During its June 25 meeting, Highland City Council approved a one-year extension of the tentative tract map and conditional use permit for the planned 46 single-family Highland Park development on Base Line east of Club View Drive.
The extension set a Nov. 1 deadline for the developer, Mastercraft Homes, to compete demolition and cleanup of the 7.6-acre site.
Mastercraft plans to build 46 single-family homes, two landscaped lots and a neighborhood park on the property.
The site’s unkempt condition during the three years since the tract map and permit were first issued in June 2016 led the Planning Commission to recommend that the City Council deny the extension request.
The property has a large abandoned home, several dilapidated storage buildings, downed trees and, at times, significant weed growth. At its June 4 meeting, the Planning Commission, expressed dissatisfaction and lack of faith that the property would be maintained any better if the extension was granted.
Ray Dorame of Mastercraft Homes told the City Council on June 25 that he understands the commission’s position and that Master Craft has been attempting to demolish the structures for the two years.
Mastercraft has already pulled the hazardous materials from the buildings and was attempting to work with the fire department to burn the structures down in firefighter training. Due to environmental difficulties, that plan was abandoned and permits for conventional demolition have been obtained. Mastercraft is now reviewing bids for demolition, Dorame said. He expects demolitions to begin in about a month.
Within the one-year extension, Mastercraft plans to continue processing the improvement plans, begin grading and complete recording of the tract map. It will take two to two-and-a-half years to develop the property, Dorame said.
According to Dorame, market conditions and a lack of investors delayed the project, but Mastercraft now plans to fund the project itself and is the process of securing a loan.
East Highlands Ranch General Manager Gary Leopold and Fred Yauger, of East Highlands Ranch Board of Directors, east spoke in favor of the project and anticipation to see the long derelict property developed.
“I was very puzzled by the Planning Commission’s actions. By punishing the developer it’s punishing us because we’re then left to live with that on an indefinite basis,” Leopold said.
“I’ve been in the area over 30 years. I’ve watched this property deteriorate long before the project was approved. When I heard the extension was not granted by the Planning Commission I was very much surprised,” Yauger said. “In my opinion we have a developer, builder who is committed to cleaning up the property. I’ve seen some tangible change already. Turning this down is not going to help the developer, the residents, the people looking to buy homes and certainly not the city.”