Silverthorne looks to annex The Vistas at Angler Mountain development
Silverthorne is considering the addition of just over 35 acres from The Vistas at Angler Mountain into the town. If approved, the potential annexation could be one of the last additions of raw, undeveloped land for Silverthorne, as high-ranking officials see little land left to expand town limits after this.
Discussions are early and details regarding a potential annexation have yet to be ironed out, explained Mark Leidal, Silverthorne’s assistant town manager and director of community development.
How long the land stays undeveloped also remains to be seen, as the developer, Compass Homes, has already submitted preliminary plans to construct 16-18 homes — a low-density, purely residential project — on the site that’s now being considered for inclusion into Silverthorne.
“Typically, we want to make sure an annexation doesn’t negatively impact the town,” Leidal said. “We also want to make sure there is a benefit to the town, and make sure the residential that’s coming in is paying its way at the very least.”
While discussions are early, there’s support for such an annexation. The town’s attorney drafted a pre-annexation agreement to layout the terms and timeframes for processing a subsequent annexation request.
As elected officials weighed that pre-agreement last week, Leidal told council members they shouldn’t approve it unless they’re serious about pursuing an eventual annexation.
Council responded by unanimously backing the pre-annexation agreement. However, the document is only an initial step to an annexation and one that’s largely born out of process, not a concrete decision.
According to Leidal, state statutes set a strict timeline of 30 to 60 days to render a decision once the town receives an annexation petition and finds the petition in compliance.
Under such a tight timeline, the pre-annexation agreement simply gives the developer and town more time to work out details of an annexation, like how the land would be rezoned — a process that requires public hearings and can take months — before having the developer submit the actual annexation petition.
“This is just the beginning,” Leidal said, adding that discussions still have a ways to go before anything is finalized.
Developers often request annexations to tap into town services, such as water and sewer. On the other side, the town can seek concessions of its own in annexation agreements, including impact fees, open-space dedications or even cash in lieu of some of these requirements.
The last major land addition to Silverthorne came with Maryland Creek Ranch, a process that began in 2005. During those negotiations and later agreements, developers secured additional density for the large-scale housing project while the town got a handful of workforce-housing units, money for its trail system and improvements to the Silverthorne Pavilion, and a new park, among other perks.
The Vistas at Angler Mountain, however, are much smaller, and Leidal said that project is viewed as a natural extension of Angler Mountain Ranch, which was another housing project that was included in a Silverthorne annexation dating back to the 1980s.
The piece of land now being considered for annexation was part of a roughly 70-acre chunk that avoided annexation with Angler Mountain Ranch, however, as half of the land went to Xcel Energy for a substation.
The remaining acreage was always expected to become The Vistas, according to Tim Crane of Compass Homes, who added that the proposed site for the new homes is currently served by the road leading up to the substation.
From a site-disturbance and infrastructure standpoint, he said, many of the pieces are already in place.
Crane said he didn’t want to make any predictions about how the potential annexation might proceed, but he remains “cautiously optimistic” it will go through, as it was always his intent to have The Vistas annexed into Silverthorne.
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