BOCC hears Wildernest road plan
summit daily news
Summit County, CO Colorado
SUMMIT COUNTY ” Prospects for a road connection between Wildernest and the Dillon Dam Road will hinge on whether there is support from residents in the subdivision above Silverthorne.
County commissioners heard the latest proposal for the new road during a work session Tuesday, then told the proponents that the only way to fund construction would be through the formation of a voter-approved improvement district. The first step in that direction would be to measure interest with a survey of property owners.
“If the folks don’t want it, we don’t want to force it on them,” said Commissioner Tom Long. “I don’t know if we’re willing to fund a study if Silverthorne is in opposition. I can tell you, this probably isn’t going to be non-controversial,” he added.
Local engineering consultant Gray Pearson and restaurateur Bobby Starekow outlined their vision for the extension of Buffalo Drive in a southerly direction, to cross I-70 and join the Dam Road somewhere near Heaton Bay. Pearson said the stretch could probably be built for about $5 to $6 million.
Starekow asked the county to at least ante up some funds for more studies, including detailed topo maps and new aerial photography. The two men touted the road as a public safety benefit, providing improved egress in case of a wildfire in the area. Other benefits could include easing congestion at the Ryan Gulch Road and Highway 9 intersection in Silverthorne, they said.
The commissioners were hesitant to commit any funds until they see that there is support from residents of the area and adjacent communities.
Buffalo Mountain Metro District Manager Gary Drescher said that, during the last go-round, in 2003, the plan spurred significant opposition.
“I’ve never received more e-mails and calls in 25 years … I’m not sure there’s been much change in the thinking of Wildernest property owners since then,” Drescher said.
Pearson and Starekow said the local school district, law enforcement agencies and emergency responders have all voiced support for the concept of improving access and egress from the area.
A handful of property owners and residents of the area showed up to hear the discussion, although no comment was taken at the work session. Most of them said they are not in support of a new road.
Drescher, speaking as a resident of the area, asked if the county could explore other, “less expensive and less destructive” alternatives to address the fire issue.
“Is there some way to work with the Forest Service to create some other emergency egress?” he asked.
As a next step, Starekow and Pearson may pitch their idea to the Buffalo Metro District, as well as to the Silverthorne and Frisco town councils.
Bob Berwyn can be reached at (970) 331-5996, or at email@example.com.
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