Citizens pushing for vote on Safeway take next step |

Citizens pushing for vote on Safeway take next step

SILVERTHORNE – A Silverthorne citizens group opposed to developing part of the Smith Ranch into a shopping center has taken another step toward bringing the project to a vote.

Silverthorne Advocates for Vote on Expansion (SAVE) is now registered with the town as a group, said SAVE spokesman Jim Shaw. The registration formalizes the group, allowing it to receive financial donations.

SAVE members fear the town council will approve the Safeway project, which includes a 65,000-square-foot grocery store and several smaller shops. It’s planned for 11 acres along Highway 9 that are part of the Smith Ranch. The ranch is now a picturesque meadow used as a horse pasture and is frequently visited by a herd of elk.

Denver shopping center developer Kornfeld-Koslosky Properties is under contract with the land owner to buy those 11 acres.

Shaw believes more Silverthorne residents may oppose the idea than support it, and he thinks town officials should see if that’s true before approving the plan. But if they don’t do so, he wants to lead the charge to create a citizen referendum.

SAVE members would have to collect the signatures of at least 5 percent of the town’s registered voters before the town would consider putting the question on a ballot. Even if they get the required number of signatures, Shaw said, there’s some doubt the town council would agree to let the people vote.

A potential snag is that the town’s charter doesn’t allow referendums on several issues, including the rezoning of property. The portion of the Smith Ranch on which the Safeway is proposed is now zoned agricultural. If council OKs the rezoning proposed along with the development, it would be zoned as a planned unit development. Because it’s a rezoning issue, the council doesn’t have to allow a referendum.

“It would be up to the town council whether to accept that petition or not,” Town Manager Kevin Batchelder said last month. “I would suspect they’d weigh in on the side of respecting it.”

Shaw’s group can’t take any action until – and if – the council gives the project final approval, a move that could come as soon as May 28.

Shaw, like Batchelder, believes the council might decide to let the citizens vote. And while he’ll push to get it there, Shaw said he’d rather the council make that decision themselves.

“The petition process is divisive,” he said. “I think they ought say, “This is controversial. Let’s refer it to the people.'”

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Now more than ever, your financial support is critical to help us keep our communities informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having on our residents and businesses. Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.

Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User