Celestial Views, and The Villagers Too!
Angelview at Twin Lakes: Revisited
By Kathy Bedell © Leadville Today
The Praying Angel of Twin Lakes. For many, this naturally created feature in southern Lake County is sacred, especially when its quaking leaves turn golden, revealing its full celestial glory. This arboreal-shaped angel that faces east, hands offered up in prayer, has been watching over southern Lake County for decades providing countless reflective moments with just as many likes on social media.
However, during the October 19 Friends of Twin Lakes (FTL) meeting, that same view had a different perspective as representatives from the proposed Angleview at Twin Lakes (ATL) presented a revised plan of their development. And while it wasn’t quite the same torch-yielding mob scene from the 1931 Halloween classic “Frankenstein,” the gathering did leave a fuel-for-the-fire scent that’s likely to drift into their next public meeting slated for some time in November.
During the nearly one-hour presentation, developer and ATL owner of the 70-acre parcel Alan Elias squared off with the villagers of Twin Lakes. Also presenting with the ATL team was Leadville landscape architect Craig Schreiber.
In attendance at the regular FTL meeting were about 20 people, none of whom were elected officials nor associates with the Lake County Building and Land Use Department. In addition, at least two people teleconferenced into the meeting. The ATL presentation got off to a rocky start with the villagers prepared to take on the new narrative from the get-go. But Elias and his team pressed on, being mindful of the 20 minutes the Friends had allotted for their presentation. However, the video presentation and supplemental data provided by Elias and Schreiber only seemed to fan the embers.
“If I make a mistake, and cut down trees, let’s talk about it,” Elias offered during several hat-in-his-hand moments at the meeting of the minds in southern Lake County.
“Yeah, but you take action first and then want to talk about it,” stated one Twin Lakes resident. “Let’s talk first before you start cutting down trees.” But if reports of bull-dozed trees and roads in the historic wetlands area weren’t disconcerting enough, the charge of disappearing ponds was certainly one-for-the-books and is addressed in the following LT video which includes the entire presentation.
“There used to be a pond in that area, adjacent to my property, and for some reason, it’s disappeared,” revealed one Twin Lakes Villager. So grab the popcorn and pull up a chair!
Angelview at Twin Lakes
For readers unfamiliar with the Angelveiw at Twin Lakes property, developer Alan Elias describes a visit in 2007 before purchasing the 70-acre parcel which is situated above Highway 82, across from the beaver ponds located at the west end of the two glacial bodies of water. As told in the LT video, Elias describes promising his wife and children that he would build their dream home on what he now refers to as Promise Rock, a granite outcropping on the property.
But for generations of residents and visitors, the area is known for its historic wildlife migration, its pristine, one-of-a-kind wetlands that feed the glacial lakes, and of course, its million-dollar views of The Praying Angel of Twin Lakes. The entire area has been somewhat of a hidden gem, especially as the state undergoes another Boom rush. But what was once a bright and shiny welcome mat has now faded into a growing last-one-in-close-the-gate mentality in Lake County. At the FTL meeting, one villager went so far as to state that she wasn’t getting that “warm and fuzzy feeling” from the developer.
But Elias wasn’t afraid to push back, at one point stating that the October 19 presentation was a mere courtesy. The scales tipped even further when an adjacent property owner to the proposed development who had called into the meeting – from Switzerland, no less – stated quite confidently: “The bottom line is that land will be developed. If it’s not developed by Alan, it will be developed by somebody else. And I really personally think that Alan is gonna do a good job with that and he’s going to protect the land and not destroy it. Or we could see things go the other way, where we see a big company that goes in there and basically rips all the trees down and throws in 100 condos. I support Alan and Dawn in what they are doing and I think that they are going to do a good job.”
The new plan calls for 15, three-acre site which will create a 77% open space development, according to the project’s land planner Craig Schreiber. The revised plan went from an original 78 homes, down to 24, and now finally “no more than 12” will be formally presented to Land Use agents sometime next month (Nov 2019).
“We made some mistakes in not honoring the property” Elias stated quite frankly as he passed around the design concept from last year which called for 78 homes, a self-described “ huge mistake.” But the follow-up statement was just as telling to those in attendance.
“We paid attention to the land. We paid attention to the community. We paid attention to the county,” stated Elias, adding a solid vote of confidence in his land planner. “Craig has the ability to just let the land speak to him.”
But for locals, the development’s website images of helicopters swooshing into Angelview allowing residents the use of their Luxurious Eurocopter are hard to forget. And the October 19 presentation could very well have opened a new can of worms as the meeting’s discussion turned to details about home size and construction, once again the narrative not quite meeting up with the website’s images.
“I think we have an opportunity as developers to set the pace or the standard for mountain communities, so that’s what we’re doing,” said Elias.“We’re not going to make everybody happy.”
Alas, so true. But “it takes a village,” too!
Colorado Journalist Kathy Bedell owns The Great Pumpkin, a media company located in Leadville, Colorado which publishes LeadvilleToday.com and Saguache Today.com. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Voice Your Opinion
Readers may voice their opinions to the following county officials and let them know you would like to be apprised of any updates or upcoming public meetings concerning the development:
- Paul Clarkson, Director of Lake County Building and Land Use. Email: email@example.com. Phone: 719-486-2875.
- Lake County Commissioner for District Three (Twin Lakes) Kayla Marcella. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Phone: 719-486-4102
- The Friends of Twin Lakes may be reached at email@example.com or follow them on the Visit Twin Lakes Facebook Page.
- For more information on Angelview at Twin Lakes, readers may check out their website.
Colorado Journalist Kathy Bedell owns The Great Pumpkin, a media company located in Leadville, Colorado which publishes LeadvilleToday.com and Saguache Today.com. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.