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Commissioners OK more homes on Bear Mountain

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By Vicky Gits

The Jefferson County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday voted against the wishes of some Bear Mountain Vista homeowners and voted 2-1 in favor of re-subdividing a large lot into four lots for four more potential homes. The homeowners group, spearheaded by Margaret Cross, had argued that the number of homes in the subdivision already exceeded the legal number for a cul-de-sac. In voting against the proposal, Commissioner Kathy Hartman cited the fire emergency that erupted in Southern California over the weekend. “People have made a number of judgment calls,” Hartman said. “The planning staff deferred to the wisdom of the fire authority. The planning commission recommended denial. Two previous boards recommended denial. It’s impossible for me to ignore that 500,000 have been evacuated in California in an area within sight of the Pacific Ocean. The proposal asks for more homes in an area that already is 75 over the limit. It doesn’t seem like one 20,000-gallon cistern would be enough to offset the risk.” Commissioner Jim Congrove said he had seen the site and understood the mitigating circumstances and voted yes. Kevin McCasky also voted in favor, saying the addition of a 20,000-gallon cistern will benefit the entire community’s firefighting ability and outweighed the negative impact of two more homes.