Last round of Smith Ranch homes approved by Silverthorne Town Council

Applications open to enter March 10 lottery for 27 units

The Smith Ranch neighborhood in Silverthorne is pictured Thursday, Jan. 27. The last phase of the community was approved by Silverthorne Town Council at its Wednesday, Jan. 26, meeting.
Ashley Low/For the Summit Daily News

Silverthorne Town Council approved the final plat and subdivision agreement for the last filing of new homes at Smith Ranch at its Wednesday, Jan. 26, meeting, bringing the neighborhood one step closer to completion.

Planning Manager Lina Lesmes said the development has been more than four years in the making, noting that Town Council held 20 work sessions to discuss the project and town staff held 210 weekly meetings. She also said the town went through 11 versions of the restrictive housing covenant before agreeing on the final deed-restriction terms, and this development led to the creation of Silverthorne’s housing guidelines.

Right now, 138 of the Smith Ranch homes are occupied with a few more to close from Phase 4, 40 homes are under construction and under contract, and this last phase will bring 27 additional homes onto the market. Since the town approved everything at its meeting, applications are now open for the final lottery, tentatively slated for March 10. The lottery will include nine single-family homes and nine duplexes for a total of 27 units, including a mix of area median income targets between 110% and 120%, or $105,710 to $115,320 annually for a family of four.

“We think there are a lot of great amenities in the Smith Ranch neighborhood … and I think this is something that council should be proud of,” Lesmes said.

During council’s work session, Lesmes asked council for feedback on a couple of items related to the Smith Ranch Neighborhood, including how property owners are able to modify their homes, the future of the homeowners association and what the town can do if a home forecloses.

Lesmes said foreclosures can happen at any time, and having funding set aside to purchase a property before it forecloses would help the town preserve the deed restriction.

“If any of those Smith Ranch units or any of the workforce housing units ever gets foreclosed on, the deed restrictions and all the covenants go away forever, so we cannot ever ever let that happen,” council member Kevin McDonald said, alerting most council members to the concern.

McDonald said he thinks it’s important for the town to anticipate foreclosures, and it would be wise to start building up a fund by contributing small amounts each year. He also said whatever the town spends to save a home from foreclosure would be returned once it sells the home.

The Smith Ranch neighborhood in Silverthorne is pictured Thursday, Jan. 27.
Ashley Low/Summit Daily News archive

Looking to the future, the community’s homeowners association was created by the developer in collaboration with the town, but it will eventually be turned over to the homeowners.

Basically, the town wants to make sure maintenance and the integrity of the Smith Ranch community is upheld over time and wondered whether self-management or private management could be a better route, though this is ultimately up to the homeowners themselves.

“These are 100% occupied by residents, and so they’re the most qualified, I think, to take care of their neighborhood,” council member Mike Spry said.

Council member Amy Manka — who recused herself from voting on the project because of her interest in entering the lottery for a future Smith Ranch unit — currently lives in the neighborhood. She said during the work session that her HOA dues are very high, that some of the services they are supposed to get, like snow shoveling, aren’t sufficient and that most people end up doing the work themselves.

“I think for me, I feel like we’re adults, and we care about the neighborhood, and we’re going to take care of it, and we’re going to hold our neighbors accountable,” Manka said. “We still have an HOA, and the HOA would still hold homeowners accountable just like any other management. And I don’t think that everyone would agree to self-management anyway, but we would agree to some of the services removal.”

Manka said removing some of the services included in the HOA fees could also make it easier for the community to build up its reserve funds when the time comes that repairs are needed. She also said a large number of the residents in Smith Ranch are property managers themselves, a common career choice across Summit County.

“The people really care about the neighborhood. We’re proud of it,” Manka said. “We want it to be a great neighborhood. We want it to be nice. We want it to be maintained.”

Lesmes said the town has also been contacted by a few Smith Ranch homeowners wanting to tear down walls between bedrooms, but the area median income and home prices were based on the number of bedrooms.

Assistant Town Manager Mark Leidal noted that in the restrictive covenants for Smith Ranch, it says the homes must be sold with the same number of rooms as there were when it was purchased, so someone can likely make the changes, they’d just have to change it back when they decide to sell.

The development still has about 18 months of construction before completion.

The Smith Ranch neighborhood in Silverthorne is pictured Thursday, Jan. 27.
Ashley Low/Summit Daily News archive

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