Maryland Creek Ranch property in Silverthorne sees first round of changes | SummitDaily.com

Maryland Creek Ranch property in Silverthorne sees first round of changes

A month after dozens of Silverthorne residents spoke out against the South Maryland Creek Ranch proposal, the developer on Wednesday held an open house to show concerned neighbors why 240 units on 416 acres is a sterling opportunity for a town on the rise.

More than 50 residents attended the open house, one of four informational events held in the wake of public backlash at a March town council meeting. Developers and property owner Tom Everist have spent the past month connecting with county officials and community members to revise the development plan. The open house addressed just about every hot-button topic, from concerns over traffic delays and wildlife migration to impacts on nearby property values and the threat of urban sprawl.

The new plan still calls for triple the original number of units, which jumped from 83 in 2007 to 240 in 2014, when the developer found the demand for large, estate-style homes had declined after the 2008 economic crisis.

"The world has changed in 10 years," said Everist, owner of The Everist Company and operator of an industrial gravel pit on the SMCR property. "We went through a recession and hope we're coming out on the other side, but the market has changed. This isn't a bait and switch — it's a response to the reality of the current marketplace."

Based on community outreach, Everist and the development team found the majority of residents weren't concerned about the density itself at SMCR, but rather the impacts of higher density. The open house presenters compared it to other residential developments on the north end of town, including Smith Ranch with 309 units on 62 acres and Ox Bow Ranch with 130 units on 87 acres.

For neighbors at Ox Bow and Three Peaks, traffic is a major concern. SMCR will have two entrances, one off State Highway 9 and another on Game Trail Road, which also leads to Three Peaks. Developers relocated the highway entrance 1.4 miles closer to the town core. They will also install a security camera at the Game Trail Road entrance to control contractor traffic, although an entry gate is not off the table, despite backlash from the town.

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Neighbors are also worried about the effect a major development will have on property values. Thanks to a recovering economy, along with an increasingly tight housing market, Everist says the development could boost property values.

"Development 101 says that when a new development is marketing their homes, they draw people and buyers to the area," Everist said. At the moment, marketing studies show roughly 50 percent of SMCR homeowners will come from the Front Range, with the rest split nearly evenly between out-of-state buyers and relocating Summit County homeowners. The majority of units range from $550,000 to $625,000, with a select number of estate plots available for homes over $1 million.

For Summit County officials, the most pressing concern isn't the property itself, but an adjacent parcel of 640 acres to the north. Everist says his team has already drafted a covenant to protect the parcel from future development.

"I think the changes we've made based on getting out to the community have enhanced the project," Everist said. "We're excited. We think this will be the lowest density development in the town, and we've really met a lot of the concerns people had."

By the numbers: South Maryland Creek Ranch

The South Maryland Creek Ranch property has seen one major zoning change since it was annexed in 2005, and now developers are proposing another to triple the density. A look at how the project has changed following community backlash:

2001 to 2014

1 on 5 acres — rural density limit approved by town council in 2001

355 acres — size of SMCR parcel when annexed in 2005

71 units — number proposed by developer in 2005

416 acres — current size of SMCR parcel after addition of 61 acres in 2007

83 units — number proposed by developer in 2007

2015

240 units — number proposed by developer in March

300 percent — increase in units from 2007 to 2015

2 percent — increase in development area

22 percent — increase in built square footage

200 percent — increase in number of bedrooms

60 percent — proposed open space on SMCR parcel

1,550 to 3,500 square feet — unit size range

$550,000 to $625,000 — price range for majority of units

10 years — duration of proposed build out

$4.7 million — sales and property tax revenues generated during build out

$1.8 million — real estate transfer tax revenues generated per decade

Sources: Town of Silverthorne; South Maryland Creek Ranch.

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