Backcountry Family Dental expanding to new location with employee housing
The Silverthorne Town Council unanimously approved preliminary site plans for Backcountry Family Dental’s new office Wednesday, June 23, which will include four upstairs apartments intended for employees of the business.
Dr. Erin Sain and her husband, Patrick Giberson, grew up in Summit County and have run their dental office since 2011. The couple started planning a move from their location on Tanglewood Lane to a new office in 2018, mostly due to struggles maintaining a full staff as a result of housing.
The apartments on the second floor of the new building will be subsidized rental units, which Sain intends to rent out to her employees.
“Currently, our dental office is running at half capacity due to a shortage of essential employees,” Sain said in the meeting. “Through this development, Backcountry Family Dental is attempting to lead by example by providing housing at an affordable cost to our employees. We value our employees and understand that our success depends on having a workforce with stable, affordable housing.”
The new building will be located at 840 Blue River Pkwy. In addition to the apartments and dental office, plans also include a 484-square foot professional office space. Sain said while nothing is concrete, she hopes to someday turn the space into a center for kids who have difficulties learning to read.
“I have two kids that are dyslexic, and so our family is very aware of reading difficulties,” Sain said. “My hope is that we can eventually make that dream come true as well.”
At the meeting, Sain said she and Giberson will enter conversations with the town about placing deed restrictions on the apartment units throughout the next week.
The project was approved by the planning commission with four conditions:
- The applicant must restore the northern driveway on the property to its original state.
- The sidewalk along the west property line must run the entire length of the property.
- The final site plan must meet the town’s design standards.
- The applicant must work with the Town Council to determine who will pay for paving the recreation path along the Blue River to the east of the property.
The town’s Blue River Trail Master Plan and Parks Open Space and Trails Plan state that developments along the Blue River must provide easements for the recreational pathway, Town Manager Ryan Hyland said. He added that this property is somewhat unique because the residential and commercial land all fall under the same homeowners association. He said in certain cases, the town will elect not to enforce this requirement.
“In this particular area of town, until recent years, the developments have been sporadic, and the ability to create trail segments with good connectivity to the overall trail system, versus small isolated portions of trail, was not possible,” Hyland said in an email.
The proposed development is located on the west end of the property, with an existing development to the east adjacent to the Blue River, which left the applicants confused as to why it was their responsibility to pave the pathway.
“We do not believe there is any logical connection between our commercial development along the highway and the riverfront recreation pathway,” Sain said in the meeting.
Ultimately, council members decided to defer the paving of the pathway until the development is complete.
“Council elected to not burden the new business with the cost of paving the public trail, and given all of the other segments that are currently being installed in this area, or planned to be installed in the next year, the town will likely pave this portion in the near future,” Hyland said. “With all the new developments in this area, we are looking forward to soon having a new trail experience to offer the community on the west side of the Blue River.”
The site is also home to the Retreat on the Blue housing development, and the applicants worked closely with the homeowners association while planning the project.
Bill Hornbostel, vice president of the Retreat on the Blue homeowners association, spoke in the meeting in favor of the project, but he asked the council if a portion of the northern driveway could remain intact for snow storage. The locations currently used for snow storage on the property will become parking spaces for the dentist’s office.
The condition only requires that asphalt is removed within 10 feet of the property line, which means any remaining asphalt could be left intact for snow storage.
Council members commended the applicants for working to solve their own troubles maintaining a workforce by building housing for their staff.
Sain said she expects the new building to take up to two years to complete.
“It’s been a long process that we’ve been working on for quite some time, and we’re just excited to finally get the ball rolling and have this come to fruition,” Sain said.
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