Developer takes second swing at Silverthorne apartments with revised design
January 7, 2018
The developer of a proposed apartment complex in downtown Silverthorne has scaled back the project after town council all but rejected his initial designs last month.
With changes made, Tom Ethington of Pinnacle Real Estate Advisors is hopeful his newest blueprints for Residence on the Blue Apartments at 300 Blue River Parkway will be well received, but he held off making any predictions.
"We've tried to listen to everything they're looking for," Ethington said of town council's suggestions over the phone Sunday. "We've made a major overhaul to the look and the size (of the project). We're optimistic, but you never know."
The proposed apartments would go up on private land, next to the Silverthorne Town Center, that currently houses two seasonal businesses, including Uncle John's Farm Stand and the Higgles Ice Cream food truck, in addition to parking and a picnic area.
It's prime Silverthorne real estate, and apartments have been identified as a "use by right" in the downtown core as the town seeks to create a critical mass of density to sustain nearby businesses and entertainment venues.
Ethington had tried to obtain council's approval for a preliminary site plan on Dec. 13, but the elected leaders were wholly opposed to the project as presented and gave Ethington the option of pulling back his application so he could revise it without having to restart the process anew.
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Additionally, five citizens spoke out against the proposed apartment complex during public comments at the December meeting, expressing their concerns over parking, snow removal and rental agreements, but the building's overall footprint seemed to be the biggest hang-up.
"I think this thing is just totally outside the human scale that we prescribed and the message that we try to send in our design standards," Councilman Kevin McDonald said as council weighed the first proposal last month.
"I think we've set a tone with our design standards as far as what we want to see … (and) I just feel like this just maxes out every piece of data that we've thrown into the design standards and just doesn't fit on this site."
He wasn't alone in his assessment, and others took issue with more specific decisions included in the renderings showing how the apartments would look once built.
"I guess the whole look of the building, I don't think fits Silverthorne," Councilman Russ Camp said at the time. "The white garage doors are another thing. It just hit me with, 'Really?' So there's a lot of things about this project that if I have to vote tonight, you're not going to like the vote."
The revised application, now available on Silverthorne's website, details how Ethington has adjusted the proposal as he seeks the town's approval for a second time. The apartments are back on the agenda for next Wednesday's town council meeting.
Most notably, the developer has reduced the number of units from seven to six apartments, a move that came at council's suggestion and one that's reduced the building's overall lot coverage about 7 percent to just over 22 percent total.
Also, the building's height has been cut back about a foot, down to 43 feet, 6 and five-eights inches at its tallest point, which is not too far below the town's 45-foot maximum for the downtown district.
Hearing council's concerns that original proposal for the apartment complex wasn't fitting for such a prominent location — being one of the first buildings greeting people as they come onto downtown — the developer has also adjusted the window pattern, nixed a light-colored wood stain and scrapped making the garage doors the off-white color that council almost universally hated.
Also gone are the rooftop patios, a design element that gave council fits in December, in favor of sloped roofs. Initially, council members expressed fears the patios would present a serious safety hazard should anyone want to clear snow off the balcony 35 feet above a ground-level pedestrian walkway.
Ethington had said they would likely have to ban use of the patios over the winters, but that did little to appease council's fears people wouldn't want to use them anyway on a nice winter's day and someone could get hurt.
At the same time Ethington scaled back the project, he's added an enclosure for trash bins, with room for recycling points drawn into the designs, and has redesigned the parking area.
A fire alarm control room was also moved to the opposite side of the building, and the building now steps back after the first floor on the Blue River Parkway.
With the changes, town staff is recommending council approve Ethington's preliminary site plan application, provided he meets a few requirements before obtaining final approval, such as submitting a snow-removal agreement and minor subdivision application to create the proposed new lot and include an access easement.
The landscape plan also must be revised, according to town staff, and Ethington will have to obtain a special-use permit from CDOT to allow for a 6-foot sidewalk and landscaping that's proposed in CDOT's right-of-way.