Sav-o-Mat package still incomplete; Silverthorne delays decision
Summit Daily News
Though a plan for updating the Sav-o-Mat gas station has been long-awaited by the Silverthorne Town Council, council members voted Wednesday to postpone approval of owner Buzz Calkins’ application, saying they wanted three additional components to call the work complete.
Calkins has 30 days, according to the vote, to finalize a license agreement for use of town property to facilitate traffic circulation on the site, work out details of his station’s sign appearance and size, and provide a maintenance plan for the parking lot’s drainage system.
“We’ve been at this a long time… I’d like this as close to complete as possible,” Silverthorne Mayor Dave Koop said.
Councilmember David Preaus said the 30-day continuance would allow the entire package to be completed and considered for approval, making the process more efficient.
“It could be as early as next meeting we have all three teed up for council consideration,” Silverthorne community development director Mark Leidal said.
Calkins recently switched on the remediation equipment that will manage an on-site benzene leak. So far, monitoring has shown the contamination hasn’t reached the Blue River.
To expedite installation of the remediation equipment, Silverthorne officials waived the need for a site plan. When Calkins asked for continued use of town land, it again triggered the need for site improvements, Silverthorne spokesman Ryan Hyland said.
Calkins showed frustration with the continuance and repeated statements of mistrust from council members.
“I’m as frustrated as you guys are,” he said. “We are being required to do things here that in any other municipality… we wouldn’t have to go to the extent as all this. You’re asking me to invest a lot of money to bring site up to current standards.”
Councilwoman Ann-Marie Sandquist attempted to calm the tension.
“We want to get this done, get it cleaned up,” she said. “We don’t want to see you in here again. We want you to have a business that makes money and looks good in our town.”
Calkins’ plan includes updating the building’s appearance, paving the parking lot, and performing other minor changes throughout the site. He said it would be implemented in the spring if it’s approved, though planning commission members had requested work begin in December.
Architectural updates include overhauling the exterior with a new metal roof, two contrasting shades of stucco veneer, a stone base around the building, adding decorative trusses, new windows and doors, and more.
Calkins’ redesigned his parking area “significantly,” town planner Lina Lesmes said, adding that it would be resurfaced. Snow storage is in the design, and is separate from the parking area.
Landscaping includes 13 trees and 20 shrubs, Lesmes said. A proposal to add sod in the adjacent town property is being denied, because it requires irrigation not permitted on Silverthorne land.
Lighting won’t be changed other than to replace exposed fluorescent lighting with town-approved fixtures.
Though council members were pleased with the submitted site plan, and Calkins’ apparent willingness to work with the planning commission’s conditions, they were hesitant to approve it without the other three pieces.
“I feel like Charlie Brown trying to kick field goals with Lucy holding the ball,” councilman Bruce Butler said. “Without understanding all the parts of this thing, I really can’t go forward with this tonight.”
Drainage at the site was a primary concern of council members as discussions with Calkins about remediation and site improvements proceeded in the past few years.
Public Works director Bill Linfield said that, due to constraints with an existing site, water quality would be addressed with a Stormcepter manhole, which allows sediment in water to settle and grease, oil, and debris to float on top. Periodically, the system, which can handle hundreds of gallons of water, needs to be vacuumed to prevent it from filling with waste material. Units like these exist elsewhere in Summit County, but it will be the first of its kind in Silverthorne, Linfield said.
“It’s far more than what we have today,” he said. “So long as it’s maintained, these units do work.”
Linfield’s staff will do periodic inspections to ensure the passive treatment system isn’t full, and if it is, they will notify the owner, he said.
But council members were concerned Calkins and his staff wouldn’t maintain the system because of his track record. They were further troubled that no one in the council chambers knew exactly how it worked or how often it would need to be vacuumed.
Though Calkins assured them, “We’ll do everything in our power to keep it maintained,” he admitted he was unfamiliar with the system.
The Sav-o-Mat owner said he plans to have the license agreement ironed out before the end of the week. Work on the sign, which is outside the town’s size limits for the zoning district, could also be complete soon, he added. He’s requesting a variance to town code to keep the sign’s size to attract business from Interstate 70.
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