Questions over financing delay rezoning of Silverthorne’s Fourth Street Crossing
Final approval on rezoning for the Fourth Street Crossing project has been delayed by at least two weeks after Silverthorne Town Council expressed some concerns over financing on Wednesday.
Mayor Ann-Marie Sandquist cast the first vote of her tenure to break a 3-all tie, as council narrowly favored delaying voting on second reading of the project’s planned unit development, or PUD, until April 10. In Silverthorne, the mayor doesn’t get to vote unless it’s to break a tie.
Wednesday’s discussions among council and the developer were somewhat vague, as ongoing negotiations pertaining to financing are often done behind closed doors and nobody said specifically what the problem was, if there is one.
However, Councilwoman JoAnne Nadalin did say she wasn’t comfortable approving the PUD until loose ends regarding the project’s financing have been addressed.
“I guess I’m torn on this,” Nadalin said. “I’m feeling like there are some things up in the air that we might want to continue (the PUD discussion) until we get more definition around the financing pieces.”
The PUD covers new zoning for the project. Passed on first reading earlier this month, council seemed to have few problems with the plan.
However, Nadalin described approving the PUD on second reading at this time as “putting the cart before the horse,” and she wanted more information before giving it the thumbs up.
“We’re (considering) approving a PUD when we don’t know anything about what the financing is going to look like,” Nadalin said during discussions. “We haven’t gotten any documents, we haven’t gotten any feedback and (approving the PUD) does encumber the property. It encumbers the property owners, and I don’t think it’s fair to them if there’s a chance something falls through.”
Three other council members didn’t seem to have an issue moving forward with the PUD and voted against the continuance.
“To me, the PUD is a separate issue than whatever financing that we’re looking at,” Councilman Kevin McDonald said.
But Councilwomen Kelly Baldwin and Tanya Shattuck sided with Nadalin. With the mayor’s tie-breaking vote, four was enough to push final approval of the zoning plan back until to the first meeting in April.
Afterward, the developer, a bond underwriter and council members went into executive session behind closed doors to continue working on the plan.
The Fourth Street Crossing project features a hotel, condominiums, townhomes, a new market hall, live-work units, commercial space and more, all of which is being designed to radically remake the downtown area in Silverthorne into a thriving, vibrant social and commercial hub.
Ideally, town staff hoped to have the development agreement, financing and redevelopment agreement, and the land-use items, along with other necessary boxes to check off, to run parallel with simultaneous approvals for Fourth Street Crossing, town manager Ryan Hyland said.
“One always hopes for the harmonic convergence, but it’s not terribly surprising given the complexity and scope of this redevelopment project that all of those things have not all lined up,” he said.
The developers understand that the town doesn’t want to pass the PUD until those agreements have been finalized, said Tim Fredregill, development executive for Milender White, the firm selected to spearhead the project. He hopes to reach a resolution on the matters before the April 10 meeting.
“We are still working with the town and their consultants on the public finance agreements,” he said. “They are complicated agreements and take a little while to work through.”
Hyland added that the new zoning would become effective upon its adoption, so passing the PUD on Wednesday would have been “a little bit of a cart-before-the-horse scenario,” as the rezoning only needs to be done when the development agreement is finalized.
“Deadlines always help drive the final conversations and details,” Hyland explained. “We have about 30 days to get everything finalized and approved to stay on schedule, and I’m confident we will get there.”
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