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Maryland Creek plans submitted

BOB BERWYN

SUMMIT COUNTY – A proposed new 70-unit residential neighborhood on the Maryland Creek Ranch could pay for itself with a combination of a real estate transfer assessment and revenues collected by a general improvement district, according to property owner Tom Everist.Everist outlined his development plans at a July 28 town council meeting, formally requesting annexation for the 350-acre parcel, a little more than a third of the total ranch property. He said mining will continue on the rest of the property for another 15 to 20 years. Everist didn’t offer any clues as to what might be proposed for the rest of the ranch. The council tabled the annexation decision for six months to review the proposal. Everist submitted a sketch plan for formal review the next day. Town planners estimated that it could take about 45 days before the project goes before the planning commission. Everist has been extracting gravel and processing building materials out of the ancient glacial deposits in the Blue River Valley for 35 years, starting during construction of the Eisenhower Tunnel.According to the sketch plan, road construction would begin in 2006, when gravel operations have reclaimed the entry site. Lot sales are scheduled to begin in 2007 with the first units slated for completion in 2009. Conservatively estimating construction of four units per year, build out would come in 2025.The sketch plan describes what the developers envision as community benefits for Silverthorne, including a 16.5-acre public park, a 2.25-acre lake, as well as trails and access to National Forest lands. Project manager Bob Knous said he plans to open an office in Silverthorne Aug. 15, and will hold public meetings to present the plan to interested residents.The land is in unincorporated Summit County, where the Lower Blue master plan allows for a maximum of one unit per 20 acres, or one per 17.5 acres under site-sensitive specifications. Annexed to Silverthorne, the land would fall into a rural residential category, allowing one unit per five acres. Specific language calls for flexibility in development plans to permit clustered units to avoid steep slopes and ridgelines. It also seeks development that’s sensitive to visual and wildlife impacts and that preserves the rural ranch and open character of the area, as well as views of the Gore Range from Highway 9.Silverthorne development rules require that new developments are fiscally neutral or provide a net benefit to the town, said community development director Mark Leidal. Everist suggested the revenue collected by the proposed district could flow directly to town coffers and said he would even consider direct subsidies during the early years to cover the town’s cost of providing services in the area.Everist proposed clustering the 70 units out of sight on about half the property, with only a few rooflines visible from Highway 9. About 54 percent of the land would remain natural. Of about 150 acres of wetlands on the parcel, only a quarter-acre would be disturbed, he said, describing the undeveloped land as a “continuous nature preserve.”About 2.25 miles of all-purpose and soft-surface trails could also be part of the development package, though details still require close cooperation with town trail experts, and with the Forest Service in the case of providing access to National Forest lands.A fiscal analysis by Ford Frick, managing director of BBC Research and Consulting, projects that the annexation would result in a $134,000 net deficit at build-out but describes how a general improvement district would eliminate the deficit without burdening the existing community.


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