OPINION: Gravel Pit Wars… Part Three

Read Part One

Weldon Creek is an upscale gated community situated between Highway 50 (main entrance) and the end of County Road 140.

Weldon Creek’s gated back entrance at the end of County Road 140. The Holman ranch entrance is just left (south).

Another view of Weldon Creek’s gated back entrance at the end of County Road 140

Thomas Smith is the developer of Weldon Creek. If you go to Weldon Creek’s website, you will learn that:

Weldon Creek is a 1,300 acre ROSI (Rural Open Space Initiative) property that maintains 1,000 acres of open space in a conservation easement.

There are 63 lots in the subdivision varying from 10 to 50 acres and priced from $105,000 to $295,000.

Weldon Creek has paved roads, a trail system and greenbelt running throughout, and is nearly surrounded by BLM and National Forest Land for easy access to recreation.

You can view a beautiful marketing video on their homepage.

Many of the parcels in the Weldon Creek subdivision are still in Mr. Smith’s name, including four parcels adjacent to (RB gravel pit applicants) Frank and Sherry Holman’s ranch.  Below is a graphic that appears in the Major Impact Review for Land Use Change Application:

I can imagine that Mr. Smith is not pleased that there is a proposed gravel pit adjacent to his upscale Weldon Creek subdivision property line. In fact, as I looked through over a hundred letters at the courthouse overwhelmingly opposed to the proposed RB gravel pit, I recall that there were letters from an attorney or attorneys representing Weldon Creek. There were letters from other attorneys as well representing other property owner’s interest in the area.

But sometimes reporting takes an unexpected turn, and such is the case here.

Salida Daily Post owner/editor Bill Hudson (also owner/editor of the widely read Pagosa Daily Post) gave me a call Monday evening after reading my opinion piece Gravel Pit Wars… Part One. He asked me if I recalled the gravel pit application at Stevens Lake that went before the Archuleta County Planning Commission in 2010? I did recall that.

Then he asked if I recalled who made that application? I did not.

It was Thomas H. Smith.

I verified that it was indeed the same Thomas H Smith of Kansas City that is the developer of Weldon Creek. Currently, Thomas Smith owns a total of 14 parcels in Archuleta County totaling 2,446 acres. Many of those parcels are adjacent to Stevens Lake.

Bill Hudson wrote extensively about this back in 2010, and sent me the link to his multi-part editorial Gravel Dust and Noise, Part One, which links to Part Two, and so on.

If you’re curious, you can read for yourself about Thomas Smith’s proposed gravel pit in Archuleta County back in 2010.

Read Part Four…

Cynda Green

Cynda Green is an investigative reporter who enjoys writing about various and sundry topics, least of which is politics. But someone has to do it. Contact: cyndagreen@gmail.com