Developers, town downzone property to move Silver Mountain Village forward
SILVERTHORNE<Twenty years ago, Summit County was desperate for growth.That1s when developments such as Frisco1s Lakepoint Towers and Keystone1s Gateway building were zoned. So, too, was Silverthorne1s Eagles Nest.In 1982, town planners gave their approval for density on a 192-acre Eagles Nest parcel that now leaves area residents aghast. More than 1,100 residences<some in multi-family configurations that could have risen six stories<and a 300-room, six-story hotel were planned as part of a golf resort on the Clark Ranch property. That property, along with the Heitt Ranch and two other smaller parcels, now is planned as part of the Blue River Club development<a 524-acre golf course community surrounded by 355 homes.Last week, the Silverthorne Town Council took the first step toward permanently erasing some of that zoning, dropping allowed density on the Clark Ranch from 1,121 residences to 355.Landowner Tom Warnes, whose company Seminole Land Holdings owns properties proposed for development as Silver Mountain Village and Blue River Club, proposed the downzoning.3We don1t believe a 100-foot high hotel and 300 apartments around the lake are appropriate land uses, Warnes said. 3It is our intention to take the 350 units and spread them over the 500 acres (of the Blue River Club).In exchange for the downzoning, the town agreed to let Silver Mountain Village move along the development schedule independent of Blue River Club. The 72-acre Silver Mountain Village proposal includes a 10-acre elementary school site, a day-care site, and 192 homes<half of which will be sold at market rate and the remainder of which are planned as affordable housing.Like any other project, the downzoning must be approved at three levels<sketch plan, preliminary and final. Last week, it gained sketch plan approval. The downzoning1s preliminary plan, along with an annexation hearing for Silver Mountain Village, are to go before the council June 12.The town previously required the two projects move through the process as one. Silver Mountain Village was, in fact, created by the developer to offer the town locals1 benefits in exchange for the high-end Blue River Club project. The two were linked, in large part, because of town fears of the high density on the Clark Ranch.But, during recent months, that requirement has become almost impractical.Plans for Silver Mountain Village are far ahead of those for Blue River Club, forcing Silver Mountain Village to lag behind. And those who want to build in Silver Mountain Village, such as the school district and Safeway, say they might be forced to cancel their plans there if the project doesn1t gain approval soon.The town stands to gain plenty by delinking the projects, said Silverthorne senior planner Michael Johnson.3We see a number of benefits the town would receive<a 10-acre school site, the one-acre day-care site, park improvements, he said.But the main incentive for approving the delinking, Johnson said, is the elimination of high-density zoning on the Clark Ranch.Town residents like that idea, too.3I think a lot of people will breathe a lot better knowing we don1t have a 90-foot hotel and convention center hanging over our heads, said Silverthorne resident John Taylor. 3This town needs day care, a school site that1s tied to residential. This town has talked about the need for attainable housing. To get something, you1ve got to give something.Jane Reuter can be reached at 668-3998, ext. 229, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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