Third resort planned for Crook County

By Rachael Scarborough King / The Bulletin
Published: November 03. 2006 5:00AM PST

A development company has filed an application to build a third destination resort in the Powell Butte area of Crook County.

So far, 7,100 acres are spoken for out of 38,000 total mapped for resort use.

Pahlisch Homes, a Bend-based development company, filed its preliminary application in August with the Crook County Planning Department, said Brian Bergler, vice president of corporate communications for Pahlisch. The preliminary plans call for 2,450 single-family homes and 1,225 overnight rental units on a 3,243-acre parcel between Alfalfa and Powell Butte.

Pahlisch has also chosen a name for the resort, Hidden Canyon.

At the same time, Winchester Development Co., which is based in La Quinta, Calif., is already through two public hearings on its planned destination resort, Remington Ranch, north of state Highway 126. Another hearing is scheduled for Nov. 8, and the planning commission may make a decision on the application then, Planning Director Bill Zelenka said.

And a third resort, Brasada Ranch, has already sold about 300 home sites and started construction on nine houses. Steve Cartmill, general manager of Brasada Ranch, said the resort will eventually have about 900 units on 1,800 acres and added that he expects the first families to arrive in early spring. The resort is located east of the Powell Butte Highway.

Remington Ranch’s plans call for 800 single-family residences and 400 overnight units, plus three golf courses and a system of walking and biking trails.

Its 2,079-acre property is located northwest of Powell Butte.

“We’re very happy with Crook County, we spent a lot of time looking for property and the property we ultimately landed on is a great fit for us and our development philosophy,” said Chris Pippin, vice president for Winchester Development. “It’s a great location and a great community, we actually like being tied to Prineville as well as Bend.”

Crook County mapped out a destination resort overlay zone about four years ago on 38,000 acres in the western area of the county that had been mostly zoned for farm use but eligible for resort development. According to the Crook County code, destination resorts must maintain a ratio of 2:1 for residential to overnight lodging units, and set aside land for recreational facilities.

When Brasada Ranch was in the initial phase of public hearings, several local residents raised concerns about the resort and filed appeals with the county and state to block development.

But Zelenka said that resort opposition seems to have died down and no one spoke out against Remington Ranch at either of its first two public hearings. Pippin of Winchester Development said he thinks people have become more used to the idea of resorts in the Powell Butte area.

“I do think Brasada has done a good job of paving the way, if you will, for other destination resorts, especially in Crook County. But I also think it speaks to the strength of our application and to the amount of time and energy and dollars we’ve spent on doing expert reports and getting this application to what it is today,” Pippin said.

Dealing with the Remington Ranch and Hidden Canyon applications back to back has created a lot of paperwork for the planning department, Zelenka said.

“It’s a big deal … it does stretch us thin,” Zelenka said.

The next step for Remington Ranch would be to get approval of its master plan by the planning commission, said Judge Scott Cooper, of the Crook County Court. It would then have to submit individual phase plans. Cooper added that the first public hearing for Pahlisch’s development, Hidden Canyon, will probably be held early next year.

Cooper said he doesn’t know of any other definite plans for more resorts. Last year, two Bend developers bought about 3,000 acres of land on the east side of Powell Butte near George Millican Road, some of which would be eligible for destination resort development.

“I hear lots of things in the wind, but there’s a lot of property changing hands out there so I don’t really know who ultimately would be filing those (applications),” Cooper said. “If the market stays solid for the ones that are already under development or in the pre-development phase then I suspect we’ll continue to receive applications trickling in until we’ve saturated the market.”

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