Fishhook Ranch debate enters the home stretch |

Fishhook Ranch debate enters the home stretch

NICOLE FORMOSAsummit daily news
Summit Daily/Brad Odekirk

DILLON As the days dwindle before the Dillon Town Council makes its decision on the controversial Three Mile Plan, an opposition group has picked up the pace in its efforts to stop the town from future expansion to Swan Mountain Road.The Dillon Annexation Action Committee has raised $1,000 in recent weeks, has sent out approximately 500 letters to Dillon business owners and residents and has arranged for two full-page advertisements to run in the newspaper urging people to come to the June 7 meeting.We are pushing very, very hard, especially for Dillon residents, to come to Tuesdays meeting, said committee member Craig Suwinski. We really want Dillon residents to say to your council: Why are you doing this?Suwinski is one of about 20 Summerwood, Summit Cove and Keystone residents on the opposing committee all with the ultimate goal of convincing the Dillon Town Council to remove the 35-acre Fishhook Ranch parcel from the Three Mile Plan.Fishhook Ranch, which is owned by Breckenridge resident Mark Thaemert, is situated near Summit Cove and Swan Mountain Road on the east side of Highway 6.Its zoning could change in late April, Dillons planning and zoning commission said Fishhook Ranch should be zoned as mixed use (or commercial and residential) if it is annexed into the town. If the council passes the Three Mile Plan Tuesday, the door to annexation will be opened, although that doesnt necessarily mean a proposal to annex will be presented by the land owner. That plan identifies land that could be considered for annexation and zoning changes within three miles of the towns borders. In a work session earlier this week, council members added residential and urban reserve (a holding designation) to possible zoning options for Fishhook if its annexed.The intent here was not to disenfranchise the group out there, but also not to disenfranchise the property owner, said town manager Jack Benson.Suwinski believes the town is trying to appease opponents by throwing residential into the mix when it has no intention of annexing any land unless commercial development is involved.Benson said he has encouraged the council to examine three aspects if it is considering annexation: the potential of water wells that could boost the towns municipal water supply, the establishment of a town growth boundary and the addition of revenue to the towns bottom line.

The Fishhook Ranch issue was sparked by an annexation request from the owner of a parcel of land designated as open space, on the corner of Swan Mountain Road and Highway 6 near the Glen Cove condominiums.According to the original land map, the parcel measures 7.3-acres, but current GIS data shows it at 5.5-acres.Steve Grossbard has indicated he would like to build a gas station and multi-family residential units on the land, Benson said.Grossbards land is not outlined in the Three Mile Plan because of its open space designation, Benson said.But, if Fishhook is annexed, Grossbard would have to be offered the same annexation and zoning deal because his property touches Highway 6, which would be the pole part of a flagpole annexation.That approach would allow the town to annex small sections of land from its town boundary, up Highway 6, until it reaches the Fishhook parcel. Grossbard said he is going to wait to see what happens with the Fishhook Ranch parcel before he pursues annexation any further, Benson said.If the council passes the Three Mile Plan, the action committee will continue to stay involved throughout the annexation process, if a deal is struck between Thaemert and the town. The committee will make sure all requirements are met as the town works through things like gaining water and sewer rights.Nicole Formosa can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 229, or at

When: 5:30 p.m., Tuesday June 7 Where: Dillon Town HallThe town council will consider the plan, including the Fishhook Ranch parcel.This is a public meeting, although a public hearing is not required to pass the plan. Mayor Barbara Davis said she will probably allow people to voice their opinions during the citizens comments portion of the council meeting.

OpponentsOpponents at recent discussions about the property have said the town should concentrate on revitalizing its town core, instead of trying to reach outside its border to cull sales tax revenue.The town should leave the open space buffer intact that separates Dillon from Keystone.

You dont have to focus on one thing … We need to look at every business opportunity as they present themselves because they are going to be few and far between, said Jack Benson, Dillon town managerLand is scarce and the population in Summit County will continue to grow and as towns reach buildout, property values will soar due to demand, Benson said.In many ways, as you lock up land in open space trusts and stuff, essentially youre starting to create other problems. It becomes an elitist community and only the richest of the rich will be able to live here. Benson

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