66