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Lower Blue under a new guide

NICOLE FORMOSAsummit daily news
Summit Daily/Brad Odekirk
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SILVERTHORNE – A refreshed guide for growth has been adopted for the Lower Blue Basin, offering advisement on how development in the area should progress in the next few years. The Lower Blue Planning Commission unanimously approved an update to the Lower Blue Master Plan, culminating a six month undertaking.The basin spans from the Dillon Dam to the Grand County line past Heeney.The biggest sticking point during a public hearing held before the commission voted on the update was how to treat the marina off County Road 30 in Heeney that provides boaters access to Green Mountain Reservoir.

After a meeting several months ago in the small community, the planning commission decided that the majority of residents in attendance agreed with creating a new land use designation for the small marina.Labeling the area a “marine facility” was expected to improve marina amenities and reservoir access.A few minutes before last Thursday’s meeting began, the commission received 20 letters by fax requesting that the marina be left alone.About half the letters were from the same senders but written differently, and most expressed similar sentiments to a prior letter submitted by Heeney second homeowners Richard and Jennifer Sweet, county planner John Roberts told the commission.In their letter, the Sweets cited the dangers of marina patrons speeding and driving recklessly through the nearby neighborhood.

“By promoting this area for business you are encouraging too many people to use an area that will not support traffic. It’s a residential area. … If the county does change the designation, the only person who benefits is the owner of the Heeney Marina,” the letter said.Debra Mitchener, who operates the marina under a special use permit from the Forest Service, said the letters contained inaccuracies about future plans for the facility.”It’s insulting to us that these people think we’re going to make some huge Florida marina down there. It’s not big enough,” Mitchener said.The marina consists of a boat ramp, two docks and 15 boat slips. Mitchener said the area would support 10 to 15 additional slips.The commissioners sided with the Mitcheners but added a sentence to the update that said additional marina sites should be investigated by the Forest Service.

The commission also discussed how to handle the town of Silverthorne’s issues with the Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) portion of the master plan. TDRs are designed to preserve backcountry land by selling development rights and reassigning them to urban areas.Silverthorne community development director Mark Leidal expressed concern about the town being identified as the only receiving site for density transfers from other basins, and the impacts associated with the proposal such as more traffic, visual effects and provision of water and sewer services.The commission opted to leave the TDR program as it was written because the county planning department is preparing to work on a countywide TDR program, when it will meet with the town of Silverthorne to address its requests.Nicole Formosa can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13625, or at nformosa@summitdaily.com.


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